Boy, do I feel like a grad student.

It’s time to have a little bit of a distraction from the crazy week I just had. Even though I submitted my American Society of Mechanical Engineers Summer Bioengineering Conference abstract on the 11th (due date 15th at midnight), I was not going to leave the dudes in my lab to the wolves. So, I stuck around the lab on Thursday night/Fri morning until 4am when they called it a wrap. I was also the go-getter, saving them from skipping dinner by making a TBell/DQ run (oh, boy, did I ever feel like a grad student). We took a break to watch some Top Gear before getting back to the grind. Along the way, I processed some histology and realized I might be able to get another abstract out the door… Might. With less than 24 hours, I pondered and outlined and highlighted the sh*t out of my stack of papers and data. Things were coming together nicely on all fronts, and our undergrad researcher had his abstract pretty much complete before taking off at 4am. As soon as the dudes hit the submit button at 3pm on Friday, we all got an email explaining that the deadline for submission was extended until Sunday at midnight. So, we were happy and annoyed (and, deep-down inside, just knew that was going to happen).

Here’s the week by the numbers:

  • 62 hours on campus
  • 6 hours working on my abstract from home
  • 3 hours running
  • 1 all-nighter (almost)
  • 5 energy drinks
  • Probably four gallons of coffee

I am one tired girl. A lot has happened aside from so much work. I sold my tri bike and shipped it to Canada. I bought a new bike (ok, two new bikes). I drank a lot of coffee. And I worked my tail off. I also got some sweet mail that brightened my day.

Thank you, Team Trakkers! 😀

The visors helped. Now (especially since this week is almost over), I am looking forward the upcoming race season. I am looking forward to my spring marathon in Salt Lake, training outside, pounding the trails in the mud and the dust, and hammering away on my bike on the winding Keweenaw roads. It will be a good year.

L to R: Lake Champlain Chocolates unsweetened cocoa, handthrown mug in fieldstone/gray, and a tin of Zhena's Fireside Chai (22 bags)

I also got my i-need-to-go-online-shopping-distraction-please-help-me shipment from Peace Coffee only two business days after I ordered it; talk about customer service. I even twittered them to see if they’d change the color of the mug, and it didn’t delay a thing. The box-o-goodies was a much needed reward to myself. I bought some Fireside Chai tea (which I am actually sipping right now), because I feel like I need to cool it on the caffeine (at least in the afternoons!), and it’s delicious. I wasn’t going to get any, but my friend Margot wanted to throw some in my cart, and shipping would cost the same whether I bought more or not… so I am glad I did. It’s not caffeinated, and has a Roibos base. Very flavorful, with a great wintery taste (Roibos, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, oranges, nutmeg, black pepper). I also bought a tin of unsweetened cocoa, because for whatever reason, we don’t have any in our kitchen! Who makes ice cream without cocoa? It’s from Lake Champlain Chocolates (sold through PC), which is my favorite chocolate company anyway, so it was a win-win. I also bought another pair of socks (can never have enough socks) and last but definitely not least, the best part of the whole package: a handthrown coffee mug. I swear its made to fit in my hand perfectly. But anyway, I digress.

Farewell, QRoo. I will miss you!

So even though this week was a dousy, it’s all good. I’m working tomorrow, but I’m not complaining. Seriously. Most of me really wants to get back in the lab and get this abstract out the door (or rather, uploaded. But out the door sounds better). There’s this really weird balance with graduate school. I didn’t really have to work so much last week, per se. I mean, I’m sure my advisor appreciated it, as well as my labmates, but when it comes down to it, I wasn’t forced to be there. I worked so much because I really liked what I was doing. I thought of something halfway through the day on Thursday and said: “I need to see if this works!” True, grad school takes a different type of person. I certainly hope we didn’t scare our undergrad off (he’s hoping to go to grad school after he graduates this semester), but again- he didn’t have to be in the lab so much this week either. He only gets paid 20hours a week, yet he was in there nearly as much as I was! It’s really hard to explain how we grad students think. Having a 9-to-5 job is not something I’ve ever wanted. I like being able to work independently and formulate a project or two and ask and answer questions. That’s not to say that can’t be done in a normal job… but I know what to expect in academia. It is really what makes me want to try harder. It’s not really all that rewarding. There’s rejection. Lots of rejection. There’s the whole “grad student stipend” thing. Being an academic is not a glamorous life by any means. Most students won’t appreciate me and the things I’ll teach. But, oh well.

This was probably one of the most disconjointed posts I’ve ever written. But ya know what? That’s kinda how I am feeling right now. I have a million synapses firing on a dozen different topics, but that’s ok. Time to get myself back to normal. Here’s hoping I can go for a long run in the morning before heading back into the lab for one last big push!

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2 thoughts on “Boy, do I feel like a grad student.

  1. LOL – this had me remembering my college days all too well; and actually my days at start-ups similarly. Highly energized, being on caffeine or just natural; synapses firing all over the place and not quite able to focus on one thing, yet able to deeply focus on a topic at the same time (makes no sense, but that’s the best I can put it), the excitement of breakthrough, or at least deadline met, already looking or figuring/visualizing the next …. yup can be very addicting.

    A good long run to let your sub-conscience sort things out can do wonders as well. Have fun!

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