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.


December 2012
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For whatever reason I’ve found myself thinking about my time in grad school. It could be that early next year marks the 10th anniversary of the email I got saying that Pretty Southern U wanted to fly me for an interview. Or that a new crop of students and postdocs are coming. Or simply remembering simpler times. Below are some of my favourite memories:

  • I remember being so excited about the prospect of flying to PSU for the interview. I got the news right after doing my undergrad seminar, in which I scored a wonderful 95. I remember the prof turning to face me after I finished my talk and pointing to his evaluation that had a shiny, lovely 95. Then adding that he thought I was ready for grad school.
  • The very first meal I consumed after moving to PSU in August of 2003. 2 slices of plain pizza and a cup of fruit punch.
  • When I bought my car and was scared to death to drive around town. I remember the new car smell, and the very first CD I purchased. Michael Bublé. Little did I know that I would move to his native Canada six years later.
  • Every apartment I lived in. I remember them fondly. The smell of the elevator on apt #1. The smell of the balcony closet on #2. The ugly cabinets of #3, which was also the first apartment honey and I ever lived together 😀 The tons of closet space of apt #4.
  • The time I went to see Michael Bublé in concert. And I had no bra (I hope he liked my boobs, hahahaha).
  • The first time honey visited grad school city.
  • And how he became a father to our kitty daughter.
  • Adopting kitty.
  • Voting twice in grad school city.
  • Dining with a bunch of Nobel Laureates in a very casual setting.
  • Failing the qual.
  • Passing the qual.
  • Honey nurturing and encouraging me through it all.
  • The time I landed in the ER because I was so sick with a nasty flu.
  • The time I sang at a totally new church.
  • The friends I made, and our cramming times during the first year.
  • Being scared to death at the prospect of my first (and then my last) departmental presentations.

So many good memories, people, and times.

What are your favourite memories from grad school?



  1. Stella says:

    Great question! Favorite memories, in no order, will be standing by USS Constellation in the Baltimore Inner Harbor when I got the call from the Chair telling me I passed the qual; feeling “the force” be with me during my defense; driving across the country and a trip to the South Pacific in the midst of it all; leaving grad school city and a bad relationship for a wonderful postdoc and family.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thanks Stella! Those are amazing experiences. How awesome that the Chair calls to deliver the good news. I especially love the last one … one of the best things that happened during my PhD was putting an end to a toxic relationship and reconnecting with my honey. Good for you!!

  2. Dylan says:

    Can’t wait until i get to reminisce about getting my first kitty.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Kitties are awesome and funny, and furry and do all sorts of cute little things. Oh, and they also poop. A lot. And their pee stinks. But oh do they bring joy! Hopefully you can adopt one soon enough! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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