27 and a PhD

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What’s happening?

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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Phewww, it’s been quite sometime since I last updated this blog. Fear not, I haven’t gone away or started a new blog. It’s incredible how busy life is now that I’m back to my original field of research. It’s been crazy but good. I’ve had to adapt to a couple of new things, like having users and collaborators email or call and ask for certain services and things. I work in this big core lab that serves a ton of people, but luckily we’re in the middle of summer, so it’s been a good time to start and get used to fulfilling many roles and tasks. I’ve been purchasing things for the group I work with, from supplies to tools, everything except furniture and big ticket times. On my first day I got to use one of the machines I used  when I was in grad school. I felt both thankful and fearful of breaking it, as I hadn’t used it in almost 3 years.

I’ve gotten my little desk/office space, an extension with voice mail, an email account and accounts on different types of equipment, computers and servers. I’ve been taking notes like a freshmen biology student and getting out of my comfort zone, chasing people, users and services.

I’ve had to adapt to having staff meetings (which are longer than lab meetings).

So far I like it. I have a 401K, dental, health and prescription coverage. Weekends are off limits, but it may change when the semester starts. I’ve met some of the idols in my field which are currently working in the city. And the city is … well … the City.

I’m adapting well to new and different means of transportation … but I do miss driving, especially since I lived so very close to work in Canada. I’ve got a smarphone (yay), so I can try to stay connected. But with the sheer volume of work it’s sometimes impossible. I live close to work, so I walk here every day, but it’s a temporary arrangement, while I find a more permanent place. I may have lost a pound or two, and sometimes my feet hurt a bit less than when I was in Canada. The food here is amazing … it is true, especially Chinese-take out, nom nom nom. I’ve met quite a few wonderful tweeps and there are regularly scheduled tweetups where I hope to make some new contacts and friends. I’ve been trying to get out, go to little festivals and small events … kinda like getting out of my shell. For some people this would be hard to imagine, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve become shy and introverted.

Even with the sheer volume of people in this city I’ve managed to see 3 people I know from 3 completely separate times of my life. There’s a grade-school friend I saw one night. Then there was a former student from my PhD department, who’s on his way to become a prof. And finally, one of my college professors. It’s both exciting and different to describe to them what it is that I’m doing now that I’m no longer a postdoc. It’s also interesting not to be a postdoc anymore.

I think good things are brewing, and I’m approaching everything with both caution and optimism. One especially wonderful thing is that honey’s been visiting for the last few days. He’s visited work, the apartment, he’s done my morning and afternoon routes to it. We’ve visited museums and stores and we’re starting to enjoy some of the food in the city (hon’s had an upset stomach since before he got here). Thankfully we have a couple of more days together … but then he has to head back, and that sucks. I miss him SO much. He’s not only my best friend and confidant, but he’s also the one who helps me get out of my shell, meet people, discover new places. It’s hard to be long-distance again, especially when one of us gets sick, or something stressful happens. We’re each others’ rock and support, and it sucks to be separated by so many miles.

I’m still having issues with my family. Without going into too many details, my dad got into some financial trouble that’s dragging some family members down, including me. I’ve been trying to help in any way I can, but sadly, I haven’t been too successful. My dad is also in denial, and his only choice (bankruptcy) is something he’s still is not in the right mindset to do. We’ll see. Things would be a lot easier if this situation, and the pain, anger and problems it brings along, was sorted out … life is never easy, and it sucks to get trapped in the middle of all this.

OK, gotta run, there are experiments and issues waiting to be addressed. I hope to write some more soon!

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4 Comments

  1. Glad you are liking the job and best of luck.

  2. Carolina (@braziliancakes) says:

    Yay! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the City and that you’re settled in. 🙂
    I hope we can meet up at a tweetup soon.

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