time reversal

the stories of four physicists separated by the whims of fate

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Stress combat modes

October 13th, 2008 by liz

I am simultaneously trying to do a million things right now. Here’s a brief list:

1) Trying to push through testing of our new detectors as fast as possible before I leave for Pole.
2) Trying to finish fellowship applications before I leave for Pole.
3) Trying to gather up all the things I’ll need at Pole, before I leave for Pole.
4) Trying not to forget anything important, like where my car will live while I’m at Pole.
5) Dealing with my roommates trying to move all of their stuff out of our house before we get kicked out on Nov. 1. All the furniture in my room belongs to them.
6) Trying not to snap and start stabbing people with rusty implements.

When I get super-stressed out, I have three modes. Mode one is, “Drink a shit-ton of caffeine and obtain super-human powers and work ethic (all set to the tune of techno).” I believe most of you have seen this mode while I was at MIT, primarily during my junior year and while I was writing my thesis. This mode requires no sleep, and the quantity of work that gets accomplished is extremely high.

Mode two is, “Try to do work, but inevitably sink into depression, and cry a lot.” I think one or two people have seen this unfortunate mode while I was at MIT, primarily around finals week fall semester my sophomore year when my grandmother died. This mode results in lots of restless sleep, and no work gets done.

Mode three is, “Ignore all work and do other things.” I was in mode three a few times at MIT, primarily at the beginning of senior year–you may have noticed the increased consumption of beer and the increased frequency of climbing trips on weekends. This mode decreases the amount of work that gets done, if any, and also (surprisingly) decreases the amount of sleep that occurs due to partying and a confluence of other factors.

So, I’m stressed out. I haven’t quite reached the level of caffeine consumption and techno volume required for mode one. I really hate mode two, but a recent family death has been pulling me in that direction. It seems that to avoid mode two I’ve been distracting myself with things like rock climbing, reading sci-fi, and going to the pub with Russian first-year physicists (not recommended), which puts me solidly in mode three.

I just bought a coffee. I’m turning on the bad techno. Perhaps I can kick-start myself into mode one and actually get some work done. I’ve never actually not finished something on time, so the prospects look good.

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