Monday, September 3, 2012

Coping with Conference Burnout

I've been at a conference for a bit. So many new ideas! Trying to listen and take notes and talk with people about my own work and theirs and what new things might be possible. Somehow this time was different than the conferences this summer; maybe because a new school year has started my reserves were a bit lower and I was pretty burned out by the end of week one. It's also a fairly lectury conference by some standards. By Friday I was no longer able to cope with processing new information or ideas. What to do?

Everyone's different. Some people partied all weekend, some people watched TV, some people went out on nature walks or adventures in town. I tried to respect my introverted nature and spent a lot of time alone or in small groups. I am feeling much better now: the long weekend was quite a blessing. I will be ready to start again tomorrow, I hope.

Once again, I observed younger grad students wishing we'd quit talking math and older mathematicians keeping up the shop talk through dinner and dessert. As a contribution to our understanding of each other, I want to remind those wishing the math would stop that not everyone gets to talk math that often. To those who always keep going on about the mathematics, look around and decide whether that's what you really want to talk about! Sometimes the answer will be yes, sometimes no, and either is alright.

That's what breaks are good for, as well. I enjoyed the weekend in part because I got a lot of ideas during the conference and I wanted to follow up on them. I don't do well on low levels of sleep, so having non-scheduled weekend time to work on mathematics is important. My new ideas have led me down an algebraic rabbit-hole that I'm trying to work back out of now. Algebraic calculations sometimes take me a while. The time to think was useful.

No comments:

Post a Comment