Tuesday, May 1, 2012


This blog isn't about being in graduate school anymore because, as of December 11, 2011, I have a Ph.D. But don't worry your pretty little head; my imposter syndrome is still going strong! It turns out that no one knows you have a Ph.D. unless you announce it, which I did not realize until I had one. Boo. More forms should have a "salutation" field. Validation, people.

I'm still at the university where I did my Ph.D. work, now a "Research Associate IV". THAT'S A FOUR. And it's not like golf; higher numbers are better. I'm an associate to research, technically, but not literally. I'm not in a lab anymore. I'm not designing experiments. I'm not reading papers AT ALL. And I love it. I am still trying to figure out what my projects are, maintain my own schedule, finish papers from grad school and successfully avoid panic attacks, and other things I didn't really like about grad school. However, I realize that many people in 9-to-5 grind jobs wish they could have more autonomy so I should quit being such a whiner.

The struggle to be ambitious and impressive in the face of my self-doubt and laziness continues. I want to DO things, GREAT things that amaze everyone and show initiative and make a name for myself. Things that will get talked about to colleagues and get me handed up the ladder until I have an awesome business card title, like "Executive Innovator" or "President of Creativity". Instead, I sit at my desk, making lists of ideas with reasons why I shouldn't bother. Someone else is probably doing this. I don't want to annoy so-and-so with questions. My friend is already doing it better. No one will notice. Someone will notice and think it's stupid. Everyone will notice, and I'll realize it was stupid.

So I plug away at the few projects I've accrued in the last two and a half months, always feeling like I should be doing more, thinking more, trying more. But deep down, I know - I'm waiting for a life-altering, mythological event that inspires me, when I know that I've BEEN inspired and I've argued it away.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's a boy.

We found out yesterday.

I'm just going to write as if you already know that I'm almost half-way done gestating my second child and that I'm trying to defend in October so that I can give birth in November so that I can graduate in December so that I can start my next life in January...

He just kicked me. Well! 

When I got the internship with SEA (see previous post), I was still editing for AJE and TA-ing and researching and writing and, you know, trying to be part of a family, so blogging got kicked off the priority list. And eventually editing had to go, too. Now my internship is over, and I'm still not editing in lieu of trying to get my dissertation chapters published. But I still didn't return to my blog because all I could think of was BABIES! And... BABIES! And who wants to hear about another pregnant woman? It's all gas and crying at commercials and back pain, right?

Until I realized that that's a huge part of why I started writing here! I wanted to write about the grad student/mom combo, and what better time to catalog my adventures than when I'm doubling my mom load and trying to finish? So I'm about to get all BABY up in here. Like BABIES are going out of style, which, of course, they aren't, they're quite stylish these days, so here we go.

It's a boy. I was sitting here trying to grade exams when I considered that I'm already trying to figure out how to raise a woman; now I have to figure out a man, too? I'm supposed to have distilled out the qualities of both sexes that are most important and figured out how to instill them upon new people, lest I add two more cretins to the world? I mean, thank God for my husband, seeing as how I don't even understand how that whole "shaking off" thing works, but I'm pretty sure we're not going to come up with an infallible Perfect Man List in the next 5 months, one that we can confidently proceed with as a template for our son.

I truly thought that by the time I had kids, I'd have it all figured out. It would be just like The Cosby Show. I'd always know the right answer - scratch that, I'd always know exactly how I felt about the issue at hand. And I would explain it in exactly the right amount of words, with just the right amount of humor injected so that they took me seriously but didn't resent me. Newsflash! Your parents, and all parents, we're making it up as we go. I just assume that I'm going to screw up my kids; I'm just trying to minimize the damage.

In addition to the terror of trying to raise wonderful human beings, this baby is already crazy active. The ultrasound tech was quick on the draw with the anatomical measurements, thankfully, as he looked like he had Restless Fetus Syndrome, so she had to chase him all over my uterus. Considering that our current child will sometimes walk into a room reading a book, forget that she's walking, and just stand there reading for a good ten minutes, I'd say we're in for a shock. As a baby, she hit all of the gross motor milestones quite late; even after she was mobile, she never got into much. My husband as a baby, on the other hand, was walking at some ridiculous age, like six months or something, and jumping off the neighbor's roof shortly thereafter. Imagine the possibilities. God help us.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bits and Bobs, p.s. I've missed you

I decided a few months ago that, because I had two manuscripts to complete as quickly as possible, if I was writing, it better be one of those manuscripts. And my blog plummeted on the priority list. However, dear ones, I failed to appreciate the outlet this blog is for me, both creative and constructive. So here I am again, without schedule or intent, just here because it feels good to be here. (And the manuscripts are almost done, so I don't feel too guilty.)

I'm finishing up an application to the Scientists and Engineers for America virtual internship in policy. It's due tomorrow, and I have no answer for the question that reads thusly:

4. This internship requires an ability to speak eloquently and impartially about controversial science, engineering and health issues during weekly conference calls. Please describe a previous situation where you accomplished this (subjects can be diverse, or non-science policy). 

Why can I not think of an example? I'm sure I have a good example, right? I'm totally eloquent! I've got eloquence coming out of my bottom! Anyway, I'm stuck. And I'm pretty sure I've not interpreted at least one of the other questions on the application correctly... and all of the biographies of previous interns talk about high political aspirations, of which I have none. I just want to talk to lots of scientists about all their crazy data, turn it into normal human language, and convey it to the political-type people so they can push for change from a more educated place than they were before. Yep. So if you need one of those... I'm just saying, I'm right here.

My F1 was home with an earache yesterday so I spent a little time editing, a little time playing blanket fort, and a little time reading whatever I wanted online, which has become a guilty pleasure of mine. Whatever I want? FOR 20 MINUTES? Why yes, gofugyourself.com, don't mind if I do. Anyway, I was reading about Neil Gaiman (really, I read whatever I want, it's great) and started reading his blog. And then I decided that I wanted to become a writer and marry him. When he writes about writing, it makes me want to write. It makes me think I have scintillating metaphors and whimsical prose somewhere in my heart, if only I would sit down and let it out. Well. You're reading my blog. My metaphors are readable, at best, and my prose is as whimsical as an extension cord. But he makes me BELIEVE. He makes me do SOMETHING, even if I don't do it well. And I appreciate that. Thanks, Neil Gaiman. Let's hang out together.

Sunday, December 26, 2010



Merry Christmas.

(It's not my secret, FWIW)