27 and a PhD

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The best thing about me is you

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.


January 2012
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Almost 13 years ago I met a cute, nerdy boy at a nerd competition. Said boy and I started college at the same time, majored in two completely unrelated areas, but had many friends in common, so we’d see each other every now and then. I liked said boy, and said boy liked me. But neither said anything, and it went silent until almost 7 years ago. On a whim, I made a called to said boy, he wasn’t supposed to pick up,because my number had changed, and he never picked up calls from numbers he didn’t recognize. But he did pick up, and we set out a date, in The City, while the two of us were living many miles apart. A year after that, the cute and nerdy boy moved in with me. I was in my second year in the lab, my third in school. We went through some difficult times, like failing my qual, getting the severe PMS diagnosis, losing family members, finishing his masters’ and trying to adapt to each other.

A year after that, Mr. Cute-Nerd decided that he wanted to pursue a PhD … in another country. Our hearts had been broken by long-distance relationships previously … we didn’t want to embark in one, but we loved each other dearly and we thought we could make it.  I didn’t want him to miss the chance of a lifetime just to be near me. So on a sad September day we kissed goodbye, our noses snotty, not only due to tears, but also because of matching colds, which had kept us in bed for our last few days together.

During those first years of being long-distance, we managed to travel and see each other more times than we thought possible. We spent holidays together, summers, we even traveled to Europe!

He saw me grow and become an expert in my favourite structural bio sub-field. He provided comfort, even if from far away when I wasn’t feeling well, or when I was having a rough day in the lab. He got to “play” with one of my favourite instruments, and later that day we tried the Tango.

I saw him take classes, teach stuff he’d never seen before, become friends with many people, from different backgrounds, and find an “enano” best friend which we both love (and miss dearly). I saw him fight the system sometimes, and become good friends with some of the best professors I’ve ever met. I also saw him fight against the very worst that academia has to offer … and he came through.

We then moved in together at the end of my PhD.We spent two years in the tundra, and managed to visit Niagara twice … always in the winter 🙂 . We drove past little Canadian towns, crossed the border with a packed car (twice) and share many special memories.

Mr. Cute-Nerd is at the end of his stint in school. Today, he handed his thesis, all finally done and ready to be critiqued by his committee before he starts the defense process. There will be more changes to make, there will be an examination committee to assemble, and people to meet, and documents to sign. We’ll finally kiss grad school city/postdoc city goodbye.

Mr. Cute-Nerd: you have made me very happy since that late summer day in 2005. I’m a better person for having you in my life. I’m in awe of your accomplishments, and I am so very proud of knowing you and being able to be a part of it all. You’ve grown immensely and I can’t wait to see you become a TT-beast (fo shizzle). I love our internal jokes, our little gestures of love, and our (somewhat daily) WTF links (awesomesauce). I’m incredibly blessed to have you in my life and I know you’re destined for wonderful things. You can do it, I know it, you’ve done 90% of the job already … the rest (even if it doesn’t look like it) is a piece of cake.

I can’t wait to kiss you and hug you and do something fun to celebrate this accomplishment. I know it is only the start of something wonderful. I am so proud of you, and I can’t wait for you to be (officially) a doctor.

Thank you for saying that your reward for the last couple of intense writing weeks is being able to spend time with me …. it makes this nerdy girl feel like the luckiest gal ever. Te AMO!


  1. tideliar says:

    Wow! Awesome nerd cuteness! Y’all rock!! Good luck almost Dr. SexyNerdyBoy!

  2. jsuix says:

    Awww. This is sweet! I also hope to meet that future Nerd Girl for me much like your CuteNerdBoy met you. To Mr. CuteNerdBoy, salutations and a job well done!

    BTW, i read some of your articles on 1DegreeBio too. I find it impressive that you have a PhD at 27, and I hope I can have one by the time I turn 30.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Awww, thank you so much jsuix, how nice of you. I’ll tell Mr. CuteNerdBoy. I actually got my PhD a few days after my 28th birthday, but I skipped the master’s degree, so that may account for the age thing. Glad you like my entries 🙂

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