27 and a PhD

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Freedom

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 am free. I am free to do whatever I please, whatever I want, at whatever time I want. I have mixed feelings about this. I’ve never been jobless or project-less since I started my journey through higher education years ago.I’m guessing this is the time where I should really discover what is it I like and would like to do for the next chapter of my adult life.

I finished. I am done. I’m packed and moved from my former office and department to my home office/bedroom. My new full-time job is to look for a job, to enjoy my freedom and to start processing what these last 2 years have been and what they have done in/to my life.

I said my goodbyes, had a good laughter with my now former labmates, exchanged emails and contact info, had beer. No more seminars, workshops or lab meetings at 0’dark hundred in the morning until further notice.

I have a sense of relief, but some reservations and fears too … because God only knows that after my last check is done I won’t have any other sources of income. I’ll be calling my bank and credit card companies, explaining the situation and seeing if something can be done.

Nothing is happening on the interview front. My last official interview was back a month ago. I never heard from the second to last place I went, even though they said they’d be in touch, and it was the place I liked the most. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been applying. God is my witness to the amount of resumes and CVs I’ve tweaked in the last few weeks. My family is aware that by mid-July I’ll be there. Hon and I are sorting out what to do with our apartment and I have to find a buyer for my car, in the US (don’t know how that’s going to happen!). There aren’t any tricks under my sleeve, no last resources or hopelines. It’s all a complete unknown from here on.

I am somewhat scared since I’m a planner. I’ve never, in my 29 years, been in a situation where I haven’t known what the next step is and where to go. I’m at peace. I don’t feel undervalued and underappreciated anymore. I have no boss, no one to answer to other than myself.

We’ll see what life brings, but it is done, I am done with my postdoc. Paperless and all, but I am done. I am so ready to put this experience behind me.

This is freedom.

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12 Comments

  1. scientistmother says:

    Good luck. Something will happen

  2. katiesci says:

    I am so glad you can appreciate the little things lik not having to get up for lab meetings. I wis you the best with your newfound freedom.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks Katie :-). Indeed, I am very happy I don’t need to attend lab meetings, or book instruments around other people’s schedule or deal with a certain student from another lab who loves to come and kindly “insult” me (I’m saving that for another entry!). Thanks for visiting and for your kindness and support!

  3. sos says:

    I am sure you are gonna get a great job πŸ™‚ good luck to you.

  4. mutantreptile says:

    Where do you plan on going?

    • Dr. 27 says:

      I don’t know. Already talked to my parents. They’ve missed me every single day since I moved out to go to grad school, so they’d receive me with open arms if it came to that, a roof over my head won’t be a problem… but, my mom’s out of work and my dad is up to his eyeballs in debt, so I couldn’t count on them financially (they’re doing enough as it is letting me stay home w/o paying a cent) …. so I don’t know. I’m going to take this month off, try to sell stuff, keep applying to more jobs and see if something sticks. I may help hon with his freelancing gig, but I’m not sure if it will generate enough money for the two of us, seeing as his scholarship runs out in July. It’s the first time in my life where I have no concrete plan or strategy to follow … so I’ll play it by ear and see where life takes me. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  5. Anthea says:

    Good luck. I think that you’ve done something which is really hard. I know many people who are in similar situations as yourself. It’s hard but something will crop up when you least expect it. Hang in there πŸ™‚

  6. Wish you all the best.
    Have you give a thought to teaching positions?
    I am in your situation too, for last 6 months now. Up side is I am reading a lot of books, able to look after my daughter a lot, able to do some fun stuff like baking club with some kids and am freelancing. Flip side is money is scarce, science bugs inside my mind gets frustrated some times.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thank you Chandrima :-). I’ve thought about teaching positions. I’ve applied to a couple, but I don’t feel quite ready for that leap yet. I’d like to get my hands “dirty” with some more research and expand my horizons a bit before I try to convince an evaluation committee that’d I’d be good at teaching. I’ve been off of work for a few days and it feels great. But I have to move out of Canada (I’m not Canadian) because my visa expired … we’ll see what’s next. I’d just take a notebook and write down all your ideas, it’s good if you keep that engine working and well-oiled, but either reading papers, or reviews and having those ideas moving around and taking a life of their own. Who knows what could come out of it!

      Thank you for visiting πŸ™‚

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