27 and a PhD

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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Things I will miss about grad school

I’m two weeks away from defending. I’m still in disbelief after all the trials and tribulations I’ve  through. I never thought I’d get this far. Through the years I thought of how much I wanted to quit at times (when a breakup almost had me smash my car and kill myself … not good I tell you; when I failed the qualifying exam and felt like pure crap; or when problems with co-workers had me at my wit’s end). Here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of the things I’ll miss about grad school:

  1. I won’t be a student anymore. I don’t think my new ID card will say postdoctoral student (more than likely it’ll say something like postdoctoral trainee or just say I have a PhD). This means I won’t get student discounts. I guess I can always carry my old student ID from here … we’ll see how it goes. But this means that after almost 23 years in school non-stop (yes, that’s right, I’ve never taken a year off, it’s been a continuous thing since 1986 when I started in kindergarten) I won’t be an official student anymore. Whoa … that’s impressive, I mean, I am no longer a student.
  2. The food. Though the hospital’s cafeteria (I work at a med center) used to have super amazing chinese food (I used to get the fried vegetable rice and a hot & sour soup, yum!) they changed their recipe and now it’s not the same taste. I still miss it, and the super nice ladies that served the food. But now they are serving really yummy burgers (I did not eat sirloin burgers … and now I love them … at least the cafeteria ones).
  3. I’ll miss my co-workers and just the feeling of knowing people. Of saying hi and bye to known faces. When I say goodbye to a bunch of them this summer I may not see them ever again 😦
  4. Since I live close to a bunch of states it is really easy to just hop on the car and go places .. now I’ll be closer to other places, interesting cities, etc, but it won’t be the same. Then again, a bunch of the states I visited were breeding grounds for conservatives, so I won’t miss it.
  5. My friends, current ones and past ones. No explanations needed here.
  6. My apartment. I love where I live. It’s mostly quiet, super close to school and the airport (meaning I don’t pay a fortune for getting to the airport or park my car at the airport when I travel).
  7. The early start of spring. People, I’m moving to the Canada … the spring there starts somewhere around June … JUNE!!!!! (OK, I’m exaggerating just a bit, but still).
  8. SEC football games … best conference ever, no question about it. Go Gators!
  9. Getting up really late in the morning and feeling guilty for not getting to the lab earlier. Not too much. I guess what I mean so say here is that I’ll miss my old routine somewhat.
  10. The nice secretaries in my department. Always taking care of students and making sure all things are paid and registered for and what not .. who knows who’s going to be when I move to the new place.
  11. My boss. Sometimes you might disagree with the boss, but I can honestly say she’s looked out for me and saved my tail many times … I’ll miss her and having tons of resources just for me 😀

I may add more as needed. These are just here to start the mood. What are the things you miss most about grad school (or will miss when you’re done)??

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More like 28 and a PhD

Well, after having a really rough week, I was able to put my foot down and ask (and “warn”) my committee of 2 things : A) I’m ready to defend and I want to do it now and B) My job offer expires soon so get me out because I will hold you responsible for making me lose my future job.

I’ll explain. I usually never had too much trouble getting my committee members to meet. Sometimes only 3 or 4 would show up but when I asked for permission to defend back in Nov of 2008 they were all available and it was my PI who couldn’t meet because she was somewhere else.

After begging my boss to let me defend (all because she wanted to make sure that both the written document as well as the presentation were in a sort of final shape), it all happened last week, I was able to send possible defense dates to my committee. Two dates came out as the “best” for everyone, by mid-July. The final date is after my b-day, which means that I’ll be 28 by the time of my defense. As I’ve mentioned before, just as a vanity thing, I really wanted to defend prior to my b-day so I could say that I was 27 when I got my PhD. Since life likes to take its own course I ended up choosing the date after my b-day and struggling a bit with some committee members to agree to meet and let me go. I say it was a struggle since some of them said they were too busy and wanted me to move the date ’til almost September. I was outraged and super stressed. My poor boyfriend ended up consoling me and being 100% supportive and gently prodding me to tell them that I was ready now (though I don’t know if I’ll ever feel 100% ready) and with that I was able to send them a reminder that they are not the only ones who have a life and that I have a job waiting for me … don’t they realize that the moment I’m done I become one less “problem” or situation they have to deal with? Whatever.

The important thing is that I have a defense date ….. it may not be before my b-day, but at least for now it looks like it’s happening … so YEAH.

No final date yet

This wait might kill me, or not. Who knows.

As of today, June 15th, 2009, I have yet to schedule a defense date. I don’t know the reasons. Or maybe I do. I guess I’m not assertive enough to stand up to my boss and committee and say say “because of you I’m still stuck in this place and I can’t plan ahead because I have no friggin’ defense date yet.” Please understand that I am a planner, I am BIG on knowing what lies ahead, and I’d love to have a way of planning my next moves.

My worse fear is that I will defend pass my 28th birthday which is coming in the next few weeks. I know, that’s kind of vain and superficial, but I’d love to defend prior to turning 28. I guess that being 27 and saying that I’m done with the PhD will somehow “carry” more prestige than saying that I finished it at 28. The truth is that the thesis is written completely and ready to be sent out to my committee. My talk needs to be edited and polished (nothing too exhaustive) … and of course I need to get my committee to be in town on the same day, at the same time, in the same room and agree that the thesis kicks a** and that I can go.

On the bright side, I still get to pay for the credit card debts while I’m here and I don’t have to worry about moving costs yet. My BF will be on his way to his well deserved vacay in a few days and I’ll stay here, trying to sell furniture and some odds and ends to hopefully help me get some cash before I relocate.

I guess that the wait is what bothers me, that and the fact that I love to plan, but I really can’t until all the dates are set.

Oh well, so be it. In the meantime, I need to get back to business and edit the talk.

’til next time, I’m still 27 and trying to get a PhD 🙂

30 Things to do Before 30

So, following in the footsteps of one of my fave bloggers, Red, I’m compiling a list of 30 things I’d like to do before I turn 30 (which will happen in 2011, I’m turning 28 in ~4 weeks, YAY!).

Here we go intertube beetchez:

  1. Cut my hair, again, super short like when I was in college. See, I’ve always had medium length to long hair and when I was in college I decided to do something drastic and chop off ~10 inches of hair one Friday afternoon. I look at pictures of me back then and I totally dig the look, but since I’m overweight right now (I was ~140, size 6-8, now I’m 183, size 12-14) I need to … DONE. As of 09-21-09 my hair ifsofficially short. Not super, super short, but definitely a lot shorter than usual :-D. At the end of April 2010 I got a stylist which gave me the most awesome haircut. Thank you Carmen!
  2. Lose those darn 43 pounds, or at least get back to the 145-155 range. Stupid grad school stress is driving me nuts. I cannot sleep well unless it’s a Saturday, therefore …
  3. I need to finish my PhD. I started this thing back in 2003 and I need to finish pronto so I can move in with the boyfriend, start a new job, travel all the way north so I can … DONE
  4. Relocate to Canada. Yup, that’s right, I will be moving to eastern Canada sometime around the summer. Don’t be fooled, the Ice Box gets pretty darn hot in the summer … and of course SUPER cold in the *gulp* 8 months of friggin’ cold weather, but I’m in love with the dude and I must go if we want to have this thing work out without the long distance we’ve had for 2 or the 4 years we’ve been together. DONE
  5. Saw my own bikini or bathing suit, because I like the fit of some undies I would like to have swim apparel sawn by me which fits like it should, not like a store bought thing. Nice fitting undies would be the way to guide my creation.
  6. Get a 2nd tattoo …. I’m a Nintendo Freak, thus I’m in love with those 1Up mushroom tats that look pixelated. They look so very cute and remind me of my childhood.
  7. Visit my grams tomb more often. I don’t visit it very often because though she’s been dead for more than 10 years, I still miss her like crazy. I love to talk to her, I think her soul is now part of the universe, but still, I’d like to talk to her there.
  8. Buy a kick a** DSLR so I can snap kick a** pics of everything I like and post them on my Flickr.
  9. Pay off all of my credit card debt, which now is ~20K. I hope to get rid of two of them this year … we’ll see.
  10. If I have a kid before 30, have a natural birth. Turned 30 in July, and definitely, NOT planning on any kids this year, or next, or the one after that.
  11. Live for a few months, if not 1 year without coke or any carbonated drinks.
  12. Go back to Europe and spend a LOT less, preferably after paying off credit card debt and use cash only. Done BITCHEZ!! Blog post coming soon (as of Sept 3, 2010). Yeeepeeeeee.
  13. Throw away, donate or sell everything I don’t need and live a simpler life … without too much stuff. DONE … because of #4 … it feels great 🙂
  14. Have my own website and learn HTML, Perl, Java, etc….
  15. Get Adobe Photoshop and/or Illustrator. The boyfriend bought a new computer which came with Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements, so I can mark this one off. I really enjoy working with PS.
  16. Get a kick a** laptop.
  17. Get waxed or lasered on a regular basis so I can kiss goodbye to the annoying hairs on my legs.
  18. Get laser treatment for acne scars.
  19. Plant my own garden and grow my own fruits and veggies, or at least my own lavender so I can make my own yummy smelling soaps 🙂
  20. Get a best female friend with whom I can share girl-stuff that might bore my BF (bless his heart), go shopping, waxing, etc.
  21. Fix my lovely college watch and use it again … but # 2 HAS to come true in order for it to fit :-S
  22. Run a 5k or something similar once I’m fit so I can stop feeling like a slob
  23. Get a nice check up of my tubes and uterus to see why I keep having painful periods …. or remove them if possible (I know it’s crazy, but I’m tired of the stupid pain) …. at least I’ll know if I can bear children or not.
  24. Go thrifting at least once to see what’s all about. Where we live a bunch of people throw out tons of stuff, so instead of thrifting, we free-cycle. That’s how I got my computer monitor, a chair for our dining table and a coffee table. I’ve also gotten a couple more things, especially decorative stuff.
  25. Go to a spa.
  26. Visit Chicago & San Fran … two cities I’ve heard great stuff about but never visited 😦
  27. Go back to Amherst, MA and spend a day or two there so I can reminisce of my lovely summer there.
  28. Visit Cape Hatteras and spend the day snapping pics of the lovely lighthouse there 🙂
  29. Sponsor my local public radio/TV station.

Here you have it friends of the interwebz. Now share yours!

What to do now?

Well … yesterday, at exactly 3:00pm Central Time …. I saved for the last time my last thesis chapter prior to emailing it to my boss. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I’d cry or be super emotional … I still cannot believe it, but so far it’s done, finito. I looked over at my boyfriend who’s visiting for a few weeks and I leaned over and said, “it’s done.” His eyes were glowing and that’s when it hit me … I’m finished (well maybe, because my boss may get some crazy ideas to make new figrues or make me do some computer work so it’s absolutely perfect in her eyes).

My bf and I had been thinking of having a dinner and a movie date today. There’s this old movie theater that shows indie movies, and one of my favorite Asian directors Kiyoshi Kurosawa has a new one out. There’s a chicken joint close by which we really like, so we’ll eat some southern comfort food and then head over to watch the movie, which I’m hoping will be nice because I really like Kurosawa. We used to have dates like this when we first moved in together. This is a way to say thanks to the universe for such a fun and crazy time, and also to celebrate this thesis-finishing milestone (while it lasts, ha!).

I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that I don’t have too much writing to do now, other than prepare the presentation with my results for my public defense … that and pray that the committee will let me defend so I can get out, start my postdoc and leave all the protocol things behind. There’s much to do still, like: make sure margins are right and comply with grad school rules, make an appointment with the grad school people to check that my thesis follows their guidelines, print the thesis in the specified paper, bind the thing, prepare a humongous PDF file with the thesis to submit it electronically, incorporate any changes or things my committee says … oh, and that’s on the thesis front. I still have to pack, try to sell, donate or throw away 6 years worth of stuff and experiences so I can haul my a** off to a new country and start a life there.

Yeah, these are exciting times, and I sound like I’m either not excited or too tired. I am a bit tired, it tires me to even think of all the protocol-y thingies I need to do to get this thesis process over with. But I’m excited by the fact that soon, very soon I’ll be in a new place, sharing my living quarters with a loving boyfriend and cat, and I won’t have to worry about missing him because we’re not going to be over 600 miles apart (hoefully never, ever again). It’s just that while the time comes, the wait is not fun.

Oh well, now I have to go back to doing the presentation. The good thing is that I had a departmental seminar in February, thus some of the background slides and things appear to be in order …

Thanx!