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.