Friday, February 20, 2009

Grad School Advise

Thanks for the questions. I'm going to start with Amanda@Lady Scientist.

She asks, "Did you finish all the corrections for your Thesis? That's one (odd) question. What's your best tip/trick/idea for getting through grad school?"

I could answer this question with a yes and a no. In July I did mention that I was struggling with the revisions but then, in August, I said that I turned in my dissertation (actually had to mail it a few times) and it was accepted. So, of course I finished the corrections. But I would be lying if I said I made every correction suggested. I focused on the main point, which was to beef up the conclusion section and then did the quick and (what I felt) necessary revisions in the text. Most of the small detailed (time consuming) corrections I left for when I revised the chapters into manuscripts. This might have been cheating but it's my dissertation and I knew no one would look at it again, so, yeah I slacked off a little, but am still happy with the final result.

The next part of the question is more difficult to answer, but it's been something I've been thinking about recently. I don't know that I have a good trick to get through grad school but I'd like those people still in grad school to know that they need to enjoy it while they are there. Sure you are paid next to nothing, required to work long hours and everyone thinks your work is really the work of your adviser but this is still your life you are living. Life doesn't start after grad school. Ecogeofemme had some similar advise from a dissertation coach. I kept waiting for my life to begin and while I have lots of good memories from my life as a grad student I regret all the complaining and depression I felt during my last year. Here I am, in my real life, and I often long for my life as a grad student. This might partially be due to my chosen profession. I've been reflecting some about my current life verses my grad life and I miss the thrill of research, I miss the all consuming nature of the job, I miss the academic culture of the office but I also miss the hobby I had during grad school- playing rugby.

In addition to living your life my only other advise is to conmiserate, which I think if you are reading this blog you are very familar with the concept. The blog community really helped get me through my last year of grad school. It is nice to have a support group.

You will only be a grad student once, revel in the experience as it will change your life and shape who you become as a professional.

UPDATE:And if you don't like my advise, see Alice's post.

**Thanks for the suggestions. I look forward to answering the questions by ScienceGirl and Psych Post Doc soon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Title Unknown

I just saw on Amanda's blog this list and, like herself, was surprised to see myself on it. A little hint of guilt hit me, as I have not written very many substantial post since finishing my dissertation and starting my consulting job. With great guilt comes great ideas . . . . so I thought maybe the readers could post ideas in the comment list about what you'd like to hear about. Maybe a question I left unanswered in another post, maybe you have some questions about my job, and maybe, well I have no idea-which is why I'm asking for help.

For now here are a few updates on my home front.

-The day my husband started his job* I found out everyone in my company is taking a 10% pay cut. I'm happy no one in my company was laid off-yet I was under the impression that I would be getting a raise in 6-12 months. *Sigh* Looking on the bright side I am very grateful to have a job.

*My husband's job is as an environmental compliance inspector with the City we live in. It is a temp, part-time position but the full time position is now open to non-city employees. We are crossing our fingers for the full time position for him. His background is in mineral physics, having both a PhD and Post-Doc experience. He had to follow up about this job and when he talked to the hiring manager they said they saw his application and thought it was a mistake, as he is way overqualified for the job. Then during his interview the hiring manager just kept asking him if he really wanted this job.

-I've been able to work in my town these past two weeks and not commute the 1.5 hours each way to the main office. Life has been great.

-The big boss in on vacation in Chile and he keeps checking and responding to e-mails. Enjoy your vacation already!

-Husband and I have been sick. I am much less sick than him and hope to keep my sickness to a minimum.

-I had to work this week-end, despite asking for it off, and had made plans to see my family/friends that I didn't get to see over the holidays. We were suppose to have the storm of the season but it was a big disappointment. Although, much needed rain.