Sunday, April 18, 2010

4 months in

At the end of April, I'll have been with my permalab (and a grad student proper, as I see it) for 4 months. I know that's not much (I can hear you senior PhDs/postdocs snickering) but a lot has happened (not all of which I've blogged), and I thought I'd do a rundown:

 - I formed a supervisory committee, eventually managed to get them all in a room, and had my first (successful enough, despite one major and a few minor brainfarts) meeting
- Two lab members left (on good terms) and one made the decision to leave, causing a flurry of gossip and other talk
- One lab member returned from leave and several new arrivals are coming soon
- I took a class and learned a lot
- I wrote two reports and gave 4ish presentations
- I went to a meeting with some labmates and it blew my mind (post to come) and my boss wants me to attend another one in the fall
- I've listened to a bunch of seminars and journal club presentations and talked them over with labmates, and I think I'm getting better at looking at results critically. Got a long way to go though
- I've gone from knowing the names of maybe 2-3 people in the (~sub)field to knowing many of the big and not-so-big names, their affiliations, and what they've published recently. I think. Still lots to learn, though
- Our institute got a very shiny new piece of equipment that's sent several projects in the lab (including mine) into overdrive
- I've made a lot of progress in my research (I think it's enough? I wish I knew) and have plans that should give me results (even just negative ones) by the end of the summer
- I went from being hugely intimidated in my dealings with my boss and senior labmates to being more confident that I do know what I'm doing and what the expectations are. Still a little intimidated, though, although I've stopped being concerned that I've had it too easy
- I've worked harder than I ever have before, but I'm getting enough sleep, mostly eating right, and taking time off to socialize, do some new/fun things, and just relax on my own. Getting more comfortable with the fact that juggling this is always going to be a struggle and I will probably never completely banish the I-should-be-working guilt, but that it's important and I can make it work. Hopefully it will be enough.

And, most importantly, I've been pretty happy. Bring on summer!

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