Saturday, August 3, 2013

I'm still here....

and still surviving.....barely.

I've been at TT-position for just over a year now.  The tenure clock has officially started ticking and there are only two years of start-up funding left.  The lab is rocking, the kinks are ironed out, the newbies are trained and it looks like I have my first official graduate student (with another hopefully coming back after two more rotations).  I have lab peeps, I have science going on and I feel, at least sometimes, like I totally got this shit.

For awhile, though, this year was rough.  I had a rocky start and am still finding my groove, my lab managerial style, my rhythm.  I'm still trying to find it, and I am still making mistakes, but nothing that I can't recover from.  I was at a 5-day intense conference last month and realized that one of my biggest problems was that I "forgot" why I was doing this all.  It seems that for the last few months my driving force has been "get the data to get the grants out".  I was getting so bogged down in the "grant" that I forgot about the "science".  I forgot that I got into this to figure things out, to solve the puzzles, to dot he really cool science that I love so much.  This is what motivates me.  And by doing the really cool science, in theory, the grant(s) will follow.

I've grown a lot and changed a lot in the past year.  They don't teach you the day-to-day running of the lab things in graduate school.  I've made decsisions, spent a buttload of money, ordered some really cool equipment and have some really cool lab peeps working on the cool science.  Even with the unbloggable lows this year, I've done pretty well.  And it can only get better.  The mistakes I've made (which in my mind seem pretty major) are all recoverable with some hard work and ass-busting at the bench.  I'm relieved to have survived the first year, no matter if I limped along at a few points. 

So, now I say, bring it on year 2, bring it on.  

Friday, April 5, 2013

Passing on the torch....

I've been extrmely quiet, hoping that things would be easier to blog about once time has passed a bit.  They aren't, but in all hoensty this one particular thing never will.  A few weeks ago, we (big boss man, collegue and I) got back the comments about the paper we submitted.  The one where I am coresponding author. Accept with minor revisions.  I did the revisions sent them in, and word came down today that it is accepted!  But, this is the most bittersweet paper acceptance ever.  Big Boss Man passed away almost three weeks ago to the day.  I lost a mentor, a friend and probably one of the most influential men in my life.  If I learn one/tenth of what that man had forgotten, I would consider myself brilliant.  He had such a love for science, and just wanted to figure things out. I deal with grief by pretending it's not there, or cracking inappropriate jokes about it.  But today, seeing that paper with his name on as middle author and me as corresponding- well it was almost like closure, or passing on the torch.  Mr. Dr. Zeek told me that it never stops hurting, it just stops hurting so much. Right now, though, I'll just keep thinking that the old man would have been proud.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Submitted for the first time....

I'm sitting in my home "office" (really nothing more than the spare bedroom with a desk in it), listening to the  "The Wrath of Kahn"  (Mr. Dr. Zeek happens to be watching my all time absolute favorite Star trek movie this morning) and sipping the last of the cold coffee in my mug. 

I have a billion things on my to do list, least of which is preparing a lecture and finalizing some papers for the seminar course I am team-teaching in.  Even with the mile-long to-do list pressing down on my head, I am sitting back and basking the glow of submitting my first paper with the new address on it. 

While it is work I did as a post-doc, Big Boss Man graciously stepped aside and let me take lead (last, actually, as in corresponding) author on this one.  It's not the biggest deal in the world, but it is the first small step in establishing myself as an independent name in the field.  Now, if reviewer three likes it we should be all good. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

The "quiet" life of a newly minted Asst Prof....

Yes, I have been extremely quiet.  I was waiting for the "new professor smell" to wear off.  I was waiting for a solid few hours of alone time with which I could write a post.  I was waiting for the lab drama (yes, lab drama that was no fault of my own nor of my post-doc but has essentially been tossed in my lap) to end.  I was waiting for me to feel like I am not flying through this first semester by the skin of my teeth.

I'm still waiting.

But, I am not waiting for that last piece of equipment or random chemical to arrive.  In fact, my post-doc and I are rocking out in the lab and things are starting to work.  We have gone beyond the lab maintenance experiments and are now doing actual science!  Which is a good thing since I have an R01 resubmission deadline looming in the horizon (March, to be exact) and need all the preliminary data we can get our grubby little hands on.  My post-doc (who also happens to be one of my closest friends) has saved my life too many times to count in this place already- and I think my biggest fear may be letting her down.

Other than that, things have been interesting.  I am on a search comittee this semester for an open-rank position in a diffent department (yes, it is early for me to do this, but looking at the other people on the comittee I can see that I was asked to help with...erm...diversity)--it is weird being on this side of the table.  Could be that I still have deep-seeded anxiety about the entire process, but I feel a certain kinship with the applicants.

Anyway, life is good.  Even with the politics, bullshit and drama that has permeated my daily life, I can still sit at the bench, play on the cool equipment that we wanted and got and get back to the entire reason I wanted to do this in the first place-figuring out some really cool science. And this place is starting to feel like home.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Done did moved

I have been awfully quiet and promise to write some new craziness about this TT-thing...but Mr. Dr. Zeek, Kitty Zeek and I have survived the cross-country move to TT-city. While we sit on lawn chairs and live out of a suitcase for two more days, I wonder what I have gotten us into.  Things, folks, are bound to get hairy.....

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I've been awfully quiet around here lately.  Things have been a whirlwind.  Looks like we have a house, a moving date, an OK on the start-up funds and an official start date and semi-organized sample boxes to FedEx ahead of me.  Things. Are. Good. 

Except, of course for trying to leave with my sanity intact.  There are major unblogable things going on right now, but let us say that I have very little patience and completely sick of doing the impossible for the ungrateful.  At least big boss man has been completely and totally cool.

The shitstorm is only going to get greater in the next two months before we pack up and leave.  Stay tuned for more....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

And now the fun begins-

TT- position at the med school I fell in love with and wanted to work at was offered.

TT- position has now been accepted.

Looks like I'll be an Asst. Prof come fall (or the middle of summer which is when Mr. Dr. Zeek and I will trek half-way across country to start up all over again.  He's as excited as I am....).

I am scared shitless, reveling in the thought that we "have a home" to go to come this summer and panicking about all that I should be doing right now.  But for a moment, I will sit back,drink my coffee and realize this is why I have worked my ass off for for the past too many years to count.