27 and a PhD

Home » Grad school » Unloading the truth … and feeling old

Unloading the truth … and feeling old

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.


September 2009
« Aug   Oct »

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,566 other followers

Follow me

In previous posts I had mentioned that the BF didn’t know about my debts, how I got into debt, how I want to get out, how much, etc. Today the BF seemed a bit cold …. honestly, he felt a bit cold at times during the last couple of days. A few years back, while I was dating a college BF I remember getting that cold feeling along my spine, and bracing for a hundred thousand tears, and for an imminent breakup. I tell you, it was NOT fun. Feeling alone, breaking up with someone who’s been your best friend, your life, your everything for a few years hurts. And I am scared of feeling and being that hurt again … of not coming back from that kind of depression. That’s why, when the BF said we needed to talk I braced myself for the worst. And in a way, the best possible thing happened.

When I started writing here, a few months back, I vowed to be very honest about debt, finishing the PhD, etc. I’ve said how much I owe (23K), and how scared I am/was of people I know and love finding out about it. I didn’t want the BF to read the blog, especially those entries. But I realized that I needed to come clean. That if we were/are to have a future together we must come clean, unload our baggage and enlist each other’s help to overcome hardships.

Well, today was the day. I don’t know the exact details of how the BF got the idea, but I had been hinting about things and ways in which he could find out the name of this blog and such. And he did. I was so scared of letting him down, of showing him how irresponsible I’ve been. Of alienating him and going down a path without a way back.

We sat down, he started talking, he asked me about it …. and if felt almost as relieving as when you get the absolution of your sins by a priest (hey y’all, I’m a catholic, so this is the best example I could come up with). We talked about how and when it started, how it spiraled down and what I can do now to avoid making it worse. My worst fear was of a breakup, not only because we’ve been together for a long time, or for my fear of disappointing him, but because I had been and have been irresponsible, and in a way, I felt like I was cheating. He could not hide the sadness, but he offered his help in any way he could. Together we are coming up with ways to funnel money into the debt, and still living a decent life together. The best is yet to come, and the start of it seems good.

On a different side of life, today the undergrads started. I cannot help but wonder if I looked that young and fresh when I started college. I look at myself in the mirror now and feel kinda old and run down (it could very well be PMS-related). But anyhow, the kids just look like that, kids. I feel like I’m from a completely different world.

Seeing those undergrads walking around, some of them scared of the new environment, some of them over-confident, made me go back 10 years in time, to 1999 when I was an undergrad. I felt so scared, but in a way I also felt powerful. I remember cramming down for projects, exams, labs, etc. It was so very fun. Sometimes I feel pain in my heart, an ache for the times by gone. But I’m glad for all of it. FOR ALL, yes, even those undesirable professors (may they rest in peace), even the bad dates, the crazy hairdo’s, and the silly projects. They all helped me in my way to get a PhD. Here I am today, 10 years after first stepping in my school. Here I am, a victor, not a victim, still wanting to learn, to grow, to experience.


  1. […] words, when I was talking about what had been my life for the last 5 years. Memories (good and some not so good) started flowing, and I remember not being nervous at all. Friends, family, co-workers, profs that […]

  2. […] money while I could. I’ve written about making stupid money mistakes here. Needless to say, once you leave grad school you shouldn’t carry humongous amounts of debt … especially because unless you get a kick ass fellowship, or get a postdoc in industry, you […]

  3. […] may leave grad school with debt, even if you’re fully funded. This one sucks, as my story perfectly shows. But basically, even though there’s grant money, if you’re carrying debt from before, […]

What's your take?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: