A couple of weeks ago, the International Institute here at Michigan announced the winners of their photo contest. I was not among them, but here’s an outtake from the series of photos I took to enter. This was at the gamelan performance which I got to play for in Durham last summer.
One of the (many?) strange things about grad school is how forward looking it is. For example, right now I should be focusing on my thesis, but instead I’m actually focusing on summer research already. Funding proposals for the summer are due the middle of next month, which means that even though I’ve had two real sessions of my performance studies class so far, I need to already have a project pretty well figured out.
I was not good at this last year. It all seems very preemptive. Last year I was writing proposals for a thesis project that I hadn’t figured out yet, a thesis project that is still very much in flux. That process was strange and did not feel very productive.
This year, I feel much the same way. The difference is that I knew this strange period was coming and so I was able to plan ahead. I started doing some background research earlier and thus am a bit head of the game. Nevertheless, I still feel like I’m focusing most of my energy on something that isn’t important right now.
But maybe this is how academia is supposed to be: while you’re working on your current project you’re already looking toward to the next project. At least that’s the way it’s been so far.