Ok, it's actually Saturday morning now but you know what I mean. Today was busy. I picked up our first box of produce from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. It was kind of like opening a present when I finally got to go through the box after work because we got all different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Anyways, I had to pick that up before going to school to supervise an exam. Oh and I also made scones for lab meeting before I picked up the produce box. I figured it would be nice for the people who took the trouble to read my essays if I made them something to eat. At least it couldn't hurt.
Today during lab meeting everyone gave me feedback on my NSF GRFP proposal. I had expected them to be much harsher. I clearly have a lot to improve in my essays but they gave useful criticism. Interestingly, they had a lot more to say than I thought they would about my previous research. They said I needed to be much more positive in the way I present everything that I've done, even the things that didn't work. This was a weakness in my essay I hadn't even noticed. Also, it became apparent to me that I need to completely rewrite my personal statement again. Right now it's an excellent statement of why I want to teach at the college level and do outreach, but it's a terrible statement of why I want to do the proposed research and how it will help society. It's a daunting task since I spent all of last Saturday coming up with this new version. Interestingly, they loved last year's introduction but thought this year's was terribly bland. This is why we have other people read our proposals.
Herb complimented my writing a few times during the discussion which was both flattering and encouraging. He said I write well but I need to be writing the right things (i.e. not a descriptive narrow-focus plan of research like I wrote last year). My goal for next Thursday is to have a new plan of research to review with Herb. Once I have my research plan in place, then I'll rewrite my research experience and personal statement to fit the plan. Last week I tried approaching it from the other way around. I'm meeting with Leo at Big Natural History Museum next week to talk about my proposal so I've got a lot of work to do this weekend. Time to call it a night.