27 and a PhD

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Projects on the intertubez

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’ll be in your intertubez, clogging them ;-).

So, a couple of entries ago I mentioned that although life in the flesh in 2012 sucked, life on the web was more promising. Now that some of these projects are live I can talk a bit more and share with you what’s going on.

Almost every week I get at least 1 email from a young person, be it an undergrad,ย  gradย  student or even postdoc, with questions about life in academia. Some are not sure of where to go, or what to do, or whether to stay in the lab, move on, or else. Others simply need encouragement to make a decision.

Some of these emails break my heart, some situations are plain unfair (bad mentors, vindictive labmates, crappy school), others are part of a general lack of mentoring. I had an awesome mentor in grad school … in fact, pretty much all my mentors have been very good. So I feel like in a way, I can give something back if I can answer a question, provide insight or be a mentor in a way.

I answer questions as soon as I can (though sometimes it’s hard to find time and sit and give an answer that makes sense). All this, and Twitter, provided a platform to make an idea become a real thing. For a bit the good people at Benchly and I had been talking about collaborating some way. After a particularly sad email we came up with the idea of a column to hopefully give a sense of reassurance to some of you out there who may be facing a tough time in the lab, or are maybe thinking about exploring other options in academia or just want to see what others are doing. In it, a few of the most common questions we get are shown together with answers from people who have been there, and survived and are now in a much better place. And if you haven’t checked out Benchfly, you’re missing a lot of goodies. Benchly is “the premiere video platform for scientists designed by research and video experts.” Need a video tutorial on a technique? Go there and check it out. Need advice, there’s a column for that. And there’s also a great blog with lots of great advice.

The first column is up and running. Every few weeks someone new will be showcased along with their answers and individual situation and how they’re doing since moving on from their bad situation. I hope this helps those of you out there with a tough situation and what to do … know that you’re not alone, it does get better. The first column features your truly. If you’ve had a bad postdoc experience and are now doing much better, please get in touch with me or Benchfly. It would be great to see how things changed for you. And on a related note, check this out.

Second, a few weeks ago I was approached by the fine people at Bio Careers. Bio Careers is a site “dedicated to expanding professional options for life science PhDs and MDs.” They feature a great job board, offer career tools and have a blog where scientists from all walks of life offer advice on everything career-related! I’ll be writing a monthly entry on career issues and my experience going from academia to non-profit research. My first entry is up! Check out the blog, and if your institution is a member, you can sign up for an account with them. That is super cool.

I hope you enjoy these entries and that they serve to keep you upbeat when you’re down and give you a sense of hope when you don’t know where to go.

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6 Comments

  1. When your other stuff goes up, be sure to post something here so I can check them out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Dylan says:

    Thanks for sharing! I love your site. I start my PhD program at the University of Florida in Nutritional Sciences today. I really look forward to continuing to read your words. Best of luck to you. -Dylan

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks Dylan! And congratulations on starting your PhD. I look forward to hearing from you and how things are going. And of course, Go Gators!

      PS. Did you know that I almost ended up at UF last year? It’s a small world ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Dylan says:

        Thanks so much.

        And whaaaat!?!? Yeah, go gators!

        That’s awesome. Well, looks like things are workin’ out for ya where you’re at now ๐Ÿ™‚ Such a small world ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Dr. 27 says:

        It is a small world indeed. Thanks for visiting and good luck in your new grad school adventure. If you ever go around Lake Alice, spare a thought for this adoptive NYer.

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