27 and a PhD

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Absence

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 know I’ve been MIA for a while. I rarely get on Twitter these days, and I forgot to blog last week. In fact, I’m forgetting a lot of things these days. My apologies, it’s not on purpose.

It’s been crazy busy at work. There have been a few workshops and seminars to attend, followed by lots of data collection, instruments going down, my boss not getting one of his grants renewed. Oh, and the pesky impending move. In case you don’t know, one day I was happily typing away while I get an email from my roommate. The soon-to-be-ex-roommate says she’s pregnant and that her fiance is moving in, so I need to pack up an leave. In her defense, I’d only signed a 1 year lease. In my defense …. WTF? In case you can’t tell, changes send me into a panic and end up with me in a foul mood for weeks (ask honey … also, poor honey).

I wasn’t looking forward to moving for the 5th time (yes, fifth time) in less than 12 months. I finally found something, of course with roommates because who on earth can pay NY prices! Even the boroughs are shitty expensive, unless you move to less than reputable areas. Instead, I’ve moved into a truly tiny room, in a 3BeR/2BaR apartment where my cat can stay legally and I get to enjoy cable, dishwasher, on suite washer/drier and apparently less parking issues, though we’ll see about that. Yes, I still have my vehicle. Why, you ask? Because it still has ON tags and because of all this craziness, my always depleted savings account is now blank. It doesn’t cost too much to register (well, certainly more than in ON). I’m not looking forward to the colours of the stupid NY tag, crappy mustard and blue (what a crazy combination, it looks horrible!), but I have to do it by August, so it’s happening. After that, I’ll try to fix some minor things and hopefully put it on sale.

Also, this week I’m turning 31. I hate numbers that don’t end up in 0, 5 or are repeats (22, 33, 44, those are cool). I’m a foul mood, but it’s not your fault. I don’t hate my age, I just don’t like the 1 (I hated being 11, 21 was not so bad .. hello beer!).

Rambling, rambling, rambling. I know, that’s exactly how it sounds. All this to say that it’s not that I don’t want to blog, it’s not that I hate you all, I don’t. I seriously love getting comments and questions, even if it takes me forever to answer. I apologize.

I decided to go back to my mood meds. While I was in grad school I was diagnosed with severe PMS, or PMDD. I seriously had the most miserable two weeks before my period (seriously, 26 weeks out of every year, for the last few years). I got depressed, my chest was extremely tender, I would cry or fight for no reason, sometimes I even got a cold beforehand (for a whole year while in grad school I got sick every single month, the issue would resolve once my period was done … WTF?). I tried the birth control patch and a few other hormonal solutions to skip my period, but I only got shorter periods and my boobs were untouchable. I guess it’s some sort of sensitivity to birth control? I don’t know, all I know is that the Pill didn’t work for my period.

The mood/physical issues were serious enough to interfere with my life, to the point that I had to be out of the lab for a day or two every month. I took escitalopram, and it worked wonders, but that stuff was expensive. Then I switched to sertraline … it sort of worked. Then I got off completely. It wasn’t fun. Now that I have a FSA account and a non-crappy, non-grad school insurance, I can finally afford meds, and I’ve been back on escitalopram for a few months now. One of the side effects is loss of interest in things that I used to like … that explains (partly) my absence from Twitter and from the blog. I feel like I’m in a constant writer’s block. It’s not fun, but I prefer that to having the shitty feeling two weeks out of every single month be almost unlivable. (In case you’re curious, I did try fluoxetine …. I wanted to kill myself two weeks in … yeah, not fun to want to jump off buildings and bridges just because).

So, there you have it. It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s not that I don’t care about blogging and tweeting. I love you and love interacting with you, but while taking care of my well-being, I get some of the side effects, which in turn affect my creativity a bit. I will continue to blog and tweet, and answer questions. It just may take a bit longer than usual.

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10 Comments

  1. I completely get the busyness and being away from the blog/twitter. I am just feeling like doing those things now. Also: yay for non-crappy insurance! I’m glad that you’re back on the mood meds and that they’re helping (fwiw Dr. Man’s fav ssri is ecitalopram).

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks! Indeed, it helps a ton to be back on it. I just appear a bit spazzed out sometimes, but it helps a ton during that time of the month.

  2. Oh. I soo want to accomplish my phd by 27,was it difficult?

  3. funkdoctorx says:

    Want to know what’s cool about turning 31. It’s a primer number! I always like turning prime numbers!

  4. Dr. Dad, PhD says:

    No need to apologize for not blogging – although I just did the very same thing…. lol. It’s not that I don’t want to write. It’s just that I don’t know if I have anything to say….

    I’m still waiting for the non-crappy insurance to kick in for me, but I’m glad you’re able to get the Rx you need.

    Good luck and I’ll be waiting for an update.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      We all have stuff to say, but sometimes the words just don’t come out. Ever felt like that? I mean, even before re-starting on my medication, the thought of sitting down and writing something more or less coherent seemed a bit daunting. Now, with the med is even harder. But I’ll give it a shot. Hope all is well. Kind regards and thanks for stopping by! Hope your insurance kicks in soon.

  5. mutantreptile says:

    Why do hormones exist? They throw away the whole “human beings are rational creatures” argument. You can’t be reasonable when you’re hormonal. You do things you don’t even understand without even knowing why. I hate birth control pills and patches with a passion. The one I’m on now hasn’t affected my mood so much, but my period is out of control. The worst for me was the patch. I got a I-have-no-desire-to-leave-this-bed-ever-again full on depression. Speaking of birth control, couldn’t you have given your roommate some of yours? Pendeja. La tipa me cae mal y ni la conozco.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Bahh, biological responses to stimuli and also to get you to do and feel stuff. But for us women, well, they can be bitchez. I HATED the stupid patch. It was even worse than the pill, and I was in the lowest dose possible. Every side effect it said I could experience, I did experience. And my periods, though somewhat shorter, were still very painful. I wish indeed I’d given my roommate some BC pills, though I can’t take them anymore. Gracias por visitar!

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