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.