27 and a PhD

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Things I will miss about grad school

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.

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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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