Knowing when it is too much
Gotta love the titles of my last few posts.
Continuing in that vein, though, I clearly remember the first time that I realized I just physically could not do everything that I wanted to. It was in high school, summer before my senior year. At the time I was involved with yearbook, French, and track. I wanted to take both AP Chemistry and Physics and the hours that they were offered conflicted with most of these activities. I actually ended up having to drop all of them to take both courses, but it was the right decision. At the time it was a difficult decision. I really, really wanted to keep up with French and yearbook (track I could take or leave), but they didn't fit in my schedule. I knew I wanted to be an engineer, so I saw the other activities as hobbies, whereas the classes were critical to my future.
Through most of my undergraduate career I didn't really have problems balancing activities. School wasn't particularly difficult for me, although there was a horrible quarter with biology, organic chemistry, thermo, and fluid dynamics starting at 8 AM and all in a row MWF. The next time that I found myself in the situation of too much was in graduate school. I was taking grad transport and two other easier classes, plus trying to hammer out data before the big national conference deadline. As the conference deadline approached, my PIs told me to forget about class and crank on the data we needed. It was really hard to let go of the class though. I did it, reluctantly, and it became the only B I got in graduate school. On a positive note, we got the data we needed just in time for the conference and it became my first, and most cited publication.
Now I think I am finding myself in a similar situation. This job will take all the time that you are willing to give it. And I love doing outreach and teaching, but clearly research is the bread and butter of my sustenance. I need to spend more time doing research. It is hard, but I am finding myself limiting the time I spend on teaching and on outreach to make time for research. Hopefully, I will pull it all together.