Fact: I can have social anxiety and professional conferences seem to exacerbate it. I know that getting proposals accepted and presenting at conferences is crucial as I build my curriculum vitae to pursue a career in academics, but I have a secret: I really don’t like them. Don’t get me wrong, I like hearing about the research happening in my field, especially if it is really relevant to the work that I am doing. I also love meeting up with old friends from other programs, like mentors and students from the University of Michigan, and hear about what they are doing. What I don’t like is the whole “shmoozing” aspect; meeting new people and networking. I do it because I know it needs to be done, I just get such anxiety, I don’t know why! I start to feel and look like this…
Ok, well maybe not exactly like that. But today’s conference in at the University of Michigan is no exception. I could feel the anxiety bubbling up as I checked in to get my name tag and meet and greet some folks during the opening remarks. Luckily, I get to duck out for a few hours to meet my mentor (my original mentor, the one who set me up with my advisor at UVa). I don’t present until 2:15pm so I’ve got a bit of time.
I used to come to ER every morning when I was getting my master’s here–ahh those were the days, so much less stress (although at the time I was was like, oooh this master’s level stuff is hard!). They have my favorite loose-leaf tea, Winston’s Breakfast. It’s a really strong version of English Breakfast and goes especially well with a HUGE chocolate chip cookie, a combination I no doubt consumed hundreds of time as a student here.
The great thing about being back is definitely hitting up all my favorite old spots. I formed intimate relationships with some of the coffee shops considering the amount I was writing during my master’s degree.
Other then the conference today, I have some really pressing things to get done this week (which I’m sure don’t help the anxiety):
Another conference proposal due by noon tomorrow (like a hamster on a wheel baby)
Stats Final due Thursday (won’t start it until Wed)
Getting my bike tuned up for the half ironman in a week and a half
Find a place to live in Boulder over the summer
If I accomplish the first two on the list by tomorrow I’ll feel better, chances are, though, I won’t.
Here’s my question for the day:
Do any situations make you anxious? What do you worry about?