Friday, March 13, 2009

Brings it all back...

Today I am visiting Jason and Tiffany's lab at the University of Mississippi. Jason calls it the Species Interaction Lab because he has a big brain but really he mainly does crazy stuff with mycorrhizae. Tiff works on bugs and agriculture and complicated statistics. The lab is in a big old brick building that looks like it was designed in the 1950s (I'm sure it is older than that really). It totally reminds me of all the time I spent wreaking havoc in my dad's office building as a kid. The cinder block walls, the huge building, the lab spaces, the wheely chairs, the signs outside the labs and offices. I feel like I should be having rolly chair races in the hallway or riding the elevators up and down, up and down.

The other odd thing about actually seeing my friends as academics is it reminds me of this whole other life that I once thought I would lead. Having your own lab with graduate students and undergrads and an office... A long time ago I thought I would be an academic at a university. I like my current job and I wouldn't trade the work I do with all the different stuff and different people and little kids and plants and feeling like I'm making a difference (even if I'm not really) and being able to go home at the end of the day without any papers to grade - I wouldn't trade all of that for the stress of bringing in grants and grading papers and writing lectures and writing papers and publishing research.

But still, visiting a university where my friends are living the academic life is a very odd combination of a fast trip back in time to my youth as a kid of an academic and a side trip to another life where I was a professor with my own lab full of plants and people.

1 comment:

Tiffany A said...

Guess again Christer -- you were darned near spot-on about the age of Shoemaker Hall. It was being built in the early 60s. As a matter of fact, some of the bricks for the building were used as hucking weapons when James Meredith was being admitted to Ole Miss in 1962. You should know by now that you are almost always right.