On a Jetplane – Back to Keppel Street (LSHTM)

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”I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but sail we must, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

All of my greatest trials in life, be they personal or work-related, tend toward the existential. On rarer occasions, such as this one, they are more concrete and logistical. Recently, I have found travel ridiculously complicated, involving intercontinental flights, nearly prohibitive costs, and bilocation. Oh wait, that last one isn’t (yet) physically possible. Thanks to Skype, sometimes I feel as though it is. And speaking of Skype, one needs a computer for that to be possible. So what happens when the motherboard fails? Back to the mothership (LSHTM and, in my case, the nearest Apple store) you go!

So I now find myself back in London, working from hotdesking space and my newly resurrected laptop (gotta love LG19) at the LSHTM, through the end of June. In my time here, I need to apply for a different Indian visa, work remotely with Sangath back in India, and also complete most of my two systematic review papers as part of a larger literature-based study with which a group of us in global mental health, including my associate supervisor and a couple other professors, are involved. I’m also working on completing the first draft of my upgrading paper by the end of the month, as well. No big deal, right? I’m terrified at the prospect. Merely figuring out the logistics for the time management required to accomplish it all is incredibly daunting. Paso a paso. One step at a time, and I will get there. Or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself.

In my studies at the LSHTM thus far, I have often found myself multitasking and feeling very much overwhelmed. Seeing so much work before me, initially I tend to panic. I have to keep reminding myself that focus is the key to getting things accomplished – honing in on your priorities and getting them finished and out of the way. Getting something – anything – done is far superior to nothing, and allowing fear to paralyse you is the death of all productivity. Keep moving. There are plenty of peripheral opportunities to drift.

For example, you step outside of LSHTM to find one of the Batmobiles from Dark Knight Rises sitting in front of the Senate House Library building:

The Batmobile parked just down the street from LSHTM.

Or, en route to dinner, you get caught up in drooling at someone’s gorgeous red Ferrari F12 parked outside Waterstone’s on Malet Street:

Ferrari F12

Or at this Maserati GT along Russell Square:

Dream car? Perhaps...

Then there is always LSHTM’s very own “Two Professors and Head of Department” band performing at the Keppel Street bar (yes, the school has a bar):

"Two Professors and Head of Department" band. Keppel Street entertainment at its finest.

The group is comprised entirely of parasitologists, proving that no matter how nerdy people are, everyone – from students to profs – knows how to have a good time.

And just when you think you’ve witnessed every bizarre oddity during your daily commutes in London… Like a panzer full of garishly clad, drunk activists driving down Tottenham Court Road, or a giant rubber duck on the Thames… Pink dog?

This sighting made my rainy morning commute both brighter and more amusing.

This week, I’m rewarding my productivity by sitting in on a Lancet meeting on Thursday, 6 June (conveniently also my birthday). LSHTM affords its students the unique, exclusive opportunity to attend The Lancet’s editorial meetings to get a sense of the article review process and what criteria the various committees consider in selecting papers. I will post photos (if possible) along with other updates.

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