27 and a PhD

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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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People that know me well know that I thrive in when things are in order, organized. The move threw my whole world upside down, especially money-wise. I was lucky enough to have good weather and low-traffic weekends to move everything. After handing over the keys to my old place, I haven’t hear from my roommate. I count that as a good thing. I left my room in pristine condition.

Now I have to shop for new doctors. I moved so far away from my former neighbourhood that it would be silly to try to keep my old doctors. Hopefully I can get a less creepy podiatrist. I am keeping my dentist though, she’s awesome. I’m back on my mood meds, which is partly why Twitter felt overwhelming. I’m still not 100% myself, but I’m definitely more hopeful now that the meds are back in my system. I also found out I’m not really asthmatic, though I do have that horrible allergy to NSAIDs. I’m getting some allergy-test results this week, let’s see what happens.

Work-wise, I’m getting involved in some new projects. I got some cool preliminary data and I want to show it to my boss to see what he thinks. I also want to show the data to the collaborator and see what he thinks. This is somewhat related to one of my areas of expertise, and while I was collecting the data I kept smiling, I felt like I was back in my good-data days of grad school.

But as much as I like my job and co-workers, and as much as I enjoy the instrumentation, things will have to change at some point. Honey is back in our hometown and is actively looking for work. We’ve talked more seriously about family, our future, and the word marriage has come up. We’re still poor from our grad school and postdoc days, so of course nothing is going to happen any time soon, but in preparation for what could happen I’d like to get my ass down home sooner rather than later. The prospect of starting another job search seems daunting, especially during an election year, with a bad economy to boot. But, I’m positive that it will happen and I need to prepare for that. It’s hard to network when you’re far away from home. This job search would also entail working on something different as the techniques I’m an “expert” in are not used at home. I could bring that expertise with me and start things myself, but again, I don’t think I’m ready to become a TT in said area. But one aspect I’m positive about is that even when I was away from my field of training for 2 years, picking things up again wasn’t as terrible (or as slow) as I made it out to be, so once I’m back in my home turf, I can start exploring options to see if I can get my hands back on the instrumentation I like so much. I know that what I know how to do would be a great tool to have at hand in my home institution, but right now they’re going through some tough patches money-wise, which is why I think it’s best to wait. We’ll see what happens. I’m giddy at the idea of living with honey once and for all, of going places together, having a regular life as a couple in the same place, planning vacations together, exploring things, enjoying working on what we like without the pressure of being students/postdocs. I’m looking forward to that. In the meantime I need to work my tail off to hopefully have my name in a few proposals and maybe even a paper or two so I have a bit of a bargaining chip  when the interviews (hopefully) come.

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