Archive for the ‘grad school’ Category


reaffirming that this is all a good idea

July 27, 2011

Even several months out from leaving research, and approaching a year since I started to make the decision, I keep finding these things that tell me it’s okay, it was a good idea, I don’t have to feel bad about leaving.

Today’s resource of choice?  “I am not wasting my Ph.D.” from project steph.  I don’t have one to waste, but it is nice to hear someone tell me that they didn’t waste 5+ years — therefore, I didn’t waste 3.

A favorite excerpt (emphasis hers, part of the organization of the post):

I’ve already decided to leave research, so I will just have to make use of my training as best as I can.

I have decided for multiple reasons that research is not the best fit for me. Thus, whether or not I am wasting my training is sort of a moot point. These are the two primary reasons why I left academia and the research bench:

  1. I was not personally fulfilled with bench research (i.e. the cycle of designing experiments, executing them, troubleshooting them, and analyzing the data). I was pretty sure I could find a job that I enjoyed more.
  2. I saw that the career path ahead (specifically that of an academic researcher) is extremely competitive and difficult. Jobs and funding are scarce. I just didn’t think that the academic research path was a good fit with other things I wanted/needed from life. (Some of these things were money and a desire to live in a specific geographical location.)

In other words, 1) I don’t wanna and 2) it’s gonna suck. I’m not left with much motivation to continue with a bench career or stay in academia. Why should I work so hard for something I don’t really want in the first place?

Exactly.  I didn’t wanna, and it was gonna suck.

Off to tell the masses about plant immune systems!


lady quantum, master of physics

April 7, 2011


I have to do revisions, but there’s nothing earth-shattering, and the highest-stress things I have to do before leaving are donedonedonedonedone.  Done.  DONE!

I’m completely stoked to be getting out of research, and even more stoked to be doing it with a fancy schmancy graduate science degree.  But right now, I’m most stoked about happy hour.


a good offense

April 7, 2011

Thanks so much to everyone who has called, texted, emailed, blog-commented, or messenger-pigeoned me to wish me luck today for my thesis defense.  Actually, nobody messenger-pigeoned me, but it would have been awesome, so I’m going to pretend.

T-minus 5 hours.  I do not feel ready.  I don’t exactly think my committee is going to abuse me too badly (or if they do, it’s not because they don’t think I deserve to graduate, and I don’t think they’ll fail me), but there are so many things I have notes next to that say “review this” that have gone sadly neglected in the final run-up to things.

I had a rockin’ defense-day breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants, though.  Reasons to treat yourself are always awesome.

Oh, also, Admiral Ackbar (below) made it into my defense … twice.  Yay nerd jokes!


See you on the other side.



activation energy

March 31, 2011

I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about my defense, my need to prepare, and the eighty other things that need getting done right now (yes, even after submitting my actual physical electronic thesis last week).  For some reason, the only thought that really sticks long enough is, “I need to do these things, right now — but oh look over there, there’s something safe, cuddly, and non-threatening!”

A bit ago, speaking to a similarly-struggling friend, we decided: we lack the activation energy.  The potential barrier (i.e., the overwhelming terror, in my case) is too high to overcome right now.

This makes me laugh despairingly, since it is so terribly apt — I’ve spent what time I’ve spent on science recently worrying about population transfer, potential barriers, and thermal activation between several states.

Now if only I could get excited.


thesis 2011: final countdown and the aftermath

March 28, 2011

Greetings, internet.  My thesis has been submitted!  At 10:45pm on Friday, I finally emailed a massive document to my committee, only a day and some hours later than I intended.  Ah, well.  It got there before the weekend, which was the really important part.  The preceding several days were, well … hellish.  Some of that probably came through on this blog, but not much, because I severely restricted my internet use during the final run-up to it all.

In an effort to channel the silly thoughts that often prompt me to post on here, I decided to keep a running list of things I was thinking about on paper, so as to minimize the time required to record them and prevent me from opening my browser.  Because I find them to be an amusing study in sleep-deprived, stress-driven brain function, I post them here for your enjoyment (also as an explanation, if you called me last week and I repeatedly ignored you).  I imagine it looks somewhat like a crazy person’s twitter feed, if a crazy person needed to write a graduate thesis under extreme duress. I translated and commented only where necessary, and the title was assigned during this whole project of sorts.

Read the rest of this entry ?


how to write a graduate thesis in a week

March 24, 2011

Don’t.  Bad things happen as the coffee to sleep ratio approaches infinity.


who’s a candidate?

February 17, 2011

I’m a candidate!  BOO-YEAH.

This bad boy was in my mailbox when I got home from lab just now. Please ignore the photography and photo-editing fail.

Now, back to our regularly-scheduled programming of a nap while waiting for the pain meds and decongestants to kick in (day five of some kind of sinus-exploding death cold).