I have not, in fact, disappeared off the face of the Earth. I just finished my seminar and a literature review for an NSF-style proposal that is the semester project for my class.
The seminar is an oddly justifiable and valuable means of torture. I spent three weeks working 12-15 hours most days leading up to the seminar. The house went to hell, my sleep went to hell, and I may have told the kitties to go to hell at some point.
I've never been very comfortable speaking to large groups, nor very good at it. Somehow, this seminar was amazingly successful. I got good ratings from the group at large and a couple of people even commented that it would shame most conference talks and many invited seminars. Maybe I can do this scientist thing after all.
After all the stress of preparing the seminar, studying for the qual, and immediately having to write a literature review for my class (due today), I am again questioning my intended career path. A large research university seems to fit my skills and interests best as far as the balance between teaching and research, but I'm not sure I want the pressure to perform and publish that comes with that job.
I still want to teach and do research, so I don't think I want to work at a teaching university. (I understand that professors at teaching universities still do research, but I think I'd rather it be a more explicit and significant part of my job.) I don't want to be a researcher because that tends to remove teaching. Maybe a researcher who does a lot of outreach? Or maybe I can still do this professor thing after all, too.
How does grad school compare to being a professor as far as stress and time consumption? And where's that advisor of mine?