Tuesday, November 20, 2007

classes, questions, and CVs

I found it nearly impossible to keep my eyes open today in the required graduate class. I really was trying too, because next week I have to lead a discussion on papers in this professor's area of research. I pinched my hands and arms to no avail... I just gave myself little pink pinch marks and still looked like I was falling asleep. I felt like this yesterday too but I didn't have class. I wonder if it's my breakfast. Now that it's getting colder outside I switched from yogurt to oatmeal for breakfast. Maybe oatmeal doesn't have enough protein or fat to keep me going until lunch?

Good news from today: I got feedback on my review paper and it was pretty good. Most of the weaknesses I need to address were things I was already aware of. It shouldn't be as agonizing for me to revise it as it was for me to write it in the first place.

Less good news from today: I thought December was going to be primarily consumed by my two grant applications, but Chip reminded us in Population Ecology today that we have a take-home final exam equivalent to 10 normal homework assignments. Yikes! Slightly better news: We can work together like we do on homework. Still, my older and wiser office mate (who I haven't mentioned because she has kids and works mostly from home so I basically have a private office) took Pop Ecol and said the exam was killer. It will include things we haven't covered that require several desert-rodent-community-matrix-sized leaps from what we already know. I'm still behind on homework in the class so I'm going to attempt to catch up over Thanksgiving (I'll at least try them all so I will know what I don't know).

While working on my curriculum vitae this afternoon I was having trouble deciding how to fit in some slightly unconventional "professional experiences" that I think merit inclusion in my new, more standardized format. I Googled "ecology curriculum vitae" to look at other people's real CVs and get ideas, but they just had the usual stuff on them. I thought maybe I was looking at people who were too old (=well established in their careers) and had long since dropped the "summer nature daycamp leader" from their CV, so I tried Googling "ecology curriculum vitae 'graduate student' " hoping to get some younger folks. Well, the CV of one of my best friends turned up in that search, and she has some pretty unusual stuff on there, but I wanted a larger sample size. Suddenly it came to me- I Googled "ecology curriculum vitae 'small friendly college' ." Bingo. Lots of people who graduated years before of me but still had "specimen preparation for mammalogy collection" on their CV, as well as their undergraduate TA experience (I wasn't sure if I should include this). I'm still not entirely sure how to present my foreign study experience. I don't really see that on many CVs.

I had a short meeting with Herb today. I have SO many questions about starting research. For example [Herb's answer]:

How long should I plan to be at African Field Site this summer? [um... what's the summer course schedule? My students usually do fieldwork or return to their home countries.]

How am I going to get funds for a short trip that is definitely preliminary work? [Flesh out your GRF proposal with a caveat that your project is subject to modifications in the field to conform with reality. You should be able to get your plane ticket covered by a travel grant from UBC.]

Should I be a TA this summer if I don't get the NSF GRF? [I don't think you have any other options if you want to continue to pay rent.]

If African Field Site is a total bust for whatever reason (eg. permits, politics, parasites...), can I switch my project to work at your Neotropical Field Site next year? [Yeah, we can work in a project for you in as long as it's after this summer because hopefully we'll have more money then.]

Tomorrow I'm meeting with Leo to discuss these questions further. Maybe he'll offer to fly me to African Field Site with Earthwatch funds to help with one of his expeditions... I'll keep dreaming.

Sorry this post has been long and rambling. The only thing that ties these things together is that they were part of my life today.

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