On the eve of departure…

…I have much to consider. The major line items are my topic of study for the trip, the travel logistics themselves, and, in typical workaholic fashion, how 2 weeks away from the lab will affect me and my progress.

I have finally decided to pursue the topic of interdisciplinarity in European landscapes, how it works, and how it is treated, funded, employed, published, and how people pursuing it are perceived.  (Phew, that was a mouthful!) This is a topic that is important to me professionally and will no doubt come up many times in my career search.  There appear to be many already covering my 2nd choice on inclusivity from different angles anyways. Informal discussions and conversations on inclusivity can still be pursued and those can still be fruitful even without being my topic of study.

Secondly on my mind are the trip logistics. Specifically the fact that I finally was able to book travel accommodations to and from Zurich. I was indirectly held up from booking by the travel ban and the current administration’s strict dealings with foreigners. My wife and I had plans to travel afterwards, however as her status is currently not permanent, we delayed and ultimately canceled our plans to travel altogether. As prices shot up, I had to figure out ways to minimize costs by booking earlier flights out of different cities. I am also working around the PoliMi schedule in order to be able to attend the Friday prayers which happen on a weekday around 1pm (a typical issue Muslims face in the professional world). I also am working out logistics of having the last few days of our trip coinciding with the first few days of Ramadan. Making the decision to stay true to my Muslim identity while still being able to dedicate as much as I can to trip was a tough one, in lieu of getting angry looks or at the expense of appearing unprofessional or lacking dedication. Luckily, everyone has been understanding and hopefully, we have worked out a solution that will allow me to participate to fullest without missing anything important to me.

Lastly, in the back of my head, I am considering what 2 weeks away from the lab would mean from my progress as a graduate student. The last time I took more than a few days off was when I reluctantly left for 2 weeks, for my wedding, I suppose my presence was necessary. I wonder what a few weeks will for me, perhaps it wont have the negative impact that I think it will?

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