Thursday, July 12, 2007

Graduate School Update

For a change of pace, I'm going to post about one of the topics that I normally avoid: work. Many of you know that I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in microbiology. I just finished my fourth year. No, I'm not graduating- probably the most frustrating thing about the entire experience is the lack of a finite ending. I generally avoid talking about work because, well, I tend to get bored when other people talk about their jobs (funny stories about weirdo co-workers are great, but a lengthy tale about the new database you're implementing? Thanks, but no thanks.), so I spare the general public the latest in antimicrobial peptides. Besides, I don't want to whine. The bottom line is that I'm getting paid to go to school, which is a pretty good deal, no matter how you look at it. Lately, I've been in a slump. Not an all-out, lie in bed chain smoking cigarettes slump, more of a downward spiral of procrastination. I finished classes two years ago, and have been full-time in the laboratory since then. Scientific research is a fairly independent, largely self-directed endeavor that requires a sense of discipline that I clearly lack. I am incredibly inefficient. I get sucked into thinking about experiments and deciding which ones I should do next, and delay the actual doing of experiments. Yesterday, I had a productive talk with a supervisor, and I've come to a decision regarding graduate school. No, I'm not dropping out. I'm going to start busting my ass so I can finish. I have some pretty good data that is a couple of steps away from publication. The light at the end of the tunnel, although dim and distant, is finally visible. Basically, if I kick it into high gear, and work like crazy for the next year, I should be on my way out the door next fall.

So, it looks like I'll be back to long days, nights, and weekends in the lab. It won't be fun. Most of the time, it will be decidedly unfun. But I've realized that it's the only way to finish. I still plan on keeping up with the blog...I mean, someone's got to be on the lookout for interspecies friendships and inappropriate footwear.

I am going to New York this weekend, so no more procrastinating...starting on Monday.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow-- that sounds like an awesome plan. You may need to pass on some of those "buy your friend a drink" coupons that are heading your way though. And by pass on them, I mean pass them on to me.

--Kerry

Kevin said...

I thought it mighty suspicious how you just happened to write about "buy your friend a drink" and this post back to back. Hmmm....

eileen said...

Pure chance, I swear! The grad school conundrum has been on my mind for quite some time.

danimal said...

I say fook grad skool Elena and publish this blog full time!!! Get advertisers and liquor companies to sponsor you!!! School is for idiots!!!

Mike said...

Damn it! I think I might be guilty of the lengthy database implementation tale...

Sorry about that!

eileen said...

Heh, no Mike, it was just an example :)

another phrase guaranteed to make my eyes gloss over = "hedge fund"

amanda said...

Now you're just being mean..

eileen said...

Um, I'll shut up now. All your jobs are fascinating, just like ribosomal proteins!

J.R. said...

well, let's just say, i'm three floors below you, one year behind ya... and i feel ya. It's strange because we get paid to, essentially, have no boss, come in at 10 and leave at 4-5ish. We're given tons of freedom and time to work on blogs or in my case fantasy baseball, and my "work attire" is flipflops and shorts, and yet that lack of a clearly defined goal is unsettling to the point that to hear most grad students talk, you'd think we're abused and tortured. I appreciate what we got, but right about now after two months of failed experiments where I'd have been more productive working from a beach in Aruba, I'd give anything to have a database to implement so at least i could see progress on SOMETHING!!