‘Smonday’

I recently saw this thing make the rounds on Twitter about ‘Smonday’, loosely paraphrasing, it meant the horrible feeling you get on Sunday, when you’re already worrying about the workload on Monday. I have written about Smondays many many times before, albeit I had no word for it yet. As I’m a regular experiencer of Smondays, I’m particularly pleased to learn that 1) a term has now finally been coined, and 2) that I’m not alone, and maybe not as broken as I thought I was.

Anyway. This Smonday was slightly more Smondayesque than your average Smonday, because, well, I’ve been literally doing absolutely shit, nada, gar nichts, on my academic work over the past two weeks. I intended to do some clearing of shitty – but nonetheless important jobs, like uploading datasets to Dryad, and resubmitting a minor editorial revision of an accepted manuscript. I somehow didn’t manage to do any of that. Until this afternoon I did absolutely nothing. Nothing! (And to be honest, that’s how it should be, so I’m really quite fine with it. Maybe even a bit proud?)

The closer I came to Monday the 10th, however, the more severe the Smonday feeling became. It already started at least a week ago or so. The not doing anything part – however important it was for me and my brain too – didn’t really help. The Monday only became scarier, as the shelves remained full, while new tasks piled up. Academic life is fun, eh?

The real reason – I think – why I feel this way more than on the usual Sundays (even including some sleepless episodes at night), is that I’m starting a new experiment from tomorrow. Although I arranged all the needed elements, some things were still in the pipeline for longer than expected. For instance, Hermes delivery struggled big time to follow my instructions for a drop-off location, resulting in my experimental seed material to be delivered yesterday – a good ten days later than originally indicated. As you can imagine, I was slightly worried! But the seeds are now on my desk. I have them. I am quite certain I can start off tomorrow afternoon. This afternoon I finished a detailed planning, and I think everything is going to work out great.

Deliveries from Cruydthoeck make me feel like a kid in a candy shop

But of course, no matter how much I prepare, my mind plays tricks on me. It keeps firing all these questions to make me very confused.

Like, do I have enough pots?

Do I have enough soil left from previous experiments?

Do I have enough support to help me out with the work?

Did I plan everything meticulously?

Can I pull this one off?

Even though the answer to all these questions is clearly yes, my mind keeps telling me no. It is the same thing over and over and over again. To be honest, I’m not even sure it will ever go away. Well, it does go away, once the seeds are in the ground. But it will be back, no doubt.

But no matter how much I worry, excitement and curiosity always prevail and get me through it. I love executing my own experiments. It’s the main reason I’m still around in academia. And this experiment in particular is close to my heart, as it is supposed to further my own new little research line on the effects of artificial light at night on plants and the phytobiome. Yay!

Stay tuned for more in-depth updates. I will probably have more to rant about as the experiment evolves over the coming weeks!

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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