Adventurous Epigrammetrists – part II

This is the second part of our “why you didn’t hear from us much this past summer” series and you’ve got a lot to catch up!

I have been quite busy this summer too. You have already gotten a glimpse into how I digested my post PhD submission fatigue (and I think I still owe you a second post on that). As some of you might know, I have spent three months in Philadelphia this year. My fellowship at the Science History Institute went well. I got to meet a few alchemy scholars I knew from literature but had never really met in person and I was included in all sorts of SHI activities (and still partially am). A big success ensued from our collaborative work there. I looked at lots of old books. And also handeled the normal/crazy everyday life of Academia with article submissions and revisions, contributing to edited collections (and the millions of rounds of corrections that go with that), editing and typesetting the proceedings of the alchemy conference which happened in February 2020 in Vienna, right before everything shut down. (Still not done with the proceedings but so done with always feeling behind on everything!).

So I definitely wasn’t bored. I didn’t actually travel that much in the US because I wasn’t vaccinated at first and when I was, it was almost time to go back home. I still managed two short trips to NY and DC, although I couldn’t look at the rare books I wanted to look at in DC because the Folger library is still closed for construction. I met a lot of new people though. I’m still in contact with fellow fellows from previous fellowships (like from HAB Wolfenbüttel in 2019 or from my 2021 Innsbruck fellowship). Of course, there never is as much time as one would want to. I haven’t even dealt with my car situation yet – my car died basically right before I had to leave for the US. Which was partical (that it lasted throughout the Innsbruck fellowship where I needed it to commute) but it also means I’m still using my dad’s car now which he currently doesn’t need much because he recently retired. So much for “I will finally have a life when I have my PhD”.

Speaking of that, I returned to Europe in September, defended my thesis and went on some well-deserved vacation time. That was great. I felt like I could finally “bury” the thesis. (Although not for long because I will need to pubish it at some point. And believe me when I say there are no words to express who much I’m dreading even looking at it again from afar!) After taking quite some time off (even though, of course, it’s not like I wasn’t available or didn’t do any academic work at all.. just less..), I felt alive again. And like I had my shit together.

Fast forward one month into the new term and I have settled into my new job but I’m also back to exactly how I used to feel before: Like the pile of work to be done is so huge, there is no way I could ever get a handle on all that. I will always feel like I’m three weeks behind on everything. And yes, everything always gets done somehow and who really cares about those three weeks.. the people I write about are dead anyway. But it always leaves behind this bad feeling. I want to feel like I’m on top of things and in control. I’m not sure that’s about to happen. I guess I have to admit that while I’m already feeling much better in terms of post phd submission fatigue, I’m still tired.

I’m just about to get through the first cold I had since March 2020 and it was bad. It wasn’t Covid but it went on forever and I’m still feeling slightly tired from it. Maybe that’s why I feel like I’m drowning in work. Maybe I’m over-committed. But who isn’t? Maybe I need to procrastinate less. I’m doing it right now. But I also really owed you this post and every step in the right direction helps. At least that’s what I’d like to think. Maybe I’m just moody this Halloween weekend (it’s still a public holiday here, so this counts as the weekend still). Maybe I just needed time to brood and feel miserable about all those tasks I put off. Generally, I have to say that things aren’t too bad. I have an absolute dream job and I still love the work that I do. Despite the fact that I’m feeling a little hopeless since I got that cold. But even this cold must pass at some point. So I’m looking forward to when I feel up to speed again, bursting with renewed energy. As you can probably tell, I’m not good at enjoying sickdays.

I’m hoping you are well this fall. Don’t forget to light a scented candle if you’re into that sort of thing. And take a walk outside while it’s still sunny.

Best,

S


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