Random Happenings

Random notes and pics about events in the life of a not-your-typical Computer Science grad student. (Yes I am a nerd, but I don't live and breathe the SciFi channel, well maybe Stargate SG-1...)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Surviving september

Well, it's been a little while since my last post... actually since August. But good news, I'm back in the saddle again. It has been one crazy crazy month, school-wise that is.

Most students look forward to September as a fresh start with a new set of classes (whether they would admit it out loud or not). September, after all, can be a great month for a college student. One, you start out with a blank slate, a very good thing if you happen to have had a rough last semester. Two, there is a sense of excitement in the air as you get to make new friends and see old friends in your brand new classes. Third, you can usually breeze through September, at least the first few weeks, without midterms, mountains of homework, or term projects to finish. All in all, if you look at it right, September can be a very good, relaxing month.

For me however, September has come to mean deadlines, deadlines, deadlines. One of my jobs as a grad student is to submit papers about my research to various conferences. In good years, I submit papers to about 3 or 4 conferences max. The catch is, two of those conferences happen to have deadlines within a mere 2 weeks of each other in September: ICRA (a robotics conference due in the middle of the month) and RECOMB (a computational biology conferences due in the end of the month).

You can handle a single conference deadline well enough, even if you have multiple papers. Depending on how much work there is left to do (research is funny and variable like that), that could mean a few weeks of solid, batten-down-the-hatches, working around the clock and probably a few all-nighters thrown in to spice things up. That is all well and good if you know that the minute you turn in the paper, you can sleep to your heart's content without a single care in the world. But for me, in September, I don't get that luxury. I know that after I turn in the first round of papers, it's immediately on to the second without a chance at some real rest.

This year was no exception. In fact, we somehow managed to crank out 4 papers, 2 to each conference. To put that in perspective, I'm lucky if I submit that much in an entire year! So, in all truthfullness, I can say that yes, I am a survivor. September came and went and I'm still here.

I promise to post a little more often now that the month of torture is over. In fact, I am currently submitting this post from sunny San Diego, California. There's nothing like an afternoon at the beach for relaxing and unwinding. But more on that in my next post.


Blogger rachel said...

Yeah, a new post! Hopefully you're able to rest well enough for the month of October :) I'm looking forward to the campout at the end of the month for sure. Are you really in California right now? We just saw you the other day. Anyway, I hope all is well, and it's good to see that you're surviving whatever life throws at you. Talk to you later!

9:48 PM  
Anonymous scfsara said...

What a big accomplishment to submit so many more papers than usual. And it would be fun if the conferences are in some more neat places. Looking forward to reading your San Diego post!

7:33 PM  

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