OK, so a lot has been going on lately, which is why this has been so woefully un-updated in recent weeks. After my crazy whirlwind summer, including all health crises that have been mostly resolved, I though moving into the fall would slow things down a bit – ha! (though, in other news, did I mention that I splashed a half-liter of boiling water all down my front-side a couple weeks ago in lab? cause I did – apparently I’m becoming accident-prone in my old age – so maybe I can’t blame my knee injury on Peter and the dancing completely )
However, things are moving forward finally – and, in the biggest news of the past few months, my first first-author paper was accepted last week into a very well-respected peer-reviewed science journal, and it will be published hopefully around the end of the year!!!! The feeling of relief was almost like a physical sensation of something being lifted off my shoulders, especially given how long this thing has felt to be dragging on and on. I’ve already started working on what will hopefully be formed into the basis for my next paper, which needs to be a lot more self-directed, so you could pray about that if you’d like – that I will take the initiative to try things, to suggest things before asking for advice, to brainstorm hypotheses before talking with my boss. That’s kinda the main thrust of a PhD program (becoming an independent researcher), but it’s a kinda slow lesson for me to be learning apparently.
And I’m having to start thinking about what’s really going to happen when I finish my thesis, cause when people ask when I’ll finish, and I say ‘hopefully sometime next year’, well, that’s coming up really fast! And while I feel like I’m ready to be finished with school, I also don’t know that I really feel ready to face the ‘real world’ (I know, I know, suck it up). I’m trying to figure out what my options are for getting some teaching experience while still in school (prayer for that would also be appreciated), or if I need to just wait til I graduate and then stick around and teach for a semester or two before I apply for a full-time teaching position somewhere. And the somewhere is kind of a sticking point as well – I’ve thought about going back to the mountains, or staying around the triad, or maybe heading over towards the triangle (I just spent several days there over the past few weeks, and other than the traffic, it’s really quite nice over there). I don’t know… but I’m going to have to be making some of those decisions soon, and it’s a bit overwhelming…
So there – that’s what’s swimming around in my head right now. We’re working through some really good stuff on prayer in Bible study, maybe I’ll sort through some of that here next time.
So the trip to Florida for my first big national meeting was a success!
The poster session went really well – everyone was really nice and receptive to the ideas, and most everyone said something like ‘well done’ or ‘good job’ after I’d walked them through the data – it felt really comfortable, which is a first for me, I’m usually really awkward talking about my work, esp with people who know so much more than I do about the field… but it was good, and generated some good discussion/ideas to think about.
And I got to meet some great people – my boss’s old boss (like my ‘grandfather’ in the science world ), several of his old students (which was great, cause we talk about them all the time and I’d never met them – and they were awesome!), other famous people in the world of my research… so a good trip altogether… I’m still glad it’s over, as it was kinda stressful and exhausting (that’s a lot of lectures to attend all day starting at 8am) – but it was definitely worth it, and I’m kinda excited about spending some time this summer looking at post-docs and other opportunities for post-PhD work!
So in a span of about a week, we’ll be submitting my first ‘first-author’ paper and I’ll be presenting a poster at my first national conference in Orlando I’m a little overwhelmed by how fast things are moving, after so much slow-moving progress for the last couple weeks/months – I’ve bee perusing the program of posters/presentations for the conference and it’s quite mind-blowing the diversity of research interests represented by the hundreds of participants who will be there. These meetings are generally considered to be a great place to make contacts for future employment, which is also a bit daunting – I’m not exactly sure what the next couple years hold for me career-wise, whether I’m going to persue a traditional post-doctoral fellowship or consider a more ‘alternative’ teaching post-doc, which would allow me to gain more teaching experience while completing a couple years of research as well. Anyway, that just complicates things as far as what I’m looking for in a ‘next step’ – but this conference will hopefully be a great way to see what kind of exciting research is going on elsewhere in the country, at other great schools where I could potentially end up. Plus I just found out that the wonderful lady who let us use her beach house (who is working on her masters in biology at UNCC) will be there presenting a poster as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to get together and compare notes while we’re there
Once the paper is officially submitted and then finally accepted, I’ll let you know – in fact, there will be much joyful celebration and maybe even a couple foofy girly drinks to be had! In the meantime, I’m going to get back to packing for the conference (hard to decide what to wear to meet potential future employers/colleagues)…
I’ve been feeling very domestic lately – who knows why… I was reading Martha Stewart Living while working out in the fitness center this week (yes, I know, but they didn’t have anything else that I hadn’t already read earlier), and they had ‘ligher’ version of comfort foods as a special section, and I got a major hankering for macaroni and cheese – so I made the version from the magazine this night, and it was awesome, if I do say so myself! I can’t recall ever having made macaroni and cheese before – and it made tons, so I’ve had homemade lunch and some dinners for the whole week! And now tonight, I made a chocolate cake from scratch, with homemade chocolate frosting, for a housewarming party tomorrow – and though it’s a bit overcooked (hate my oven ), I think it’ll still be tasty enough – I also can’t remember the last time I made a cake from scratch – that’s kinda sad from someone who used to love to cook and bake… good news is, it wasn’t really all that much harder to make this one than it was to make the last cake I made from a mix, so maybe it’ll happen more often
In other news, the paper is almost ready – we finally got the updated version from our collaborators, and have made all the changes/additions we need to (I think) – it was a long day Friday with Dan coming to me every few minutes with something else that needed to be added, or that I’d forgotten about – and I’m soooooooo glad that this headaches is almost over! And, when I talked to Dan earlier, he asked about how I felt about authorship of the paper, which had been something I’ve been worrying about – and when I said that I felt like, given the representation of the data in the paper, that even though it pains me, Laurie (grad student up north) should be first author – but then he said, given how much of our work was necessary to get the rest of the figures (ie, we made the mutants and strains used throughout the paper), that we had more work, that the figures weren’t really representative of the amount of work – so I sai, well, ideally, if we could both be listed as co-authors (noted as ‘these authors contributed equally to this work’), that would be best – and he agreed (and said it’s what he wanted to suggest)! Yay! So I feel a lot better about it now, since most of my usable data is going into this paper – and I was worried I wouldn’t get enough credit out of it… so yay!