yes! i am a genius!!!

06/07/2010 at 22:00 | Posted in graduate studies | Leave a comment
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…. according to this comic.  

of course… when all you do all say is stress about your qualifying exam.. mess up experiments and then complain about it on facebook…

right, i got nothing.  nap time!



05/07/2010 at 20:08 | Posted in graduate studies, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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one of my lab mates laughs whenever i tell her i’m going out with friends and tells me “[mdr410], you need to just lose the friends.  that’s the secret to grad school.”

she’s probably right.  take this past weekend.  a guy i’ve been seeing got himself drunk enough to explain to me what his “true lifestyle” is – then spent the weekend wanting to talk to me about it, instead of letting me move on.

a whole set of friends call me repeatedly telling me “your supervisor works you too hard, tell him you need a life” – yeah, that’ll work.

another couple of friends, who have just graduated with their master’s degrees, are constantly upset with me when i ask for their understanding when i can’t meet up every week.

i’m a nice person, so i don’t want to tell people to eff off, and each of these people is fantastic in his/her own right, but seriously, i am not sure what to do anymore.  maybe i should just tell people to call me in *hopefully* four years.

a sampling of a grad student's life

the road to my qualifying exam is paved with…

03/07/2010 at 00:33 | Posted in graduate studies, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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disaster is the best word to describe my relationship to this blog and to my studies.

after the term from hell (two classes plus a boss who treats you like a research associate instead of a grad student), it’s taken me a while to get back to a baseline level of normal.  wake up at 830am, drag my ass to school by 930 (i’m supposed to be there at 9…), do some experiments, pump body full of caffeine, do more experiments, more caffeine – maybe realize that lunch is important, then leave school at 6pm, go to a coffee shop and study.  9pm, realize the cafe will probably close in an hour and it’s sad that i’m still there and not at home.  also, hunger starts to set in, and i hope there’s food at home.  10pm, watch tv for an hour, while i try to remember that life is worth it, 12am (yeah, that hour was actually two hours…) sleep.

you see, my advisory committee thinks that i’m a strong enough student that i can take the phd qualifying exam, and my supervisor wants that transfer to happen as soon as possible – and so i only have a few months to prepare (well, two now) for an exam that scares me to no end.  what’s so bad, you ask?  i can’t remember any biochemistry basics.  it’s like i never took an honor’s degree!   and so, i’m stumbling around through life… hanging onto things like the internet and tv for a connection to reality.

stay tuned for more depression…

and if you want insight into grad school – read phdcomics (see links).  you’ll laugh, and if you are in grad school, you’ll cry… because it’s all true.   sigh…


22/02/2010 at 18:57 | Posted in graduate studies | Leave a comment
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i haven’t forgotten about my desire to blog my way through grad school!   since my last post i’ve been struggling to keep my head above water.  in january i distinctly remember swallowing enough metaphorical water that i allowed myself to say “goodbye world” … and then time caught up to me, and i crashed headfirst into midterm break.

since then i’ve slowed down… no more do i plan on being at school till 2am and returning at 7, taking just enough time to close my eyes and convince myself that that was indeed sleep, and, of course, to shower.  no, i plan on slowing down enough to at least be able to function on less than 5 cups of coffee a day!

anyway, needless to say, the world of classes alongside experiments is depressing.  goodbye society, goodbye friends, goodbye polite conversation…. and hello colds, dirty laundry, and a non-functional EQ.  (i went to a party one night right after a day in the lab, and within 20 min of my arrival, i had managed to insult 3 people and alienate a fourth.  at 25 min, i decided to cut my losses and go home.  so much for trying to have a social life!)

so, in case you’ve been wondering.. that’s where i’ve been!

until next time….


22/12/2009 at 01:37 | Posted in graduate studies, science | Leave a comment
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this is probably the umpteenth time that something like this has been proposed… but i’m too young to know about anything before this – and i’m quite impressed at the publication list that is backing this plan up.

Nature just published a piece about a new form of giving credit to academic authors.  one that includes not just the traditional “publication” but also comments on blog posts and contributions to wiki articles.

read the full article here.

lab cleanup day

19/12/2009 at 05:17 | Posted in graduate studies, science | Leave a comment
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today was lab cleanup day.

every 6 months, our tech organizes a lab cleanup day. we all get assigned to various chores, and spend the morning cleaning, purging, and, well… relaxing.  it’s one of those days where the boss man sanctions not doing experiments, and then gives you pizza for it.  it’s wonderful.

anyway, so something came up today that made me finally come clean to my supervisor about a situation that’s really been bugging me.

you see, for the past 8 months i’ve been living in the shadow of the guy before me… a guy who cut corners, lied, and pretty much bullshitted his way through life.  anyway, so along comes me – the proverbial new guy – and i’m stuck with trying to figure out what he actually did vs what he said he did.  eight months i’ve been messing things up in the lab, and confused out of my mind because of this douche.  i kept my mouth shut because well, at first i didn’t want to seem presumptuous… then i thought, oh well, i’ll just ask another person in the lab… then i thought, oh i’ve made it past the hard part, i can do the rest…. finally, i managed to get to the last step of the experiments …and… i got one THIRD the stuff he got.  you can imagine my thoughts/feelings/etc.

F. M. L.

anyway, today, i finally gave in to what my friends have been telling me for ages now… i wrote my supervisor, explained the situation dispassionately, and asked if we could meet so we could go through everything together. this was it… the moment of truth.

i hit send, and told myself “well, you had a good run. you didn’t really want a career in biochem anyway” and went home.

an hour later, the boss man wrote me back.  i opened the email… and was astonished at what i heard.  he was supremely understanding, and basically said “of course, how can you be expected to know the ins and outs when you’re new?”  so we’re meeting on monday.

you have no idea how relieved i am.  finally, i’ll be free of the old guy’s shortcuts and on my way to actually getting some research done!

moral of this story: explaining your issues to your supervisor can be a good idea!

ps. lab clean up day is ALWAYS a good idea – even if it’s only to get stuff off your chest!

how badly do i need a break?

16/12/2009 at 22:33 | Posted in graduate studies | 2 Comments
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well, it appears that my supervisor is more of a hard-ass than i anticipated.

my brother just purchased a ps3 last night, and since he is away for the holidays, he called me and offered to lend it to me until he gets back in january.  i, of course, accepted.  free ps3 for a month?  why, thank you!

so, i was trying to figure out what game to try out first, and mentioned this to one of the girls in the office, who responded with “oh, don’t you know that we have to work over the holidays?”   i was like “whaaaat?”  and so, according to her, our lab is expected to show up over “supposed” break, even though the university itself is officially closed.

i am, needless to say, in shock.  i mean, wtf?  don’t i put in enough time already, that you have to take away the one bit of mid-winter sanity that we all work toward every november?!  granted, i was thinking about coming in here or there – but i didn’t expect that i’d have to come in.  they are two very different situations.  in one case, you arrive an hour or two after you wake up… at a leisurely sunday morning pace.  in the other: a quick grande pike, shirt on backward, speed through 3 lanes of traffic, all to arrive a half an hour early to get a head start on experiments that will take you until 9pm anyway.

the girl in the lab was like “oh, it’s no big deal, just use your vacation days”

but this is a matter of principle.  no other fucking grad student has to be at school that week.  why the differential treatment?

anyway.  i’m still renting a pile of games and enjoying my evenings to the full.  take that! …sir.

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