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15: On Frontloading

October 20, 2011

Done!

Well, some things. In contrast to the way I think I’ve been feeling the past month, this week’s actually been pretty good. It’s been slowish, but I think I needed that for my sanity as well as for my work. As much as I tell myself that, however, I can’t help but feel like I’m not doing this right. The internship, I mean.

Alex and I talk about how odd it is that we work at the Woodrow Wilson Center and don’t have schedules in the same way that the other students on this program to. Sometimes I feel like I’m cheating a bit.

On days that I don’t have to work for Larry (he insists that I work with him in his office) I come in at about 10 or 10:30, so I miss peak fare on the metro. I do a bit of work on my laptop in the intern dungeon, but the lack of windows tends to paralyze my work ethic. We don’t get desks, just a couple of stiff couches, and the computer room is often claustrophobic. So, about halfway through the day, I migrate and continue my work in a Starbucks that’s just down the road from the Center. Part of me feels like I’m doing something wrong, and yet the other part says I shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting a change of scenery now and then. I often keep working on internship things when I get back to the hotel.

I’m trying to frontload as much of my schoolwork as I can. Already, I’ve done two assignments far in advance, and I’ve started on my research paper. I don’t want to have to think about it when November rolls around.

On an unrelated note, I went to a fantastic event at the Center this week. It was called “Counting Coup: Evolving Memories of August 1991.” It dealt with the political manipulation since the attempted coup in 1991 that’s changed the minds of everyday Russians who once were against the coup. (http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/counting-coup-evolving-memories-august-1991-russia) I used this for my Outside Event assignment. It became oddly relevant to my research paper, even though my research paper was about biological weapons nonproliferation. It made me think about the economic and social repercussions of the fall of the Soviet Union and how those things might have affected the lives of high-ranking scientists in the weapons program.

I guess it also brought in the whole “framing” stuff we’ve been learning about in Joel’s class. The speaker, Mr. Balzer, said this year was the 20th anniversary of the attempted coup, and yet Putin and Medvedev both held regular workdays. They didn’t even mention it. When the leaders of a country can’t even be bothered to talk about what is arguably one of the greatest public uprisings in support of (sort of) elected government, it puts things out of perspective a little bit.

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