I’m practicing avoidance techniques with the end of my dissertation. In part the dissertation scares the shit out of me, especially the last two papers (they’re epically huge and yeah, they make me want to cry) and I’m feeling like it’s not worth hurrying up and finishing (say for a Dec graduation rather than a May grad) if I don’t have a job lined up. As of yesterday however, I couldn’t avoid- I have journal article proofs I’m supposed to correct by Friday! Eeek!

So the best way for me to correct proofs is to mark them up, so I set my old printer going. . .and going. . . .and going. Over 2 hours later it finally finished printing 13 pages of proofs. It took so long because el crappo printer has decided to try and “build” the color black out of colors even though a full black cartridge was loaded about 4 printed pages before. I had gotten a little pissy with it since it didn’t print duplex, so I did actually have a new printer sitting in a box in the house just waiting for me to have a fit. Well I decided to set it up, but it wouldn’t fit in the same spot as the old printer. Crap. The only place it would fit is my bookshelf, but that would require me to get rid of some old crap.

What did I find on my bookself? Well to start, I found my physics lab notebooks from my freshman year (1998-1999). Off to the recycle pile those went. I also found random articles from planetology class, old class notes that had been copied into notebooks (I take notes on copier paper and then copy them into notebooks for classes so I have to review the material) and. . . . European history outlines from my sophomore year in high school.

All this crap has moved across country with me multiple times, and they’ve definately made my moves more spendy (both in terms of weight and extra boxes for the crap). But right now I’m trying to figure out how much stuff to purge. Do I:

  • Toss every physics homework set (and notebook I may find) from undergrad
  • Keep the old physics notes etc thinking I may wind up stuck and teaching physics classes at some point
  • Keep all the astro notes? Throw out the astro notes from undergrad (which I’ve actually found more helpful than most of my grad coursework)?
  • Toss all over my course notes with the realization that like everything is on the internet these days?

I sort of wish I could do the last option just to clear the floors of crap, but it doesn’t seem prudent as a graduate student. Maybe I can do that into postdoc #2 if I ever get postdoc #1. Right now though I’m leaning towards tossing all my physics undergrad stuff except stuff from quantum mechanics (because that was the class I had the most trouble with and one I didn’t have to take as a physics requirement for this PhD). I think all grad programs should have a class as students are about to graduate: Physical Sciences 8001: When to Purge  the Shit You’ve accumulated over 8+ years in college.

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