Monday, June 29, 2009

Random salutations

Dear blogosphere,
Yes, I changed my blog title again. Maybe this one will satisfy me for a few days.

Dear sun,
It's nice to see you again. Feel free to stick around for a few days.

Dear immortalized cells,
Why are you so unhappy? I have been gentle, I have fed you. What more do you want?

Dear primary cells,
You've totally exceeded my expectations. Keep it up.

Dear antibodies,
Would you please give me specific bands, preferably ones that make sense?

Dear PhD advisor,
Please-for the love of all that is holy-just publish my last two manuscripts. I have been gone for 8 months. No one is working on the projects anymore. I have rarely thought about your favorite protein since I left your lab. It's nothing personal, but I'm ready to be done.

Dear vendor,
Thanks for sending that reagent at last. It only took more than a month. Now my undergrad can continue with the original project, and I don't have to keep making shit up.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Who I am and why I'm here

The why first. I have decided, at last, to add my voice to the (female) scientist blogosphere. Here are a few reasons:
  1. I find I express myself more clearly and more honestly in writing than in speech (unless I've practice said speech previously).
  2. Although my husband is wonderful and generally listens patiently while I vent, he's not a scientist (yet) and thus sometimes does not fully appreciate a given situation.
  3. Throughout graduate school, I had someone else who did generally appreciate the situation that I could talk to. However, I started a postdoc in a new city 6 months ago and haven't really established that type of relationship here.
  4. My background (I think) is quite different both socially and scientifically.
I grew up in the rural South, where people rarely move more than 50 miles away. Out of a class of 200 graduating seniors (for an entire county), I would bet less than 20% pursued a Bachelor's degree. Post-baccalaureate education is almost unheard of, perhaps with the exception of law school or medical school. I obtained my B.S. in biochemistry from a large state university with a small chemistry department (that was incidentally less than a 90-min drive from my hometown). I never considered graduate school until about 6 months before I completed my B.S., but when the idea clicked, it made beautiful sense. I stayed in the South for graduate school (although my husband and I did put 500 miles between us and our families). I studied biochemistry and enzymology while in graduate school and then decided that, as a postdoc, I wanted to get into a diverse, broad, technical field of biomedical science--a decision that took us to the Northeast. So on top of the usual stresses of starting a postdoc (i.e. trying to make a good impression on your new boss, understand the lab/institution politics, get a new project off the ground, find yours way around a new city, etc.), add two more layers of complexity: learning a completely new field while trying to make progress in it and adapting to a different culture (and yes, the South and the North really are different). I should have a lot to blog about.