27 and a PhD

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End of the year meme – 2011 edition

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 2011
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I wrote this back in 2009, when I first did the end of the year meme. Let’s see how 2011 went.

An end of the year analysis… in meme form.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Cried if front of my immediate boss and got my “first real job.”

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I’ll have to look at my list, but I do think I accomplished certain things.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A couple of nice tweeps. Don’t think anyone in my immediate family gave birth.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

A good family friend died.

5. What countries did you visit?

The US. I mean, I moved back.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2001?

Mmmm, less debt, less weight and more peace family wise. A happier attitude towards life. An insane amount of expertise and independence on some of the instruments at work which are still biting me in the ass. I know I will master them as time goes by, and the software bugs will stop messing with my mind. It’s just a lot of equipment for very few people and lots of samples and projects.  Also, a raise after I master said instruments.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory?

June 21st, 2011. The last night I slept in the same bed, in Canada, with my hon. We headed to the airport later as hon was on his way to a well deserved break, and I was on my way to new job city. Also, a certain day in February when hon took me to a nice dinner in postdoc city, followed by a night at the opera. And, turning 30 in new job city and celebrating it with a friend and her friends, who totally welcomed a stranger and made her feel good about her day (I had no family or hon present as I had just started at my new position, hon was on vacation and my family couldn’t travel).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not giving up on the job search, even though it was brutal. Finding a job that I like, in a discipline I love and meeting some high-profile people in the field.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not telling a batshit crazy ass family member to shove it. And not confronting my dad re: stupid money decisions which have half of the family not speaking to the other half.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Probably a couple of colds and my always annoying and painful periods. And the feet pain getting worse. I gave in and finally saw a podiatrist. I’m getting orthotics in a few weeks. Also, a nasty heat-induced allergy. Spent a week on Zyrtec and lots of anti-itch lotion. And long sleeves in the summer.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A smartphone that has saved my life (kind of) a couple of times. How come I didn’t have one sooner?

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Hon’s of course, for being always supportive and understanding, and celebrating every little victory, especially during the grueling job search. Also my mom’s … between she and hon, I got some of the most needed advice ever.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

My mom’s brother and my dad’s. Thanks for screwing with my life and credit score.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Moving …. and moving related expenses, and getting settled. And food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

New job, meeting some scientists that I’ve admired for a long time, meeting tweeps IRL and experiencing The City with hon, on the cheap. That boy is awesome, can’t you tell?

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2011?

Any song from the Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack, and a couple of songs from Calle 13.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

1. Happier or sadder? Happier.
2. Thinner or fatter? Hon says that I look thinner, possibly because I get to walk a bit more around The City.
3. Richer or poorer? Poorer. I’m still way in hell in red numbers, particularly due to stupid money decisions by the two people I mentioned above. I also had to take a small loan at work to cover some moving expenses. That should be paid soon, I think. So, maybe I’ll be able to save enough to go home at a later time.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Exploring The City, reading, blogging, and saying yes to more invitations to socialize.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Spend, complain, worry and cry.

20. How will you be spending/did you spend Christmas?

In The City. Like I said, I’m way down in red numbers, and I only have a couple of days accumulated for vacation, so I’ll be working before and after Xmas, and definitely after new year’s …. I haven’t had a break in a long time. I’m starting to feel it. Between not having money and time, I’m forced to spend Xmas in a city a lot of people can only dream of spending their holidays at.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?

Hon, mom and vendors.

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?

More and more with the same adorable guy. And my nephew. He’s cute.

23. How many one night stands in this last year?

None; though it would have been interesting to have one or two with the BF, hehe.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Little Mosque on the Prairie and The Fifth Estate, a couple of crime shows.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Yeah, my mom’s insane brother. Also, rude people in The City.

26. What was the best book(s) you read?

I’m a wee tired to remember some of the stuff I’ve read. But I’m on Goodreads, feel free to check out what I’ve read.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Mindy Gledhill and a couple of new songs by some of my favourite artists.

28. What did you want and get?

A new job, with benefits, a cute apartment and my music.

29. What did you want and not get?

More money, less debt and continue living with hon.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?

Haven’t been to the movies in a while, but probably the Dragon Trilogy, though I know it’s older than this year.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

Went to a friend’s house who welcomed me with arms wide open, made a wonderful drink with her mad skillz and had cupcakes to celebrate the day and my birthday (it’s a holiday). I turned the big 3-0.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Living with honey, negotiating my salary for a bit longer, and less money problems.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Frumpy scientist, with the occasional sprinkle of something new and decent when outside of the lab.

34. What kept you sane?
The BF and my mom. And super nice coworkers.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I can’t think of anyone right now.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Marriage equality, budget issues, OWS … among many others.

37. Who did you miss?

Hon, my mom and my nephew.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Former immediate boss. Wonderful person, wonderful coworker, super chill. Too bad he quit.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Don’t take certain members of my family too seriously. Keep on going even when life throws you big piles of shit. 2011, you’ve been a bitch.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?

Maybe later, it’s late and I’m a bit too tired to think.

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