Earlier this week I made a (long 5 hour drive) trip up to Haverford College in Pennsylvania. One of my friends from graduate school, Dr. Louise Charkoudian, is an assistant professor in the chemistry department. She invited me up to give a talk on my research to the faculty and students of their biochemistry “superlab” course. It was a whirlwind 36 hours that I didn’t even know I desperately needed. In the day-to-day job of a professor, there is so much to do – classes to teach, research to advise, committees to head and serve on, etc., etc. Even with spring break last week, I was in the office catching up on a lot of things including writing an exam for my class and finishing a manuscript revision for resubmission. Although the days were quieter without students, it was just as busy with work. This job can be exhausting — the to-do list is always growing.

Anyway, the trip to Haverford was just what I needed. It reminded me that even though we have challenges as a school (I won’t go into all the gory details, but they are there), everyday I get to do a job that I love. I get to teach enthusiastic students about chemistry. I get to work on research that excites me. And my students accomplish great work. When I get to speak to the outside world about the research we have done, I get rejuvenated.

So thank you to Lou for an amazing visit. Thank you to the members of the chemistry department that took time out of their day to chat about science and teaching with me. And thank you to the students for asking questions about research, life, and my career path.

~jap

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