27 and a PhD

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12 months of change

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.


December 2009
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Following into the footsteps of one of my fave bloggers, I present now a list of cool things …, or just things, that happened during the fabulous 2009 which marked the end of my graduate career … heck! the end of my time in school as a student (oficially; unoficially I’ll never stop being a student and learning). To summarize, here are some of the awesome bits that have made 2009 a great year:

  1. January – came back from a vacay at my parent’s house, in my lovely hometown with my vision settled on finishing the damned thesis. BF and I didn’t get to spend too much time together as he was studying for his version of hell qualifying exams.
  2. February – I think I had a seminar of some sort at the beginning of this month … though my mind is usually nebulous as I had one thing in mind .. well, make it two things which would happen in March.
  3. March – I submitted my application for 2 postdoc interviews, one at a fairly new lab in the field in which I did my PhD, the second one in a lab that has been established for some time but in a completly different topic and technique from the one in which I did my PhD. I nailed one of the interviews and I got the job offer even before I interviewed (at the second lab with the totally unkown technique). Secondly … the reviews from my first author paper came back a month after submitting it, I would only need to wait 2 more months to have it approved and select the date for my thesis defense.
  4. April – Finished up chapter 5 of the thesis, only one more chapter (and the approval of the paper) to poll my thesis committee about defense dates.
  5. May – Got the flu (not the H1N1, thanks), on the same day I think I’m dying because of the coughing, sneezing and pressure on my head my boss calls me to tell me I can schedule the defense whenever the hell I want … the friggin’ paper has been accepted within 3 months of submission and I am finally  getting out! Last but not least, the BF passes his qual .. meaning that he’s well on his way to earn his PhD.
  6. June – Finished writing the thesis, but need many corrections as the last chapter (chapter 4, second thesis aim) is still out of shape … also, polling the committee regarding defense dates yields some uncomfortable results, meaning that I’ll upset a few of them if I want to be out by August. Also … chose the date for the defense by pulling major strings and begging more than a dog.
  7. July – turned 28 (my goal for defending was to do it prior to turning 28); defended, but mommy and BF seemed not to get along very well days before the defense which greatly upsets me. Packed up my things and left for my Canadian adventure.
  8. August – Start in the new lab, realize I have to relearn biochemistry and catch up with years of not doing it. Oh … also we moved twice in a 2 week span … thanks! 
  9. September – got my first paycheck as a postoc …. a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Oh, the boyfriend goes on a school trip and while I plan to clean the apartment, cook him a delicious dinner and be super productive my sister calls me to tell me she’s pregnant … on the same week of my parent’s wedding anniversary. I should mention that said parents are VERY conservative … this move will ensure many, many tears and LOTS of drama just as I’m adjusting to my new job … oh, the joys of having a family many miles away.
  10. October – purifying lots of protein, on my own, using uber-expensive equipment.
  11. November – because the boyfriend is a TA at Big Name Canadian U and because I’m afraid of traveling without him I push him every day to the edge while asking when are we going to buy tickets for our X-mas vacay (he reminds me every time that he has to grade finals and can’t leave until Big Name Canadian U posts exam dates … hate, hate, hate undergrads so much … ok, BNCU for not being efficient). I want to go home and celebrate freedom from grad school.
  12. December – ahhhh, it’s been almost a month since we booked the trip to visit our families. We’ll get home (parents home) at an insanely early time, but hey, we’ll free from school for 3 weeks! Currently purifying tons of protein to stock up for sequencing and future biophysical experiments. I officially have over 70 pages of protein purification profiles, gels and protocols, but really no results to speak for all I’ve been doing during the last few months. This business of being a postdoc is sometimes frustrating … but overall I’m trying to stay positive and remember that it took me almost 6 years to generate a thesis full of lovely drawings, tables and diagrams and I’m still learning in the new lab, so no reasons to be all frustrated … yet.


  1. dr leigh says:

    hey, you posted too! cool! it was originally 12 months of [your blog] which i took from drugmonkey (scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey) but i’m not so good with rules…

    i see we defended around the same time this year- and made major cross-country moves, etc around the same time. glad you found my blog! it’s nice to have more folks to compare notes with.

    congrats on the upcoming niece or nephew! my sibling had two kids while i was far away in grad school. it’s not easy to be far away. now that i’m a little closer to home, i’m wondering what i might have traded off to be here… but i would be questioning myself no matter where i went. it’s the transition stage i’m going through 🙂

  2. 28 and a PhD says:

    Dr Leigh! So awesome of you to visit this corner of the world. I wish I would have found your blog sooner. I would have been more of a stalker, I mean, fan.

    Thanks for the greetings and congrats. I totally get you on the things we miss while in grad school. I feel sometimes like a total stranger took over my mind, body and soul and that stranger was the one who did the degree and went trough hell to get it done. But it was all me … it was all you. It’s a baby boy, she’s due on my graduation day, and it might be cheaper to go to my grad day …. plus I don’t get as much vacay time as I’d like (ahhh, the wonders of being an undergrad with the entire friggin summer off). But she’s keeping me updated and I get to see her in two weeks. I should (and want) to do a post or two on relationships and family while in grad school.

    I love your blog (as you can see by the sheer volume of comments). Again, so nice of you to visit. I’m reading August now, so hopefully soon I’ll be up to date. Good luck with the new job search. Sending good vibrations your way, 28 (formerly 27).

  3. muchadoaboutlisa says:

    Hi there – noticed you stopped by my blog. Hoped you found it somewhat entertaining, and a nice break from the craziness that appears to be your life. 🙂

    What a ridiculous 12 months you’ve had. I always wondered if I could hack going back to school and persuing a PhD. I’m fairly certain I couldn’t – I’d for sure would have a..er..many multiple nervous breakdowns.

    I like your blog – you are a very honest blogger. It gives me something interesting to read on days when I have no classes to teach and HOURS to kill. 🙂


  4. 28 and a PhD says:

    Hi there Lisa! Thanks for visiting and commenting. Yeah, completing the degree is … a challenge. Not from the standpoint of grades, but more because of the price you pay by leaving your family, friends .. your “previous” life to become an academic. It’s …. and adventure. December is not over yet and SO many things have happened in the lest 2 days. I hope to write soon about the ones I can disclose. Thanks again for visiting. I found your blog thru wordpress and the post of the Korean wedding. I like Korea and I found the whole description SO very cool. I can’t wait to read more of your adventures. Cheers!

  5. […] I love to talk about myself incessantly I copied the meme, made changes accordingly and posted it here. Now that another year is coming to an end I decided to do it again and adapt it to the crazy and […]

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