27 and a PhD

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What to do now?

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.


June 2009
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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 …



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