27 and a PhD

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New habits (in the making)

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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Based on my NY resolutions, and how much I (sometimes) suck at keeping them, I’m trying to work on making sure I meet (or exceed) them. I’m trying to work on forming new habits, things that help keep my mind in order, my wallet and spending in check and will contribute in the long run to make my life happier and simpler.

My mom bought me a planner for Christmas. It has a motif I like and it has lots of space to write stuff. I love making lists and I decided to try, for the very first time in a long time, to fill that planner and keep it right next to my phone. I remembered that that’s what my PhD mentor did. She had her weekly planner next to her phone so that when she had to schedule a conference call or seminar or let us know when NOT to book a committee meeting, she didn’t keep us waiting. I’m also actively using Notes and Reminders on my iPhone (what a time saver!) and to keep my wedding inspiration in one place (or two) I decided to give Evernote a try, along with Pinterest (though I keep my account with just private boards to share with honey). These apps and measures are sure to help me stay sane in a year that’s looking nuts, between our wedding (civil ceremony, making sure we have a pre-nup to separate my debts from honey’s), the move, starting a new job and making sure that when I leave my current one things are in order, to paying the gazillion deposits for the wedding and the move.

And since one of my resolutions is to get active and eat better to hopefully lose the bulge, I hope to incorporate healthy things into my diet, avoid eating out for dinner and finally eat my fruits and veggies. I’m trying to find out if there is an app or two that would help. And I’ve been tempted to re-join WeightWatchers, which helped me lose almost 20 pounds a few years ago … but I’m worried that I’ll forget to log in and add my meals and my points … plus at times it felt a bit restrictive. Just like 4-5 years ago when I joined I did it while seeing a promo to join for free, that promo is running once again … but, I’m struggling with making the decision and sticking to it.

It looks like I’m also writing once a week, like I did last year and how I tried to do it in 2011. I’m afraid the blog is turning into a sort of diary, instead of just talking about my life in academia (or the fringes). But I’ve said before, (thankfully) my job is not nearly as stressful as the postdoc (or perhaps it is that I simply like doing what I do), so there’s not much to tell job-wise. I don’t want the blog to turn into a Save the Date thing, but inevitably I will gravitate to share wedding stuff here, just as I do on Twitter. The move will be stressful, that much I know. And I’m sure that while I get my footing at new job university once again, I’ll share my adventures and missteps. I guess is the natural progression of a staff scientist, you’re no longer a grad student, nor a postdoc.

Once I have some idea of how much my take home pay will be, I’ll try to start a regular schedule of saving some pennies, for when I want to go home, but especially for the wedding. I will try to save, damn it!

What apps or other resources do you use to help stay active and on track?

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6 Comments

  1. Sam W says:

    There’s a website I use for weight loss myfittnespal.com but it does require logging everything. It has a database of calories for just about every food (including restaurants) as well as exercises so if you log exercises your calories available increase. It’s completely free and has phone apps for all platforms so might be worth checking out.

  2. Kudos to you taking charge of your food! I’m doing the same and when I first started, it was really hard to do.. The first 3 days were torture. I’m really lazy so I can’t do the whole “logging” all my food but what I started doing is having a range of calories that I aim for everyday (mine is 1200-1500 calories/day). I eat every 3-4 hours but I keep to small portions. I’ll have breakfast, and then a small lunch, an orange/apple, and then dinner. When I eat out, I only eat half of the dish. I don’t drink soda but my partner switched to diet and he’s losing weight just from that (since he likes it with all his meals). I try to think about it in terms of my “bank account”.. if I overeat on one of those meals, I just eat less for the next meal.

    It was a huge change from thinking “this is how much I want to eat” versus “this is how much I need to eat.” I also am a fast eater, so if I’m still hungry after my meal and there’s extra food, I wait 20 mins (since the body takes awhile to realize that it has food in it) before I decide to eat it or not. Most of the time, I’m already full after 20 mins. I let myself have a cookie here and there and I eat the same stuff as I did before, its just that its smaller portions.

    Good luck on your weight-loss goals!!

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thank you, thank you!!! This is awesome. I’m intrigued by the paleo diet, but at the same time I’m thinking that I don’t eat a whole lot of beef, and I don’t cook chicken at home, so I don’t know if I could do it. Who knows. I hope to report *some* type of progress in the coming months.

  3. Moncochon says:

    Hey buddy!
    I use mynetdiary for daily calories intake, iphone calendar for appointments and deadlines. And I think u might find p tracker useful- for tracking menstration cycle/fertile period. All the apps r foc.

    Hope it helps.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Thank you!! This is super, and also the part about keeping track of my period. I always forget when I last had it, and though it comes every month, I never know, hehe.

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