Friday 8 July 2011


What is it about things all happening at once? It all kept coming, one after another, today. It was my last day before the summer break, and as we're moving into a new building when we come back in August, it meant saying goodbye to the old building - it will be gutted over the summer, and then I will have to attempt to teach while the block is demolished in full view of my lab (I have resigned myself to getting nothing out of my students for the first half term).

I've cleared my desk. I live in hope that the guys from IS (lovingly referred to as the Dentrassi, as they're at their most helpful when it annoys senior management) will manage to get my computer to its new home, because I managed to get admin access on that one and install useful software! I bid farewell to my lab, the very first classroom I taught in (not including the odd university lecture, and of course all those outdoor fieldwork "labs"), and location of some of my favourite memories of teaching so far.

I was home early enough to watch STS-135 via NASA TV. I was born just over a year before the first shuttle launch, so I have only ever known a world with space shuttles. We sat at home back in 1986 watching Challenger launch and then disintegrate, a tragedy that has extra poignancy for me now that I am a teacher. I have visited the Challenger memorial at Arlington Cemetery twice. I expected to feel emotional watching the launch, but I didn't expect to be howling my eyes out on my sofa.

So two thirty-year eras came to an end - the old science block and the NASA Shuttle Mission.

And then I got my rejection e-mail from SVP - my abstract was not accepted for the Education & Outreach Symposium. This means I cannot go to SVP this year - my managers have been really supportive of my plans, offering to fund my registration fee and allow me the time off teaching to attend. But without an abstract, I have no justification for going. Maybe I'm just tired and pessimistic, but I don't think I will be going to any more SVP conferences. I will have missed two in a row, and I'm really rather out of the community. I will not be, as I had hoped, standing in Coral Pink Sand Dunes this year. So in a rather melodramatic manner (which I will probably laugh about when I've had a good night's sleep or three), it feels like the end of a dream as well.


  1. Sorry about the abstract. What a bummer.

  2. It really is. I'm so disappointed! But on the plus side I'll be a good £1,500 better off as a result of not having the expense, and I won't have to leave my students in the hands of cover supervisors.


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