27 and a PhD

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Graduation

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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It is with great pleasure that I, Dr. 28 and a PhD, announce that graduation weekend came and went beautifully. Graduation was at the beginning of May and the weather was lovely, on the hot-as-hell kinda way, ha!

The BF and I flew in (as driving would have taken us nearly 2 days). Rented a car and headed for a friend’s house who, together with her boyfriend, put up with us for a little while (Thank you!). They live 20 minutes away from school and I remember helping them move and visiting once or twice before my defense. The BF and I were dog tired but there were so many things to catch up on that we stayed up close to 1am the day before graduation. Dear friend picked up my gown (after having to do a bit of arm twisting at school) and on graduation morning we all headed out. I was storming across campus as the designated parking area was ages away from the graduation grounds. But I made it safely and bid farewell to my BF and company until later. And later was later. Tons of students had to walk the walk, and eventually all professional and grad school students walked.

It was exhilarating. To see so many people, all celebrating us. YAY! I looked particularly HOT (not!) in my gown. Turns out 10 or so classmates were also walking, including a few from my old department. We took pics and then settled to do the walk. The graduation ceremony was like nothing I was expecting. It was brief (I guess since it looked like it was about to reach over 100F degrees at any moment). The protocol things were over soon enough, and then the presentation of students and degree-granting  and diploma-handing parts were on their way. That was very beautiful as students from different faculties stood up and were applauded by all. Eventually the MA’s and PhD’s were granted, at which point it was almost midday. I almost got a lovely face-tan (if it weren’t for my trusty SPF lotion and makeup). By 1pm the whole ceremony was off and off we were to take the traditional pics around campus and return the rented gown (the thing costs upwards of 500 USDs …. seriously!).

Once the gown was returned, the BF and friends headed over to my old lab where more pics were taken. I then said a quick hello and goodbye to old friends and profs. And told them how much they’re missed. We headed out of school after 4pm, and finally had lunch (I only had a bit of toast and yogurt in my stomach). We had lunch at a cool eatery close to campus and I got meself a beer or two, hehe. I was on cloud 9. I also got to see some of the places I hung out, and reminisced of how much fun I’d had.

The rest of the weekend was spent shopping (or stimulating the local economy as my friends put it) and meeting up with whoever was available to meet. We headed to church early Sunday morning before leaving town and made it safely to Canada later that day. Church was good and it was great to see some old friends there too.

I’ve been back for some time now, and I can’t help but feel a pang in my heart, as if I hadn’t said my proper goodbyes to the place that was home for almost 6 years. The city and the people were the same (though the prices were AWESOME compared to Canada, I still don’t get why Canadians pay tons more for stuff and food). I truly miss the good times spent at Big Name U. Now I’m truly an alumna and I look back fondly at my memories and time spent there. In a way it was/is hard, but I also know that it needed to happen. And I needed a career and life shift.

All in all graduation/commencement was fun. And I am SO glad I didn’t miss a second of it. It’s a highly recommended event on my list of “musts” so, if you ever doubt if you should go back and attend graduation (except if your boss was an arse) … don’t hesitate. Just do it!

And to answer a dear commenter’s question about some of the post-grad goodies: my diploma is awesome, but I expected something bigger (after 6 years all I get is something slightly bigger than my high school one … bummer, ha!). I will frame it, but now it’s heading to my parent’s house to be kept safe. I’m now waiting for the graduation photos (proofs) from school and I may even purchase the DVD, even if I only look tiny on the screen, hehe. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

Congrats to all grads!

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2 Comments

  1. […] did you most enjoy doing PhD – Besides graduation? Ppretty much all, from learning a new and super specialized set of techniques (and having several […]

  2. […] – GRADUATION!!!!! Went back to my lovely school, met with former PI and current rotation students. Saw old […]

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