Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Realization of the day

I've been in grad school a long time. Several times in the past few days I've seen the year 2007 on something and thought "that was a long time ago"... and that's when I started grad school.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First to finish

The first person from my cohort is finishing up this spring. It's kind of ironic, since our second year we had a conversation that started something like this:

Me: So, how was your summer?
Him: Oh, it was good. I didn't really do any work, but I got high a lot.

Yep, he's finishing first. Self-declared pot-smoking slacker guy. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he was downplaying the amount he actually worked that summer (i.e. that he worked more than not at all), but he also hadn't really found his niche yet that summer. Part of the reason he was able to finish so quickly was because his work was all theory (=math) so he didn't have any of the headaches and setback associated with collecting data (especially field work). If you're very smart (which he undoubtedly is) and focused, you can finish quickly.

And just to put the icing on the cake, he's managed to find one of the most lucrative niches possible within our field. I'd guess he'll be moving on to a place with a nice paycheck.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Today has been a fantastic day. I am back at Small Friendly College to give a seminar. This comes at the end of a long string of deadlines in February. The way I've described it is that for the past two weeks I've been working uncomfortably close to the number of hours I work in the field, but without someone to cook and clean for me.

When I offered to give this talk, I imagined it as a great opportunity to talk about Best Project and teach some of the analyses in my presentation so that I'd come out with a more thorough understanding in the process. I'd imagined myself with slides done days in advance, fine-tuning the best way to explain things. So such thing.

Instead, I was still writing my talk on the way here, last night, and this morning. I only practiced the whole thing once. I was very, very nervous as I made the last few changes to my slides 20 minutes before the presentation.

But once I was on, I was on. I got an incredibly complimentary introduction from one of my former professors. He highlighted many of my accomplishments, my tenacity in getting the NSF GRF, and resourcefulness in applying for other funding. He is so proud of me, and it showed. And after that great introduction, I went on to give a fantastic presentation. I made people laugh, I talked about 3 different projects, and I ended with enough time for questions. I could hardly have had a friendlier audience, but my gosh it felt great.

I met with some current students, talked to some newly hired professors, had dinner with some senior professors, and enjoyed walking around campus. Tonight I drank wine and talked with my hosts (a faculty couple) and heard their perspectives on what's going on on campus and in the department. What a great place. I said it before (here, here, here, and here), but I'll say it again- I. Love. SFC.