27 and a PhD

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2015

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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Phew. Boy am I glad 2014 is gone, gone, gone. Last year was tough. First, hubby was recovering from his severe episode of depression. We were both walking on eggshells for a bit, waiting for the other shoe to drop, for his condition to worsen. For weeks he had no appetite, he was sad, had no inspiration. Luckily he got to be treated by a great psychiatrist and his therapy is going great. We both like him, and when his med med was changed and adjusted, hon started looking and feeling like himself. All in time for our second wedding ceremony, this time with family included. We’d gotten married in NYC (essentially eloped) but we wanted our families to celebrate with us, so we planned and planned and had our second wedding ceremony. It was awesome. We laughed a lot, ate, danced and even got to go on a very short honeymoon. It was a much needed break.

Then in the summer, particularly at the end of July, I became aware of just how much of an asshole a boss can be. That was the final straw that made me realize what a horrible decision I made when I left my previous job and took this one. While I am thankful for the experience to help run a lab and train students, it’s clear I’m not made for this, long term. Or at least with the current power structure I’m in. I applied for jobs, got a couple of calls, but nothing materialized. I became despondent, even a bit depressed. I talked to one of my previous bosses and with his guidance decided to try to isolate myself as much as possible from the asshole boss and concentrate on training his students while looking for a job. Nothing has panned out. With my current experience I’m trying to be very, VERY selective in terms of where to apply and for what. I don’t want to be in a staff position in academia, and sadly, those are where most of the openings I’m seeing. Ugh. But I’m trying.

Towards the end of the year, honey got word that he’s going to start working as an adjunct soon. It’s a bit of a commute, but it’s a couple of times a week, broadly speaking in the same discipline he studied and it pays. Not a crazy amount, but enough to cover food and some utilities. I’m so excited for him. He’s also applying for FT jobs, but they are even more scarce than mine, so we’ll see.

Finally, we have to move. Our lease at the current place is up and rent went up by a fucktillion, so we have to pack our bags and move. But this is proving to be a bitch. Rent has gone up in our neighbourhood. By a LOT. And for now, I’m covering most of the costs of living. Even while earning a bit over 60K, with my debt (I’m slooowly climbing out of that hole but still have until 2017 to pay it all off), and honey’s lack of FT employment, it’s difficult to fork over 1K for a 2BR apartment. Yes, I know, that’s cheap compared to lots of places. But it’s not for us, in our current situation. We’ll see, I’m making calls to a couple of places that appear to be affordable, but apartment complexes in this city suck immensely.

My hopes for 2015 are to: blog more, apply to a couple more jobs and perhaps land a different gig, appear in a couple of publications (last year was very dry, except for a decent profile paper that was published from my previous job), and have honey land something more permanent. We’ll see how it all pans out.

Hope 2015 is kind to you!

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1 Comment

  1. Dr Radish says:

    Hang in there! You are the litmus paper to PhD life in the U.S.. Please don’t give up!!! I am struggling too!! I hope things will get better in 2015!

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