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Too many opportunities

Topics/tags: Overcommitment, short

A few months ago, I saw the announcement for the 2019 Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas Celebration of Women in Computing, also known as MINK-WIC [1]. I did what I normally do: I checked with Michelle to make sure I could go, set aside the time, emailed students to encourage them to sign up, and reserved a van to drive them to the conference.

Since then, a remarkable number of opportunities [2] have come up the same weekend. Let’s see … Can I remember them all?

There’s an ACM [3] SIG [4] Governing board meeting that weekend. As Vice-Chair of SIGCAS, I should attend. I’ve also learned a lot by attending SGB [5] meetings.

There’s a small Graduate Research in CS symposium at the University of Iowa. That’s not something I have to attend, but it’s something I’d like to attend to strengthen contacts with UIowa and to support our students who would be attending to consider graduate options.

I’ve just learned that Grinnell’s second multicultural alumni weekend is also that weekend. Before I saw the conflict in dates, I looked at the schedule and said to myself that’s something I’d really like to attend. I’d particularly like to be around to see the alum who return for the event.

Why does life provide us with so many conflicting opportunities?

Since I’ve already made the commitment to MINK-WIC, I’m planning to attend MINK-WIC.

What would I have done if I’d heard about all of the events at the same time? If I was unable to find someone else to take the students to MINK-WIC, I likely would have prioritized that conference. If I’d found a substitute, the choice would have been harder. I probably would have skipped MINK-WIC and the Iowa Symposium. I’m not sure how I’d choose between the SGB meeting and the reunion. Both are important. I’d learn a lot at both. I tend to have imposter syndrome at SGB meetings, and I don’t always like to travel, so there’s a chance I’d choose alumni weekend. But I also feel a strong sense of responsibility to SIGCAS, so perhaps I’d choose SGB.

Maybe it’s good that I’d already committed to MINK-WIC.

[1] I’m sad to report that one of my students observed that the name reminded them of a social services program.

[2] And perhaps obligations.

[3] Association of Computing Machinery.

[4] Special Interest Group.

[5] SIG Governing Board.

Version 1.0 of 2019-10-23.