Why am I agreeing to grad school again?

My main motive for going to grad school is to ultimately end up as an academic. I love doing research and thinking about science. Despite my love for research and science, I’ve decided that I am not cut out to be an instructor… I’m too easily annoyed and am too harsh on people when I do get annoyed.

I’ve given some consideration now to not going to grad school. I’d say I’m in with enough of the right people to be gainfully employed without grad school… in fact, grad school would be a step in the wrong direction monetarily for me.

Before I embark on what could be 5 years of hell, I’ve decided I need to better think out why I want to go to grad school in chemistry. Aside from the obvious fact that you need a PhD in order to be a professor or make decent money in industry as a chemist, there has to be something more that drives you to wake up in the morning to go to lab and fail multiple times before you do something right (whether it be on purpose or by chance).

I think those who like research are people who are stupid enough to do something multiple times (with some change) when the idea has already failed them. I’m one of those stupid types. If something doesn’t work, it will mull in my head night and day and I will think of nothing else until I can go back into lab and figure out what is going on. They wouldn’t call it REsearch if you got it right the first time. The high I get after figuring out whatever my mind is on is like no other and that drives me to pursue a PhD.

Sure, I’ve had dreams of touring the world on ice skates and opening up a yarn shop, but those just seem like trivial pursuits.  I feel like I have the potential to be something great, and to settle for something menial would be to deprive the world of something of slight substance… (me as a chemist)

Reasons I don’t want to go to grad school:

1) Social life… I guess I can forget social norms, because I probably won’t need to use them. As a young kid, I was very independent and liked having my alone time. As I’ve grown, I realize the importance friends and family have on my life and the idea of not having a tight group of friends to do stuff with scares me.

2) Teaching: I hate it (see paragraph 1)

3) Lack of other hobbies: Ice skating, training, running, knitting… no more. 🙁

4) Sausage fest: I guess times are changing, but I still believe that at least in the physical sciences, the number of guys in the programmes outweigh the number of women. You’d think a single girl like myself would like the idea of this, but no. There’s a reason they say,
“The Odds are Good, but the Goods are Odd”

5) Surroundings: hello fluorescent lighting, teratogens, lab coats, and sub-freezing labs. There’s no point in putting make up on because the fluorescent lighting will wash my face out anyway. Screw trying to have kids… they will end up deformed. Why bother shopping, that hole-y t-shirt from 8th grade will do… no one will see it under my lab coat. Oh wait! T-shirt? Oh no, you’ll want a parka over that. Cute shoes… forget it.

Clearly, I need to go into sales.

wee test courtesy of prernalal.com

So much to say

So much has happened since my last post it’s not even funny. I guess I’ll begin with things in reverse chronological order since it will help me chill out.

1) I just found out I got into yet another grad school. I’m pretty sure I won’t go there, but I’m going for a visit on April 10th… I’ll let you know how that pans out.

2) I ended up taking on another tutoring gig yesterday for a high school AP kid. Despite my negative experience tutoring before, this guy is a pleasure to teach! He actually WANTS to learn chemistry… he just happens to have a teacher that isn’t with it. I think he liked my tutoring style and his mom even recommended me to one of her friends who’s son is also struggling in H.S. chem. So I’m tutoring both of them (at separate times) tonight.

3) This morning I took the ACE exam. I am now certified through ACE to be a personal trainer. woo. Now I can get paid more. exciting.

4) I ended up subleasing my apartment to a guy who responded to my ad on Craigslist.
I am officially free of this place.

5) Yesterday I ended up fulfilling one of my requirements on my queue of things to do before I leave Austin. Andy and I went out for lunch at Taverna… a brilliant Italian restaurant in the heart of the warehouse district.

They have THE BEST pear stuffed gnocchi I’ve tasted. Actually, they have the best gnocchi period.

I guess that’s the bulk of what’s been happening recently… I think I’ll take a walk in this muck weather and calm down a bit.

-P

My HMO doesn’t cover chill pills.

That’s right. I’m going to have to sell a kidney at the current rate I’m stressing.

This week is not looking fun… studying for an ACE exam that I’m to take on Thursday, coupled with trying to show/sell my apartment to potential sub-leasers, along with planning the European backpacking trip of my dreams, along with added lab times for my students independent projects, training clients, and making time to do my own workouts at the gym is getting to me… and it’s only Monday!

It isn’t like any of this is particularly difficult or mentally challenging, it is just staying on top of things and not getting distracted or refraining from feelings of anxiety that are most difficult. If I can make it through till Thursday at 10 pm, I will call this week an accomplishment! I probably won’t post until Thursday afternoon anyway because I have a crap-ton of studying I need to do before then.

speaking of that devil… I should probably go do that now…

Spring is in the air!

Spring break 2009 has been wonderful! Not only did I catch up with my friends and family, but I also got a lot of knitting done! My dad ended up taking off work on a Saturday and my folks and I went to the Olive Garden. Here’s a happy photo of us!

My parents house in Houston is where I call “home”. I’m fortunate enough to live only a 2.5 hour drive away from them and visit when I can. Moving to grad school will likely not allow for such indulgences, so I’ll miss this house and all the fond memories I’ve made in it since 1991.

Another thing I’m most sad about is that the Seales are officially moving out of Houston in 2 days to Zavalla, Texas… a.k.a “the boonies”. The Seale family has been my second family that I’ve come to love as my own. I used to spend as much time at the Seales as at my own home and Lisa (Mrs.Seale) has taken on the role of being my second mother. I’m sad to say these goodbyes and I hope that some hello-es start coming my way. I’m not used to all of this change and quite frankly I’m overwhelmed by all of this. On my last evening in Houston, the ladies of my family and the Seales went out to eat and reminisced about the past.

Today I ended up driving back up to Austin and was so in love with the bluebonnets, I had to take photos!

The dog in the photo was a friendly stray dog

Now to show my apartment to potential subleasers and attempt to cut red tape…I hate leases and apartment drama.

🙁

Whew.

Today was Explore UT… again, another last for me this year. I’ve always loved helping out and volunteering at Explore UT, but this year was nice because I got to actually roam around and see all that is up at UT instead of being behind a booth and doing whatever. I had a great time and ate tons of liquid nitrogen ice cream! Yum!

On another note, I found out I got into Purdue’s grad programme… they are ranked #1 in A-chem. After perusing the internets, I don’t know if I really want to go there so much. I’m still going to check it out. We’ll see. It looks like I’m pwning the state of Indiana now though. 😉
I’ve been doing some serious web-stalking of this guy. I really really REALLY want to work for him (this is before I’ve met him) and hopefully he’s as nice in person as his research is on paper!

Not too much else is up around here. I finally got my new Beehouse teapot in the mail (I stole it on ebay for $3) and it is just waiting for me to wash and use it!

I’ve also gotten the DMB song ‘Crush’ in my head so if I suddenly burst into song, don’t mind me… if you can’t tell what I’m singing, this song is it.

-P

Weekend recap

Yesterday I ended up going to the Zilker park 81st annual kite festival. I ended up having a great time, I built a kite, and even won a hula hoop contest! I ended up parking the car at Whole Foods and then just walked down to the park and hung out watching the kites getting tangled up and the dogs chasing the kites and all. It was a lot of fun and I’m sad to say it will probably be my last kite festival here in Austin. Below are a few photos from yesterday, but you can see more here.


After that, I ended up going to watch the movie He’s Just Not that Into You. It was a good movie for laughs and I had a fun time watching it at the Alamo Drafthouse.

I guess that is all for now, hopefully the days in March stay as pretty as they have been these past couple of days!

Feeling all kinds of sore

Yesterday went to a Tex-Fit conference up in Arlington, Texas at UT-Arlington. About 25 of the UTRecsports staff went and we all had so much fun! I ended up giving a talk and working out for a solid 4 hours doing work on the CorePole, kettlebells, spinning, and the BOSU. Lots of fun and everything was wonderful.

On the way to Arlington, I ended up talking to Mark about grad school. (Mark is pursuing a PhD in aerospace engineering and he’s from Indiana, PA). He ended up going to Notre Dame for his undergrad work and he had a lot of nice things to say about Bloomington and he reassured me that things would be fine for me if I decided to go there. I think after the poster session a couple of days ago, I kind of flipped out about everything, but after speaking with Mark about grad school and life in the midwest, I feel better about it all.

-P

I’m like an island.

I think I may have just experienced the most depressing evening of my life. I ended up going to the UT chem dept. poster session for prospective graduate students. I mainly came to help support the Shear group and mingle with people (as opposed to just grading or knitting). What I thought would be just another ho hum evening in Welch ended up being this eye opening experience.

The whole of my life, I’ve taken great pride in being independent. I’ve never had a fear of living someplace else, or traveling, or anything really. Mainly, I just do as I please and end up wherever I end up. Fortunately, this has left me happy and geographically close to those I love and care about. At the poster session, I met students from other schools who were considering attending UT for graduate school. In all of this, I realized that I wouldn’t be here anymore… they’d be taking my desk (either it be in the Shear group, or in a classroom). It is odd to see how the whole of UT is just moving on without me as if I am nothing to it. I met students who were coming from nowheresville USA, to Austin, Texas.

Now, I’m thinking of how I will go from Austin, Texas to Bloomington, Indiana or some unknown place in the middle of nowhere. No friends, no social life, just research, classes, and lab. What if Indiana is full of foreigners who don’t know English, and what if I can’t talk with them as a result? What if I hate my research? What if I hate it all?

It just seems like the little sitcom that is my life is changing dramatically. It seems like the supporting cast just comes and goes, but that I am the regular. Lately I feel as if I don’t mean anything, about anything, to anyone. While this has granted me a considerably depression-free life, I’ve come to this realization that I’m soon to be like an island, alone, in the middle of nowhere, and rather self-sufficient. I suppose all of this may sound like a good thing but the sad part is that I’m afraid this whole ‘island’ lifestyle isn’t me at all. Maybe I could become this, but I don’t know if it (being a grad student and moving away) is all worth it. All the professors in the division seem to think highly of me and all that I’m up to, but I wish I could feel so confident in the direction I’m going as they are.
-P

Growing up sucks

Maxi passed away today. I’ll miss her. I’ve known her since I was 7 and my relationship with her continued until this day, 15 years later.
I’ll miss our rambles through the parks and long chats about nothing.
Here are some photos of us taken a couple of years ago…

I guess now after having thought about everything, I’m realizing that more things are changing than I thought would. To start off, the Seales have decided to pack up and move to Zavalla, Texas which is a good 2-3 hours away from Houston. Soon I’ll be leaving for grad school, my old walks with Maxi are gone, and Austin will soon be gone from me too.

I’ve known the same home, friends, family and Texas my whole life, and it is scary to have these things taken from me. I know the Seales are just a quick phone call or car/plane ride away, and that my family will always be here for me in Texas, and I can always come home, but for some reason, things just feel different this time.

I don’t really want to move on.

Maybe this is what they call ‘growing up’… maybe my Holden Caulfield phase will finally escape me

I just think it sucks.