A much-needed break!

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coinsandmedals

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As some of you may know, I am a Ph.D. student. Graduate school often entails a mind-numbing amount of work on very short deadlines, which continue to escalate as you get closer to finishing your degree. Earlier this month, I defended my dissertation prospectus without changing my experimental design, which gave me the green light to start data collection. After finishing all the paperwork, I started collecting data the same day. So far, it is going way faster than I anticipated, and I am already well over halfway done. Of course, this is only part of the fun, as I still have plenty of work to do before I can defend my dissertation and earn my doctorate.

With my dissertation in full swing, I started seriously pursuing the job market, which has consumed what I consider an unhealthy amount of my time. For those of you unfamiliar, finding a job in academia requires what seems like an endless stream of documents. All of which need to be carefully tailored to each job as the requirements can vary wildly. With that in mind, I have spent countless hours writing cover letters, research statements, teaching philosophy statements, diversity statements, and tweaking my CV to highlight the skills the position requires. 

On top of those efforts, I also teach over 230 students across two upper-level courses at my university. It takes far more tie and energy than you would think to lecture, respond to student emails, and grade assignments. Luckily, I have two graduate teaching assistants who help with the grading, but it is still a lot to manage. I am also organizing a research conference for my department and actively serving on several committees while working on a handful of publications and managing a small team of undergraduate research assistants.

Typing it all out makes me wonder how I find time for it all, but I suppose when you have no other choice, you figure it out. It is a lot of work, but I am thankful for where I am in life and even more so for my amazing wife. Throughout all of this, she has been extremely supportive. My home life is the only escape that I have from the craziness of grad school. I made a deal with her and myself that if I finished enough work, I would take the entire week off during the break, and now I am enjoying the rewards of that labor. That said, please forgive my recent posting spree, as I am simply taking full advantage of the opportunity!

It seems weird not to post one, so please enjoy the pictures of my pets lounging out. They are my relaxation inspirations.

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I hope everyone has a safe and restful holiday season!

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I taught a 65 student class for 1 semester. I never want to do it again. It is a lot of work unless you just shove most of it off onto the TAs, and even then. And it is infuriating to see students blow off a class on Industrial Hygiene and Process Safety.

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You are doing a lot for a PhD student, sometimes you just have to focus on things. Having organised a number of conferences I now decline politely xD

I am spending the weekend going through draft dissertations for some of my students - also with feline 'help'!

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On 11/26/2021 at 6:42 PM, Revenant said:

I taught a 65 student class for 1 semester. I never want to do it again. It is a lot of work unless you just shove most of it off onto the TAs, and even then. And it is infuriating to see students blow off a class on Industrial Hygiene and Process Safety.

It takes a lot of time to properly develop a course and even more time to manage it once started. For that reason alone, it is not surprising that so many do not enjoy it. I’m somewhat of an odd duck in my department as I find research and teaching equally enjoyable. For me, both present learning opportunities that set the stage to pursue a stronger science. 

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On 11/27/2021 at 5:01 AM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

You are doing a lot for a PhD student, sometimes you just have to focus on things. Having organised a number of conferences I now decline politely xD

I am spending the weekend going through draft dissertations for some of my students - also with feline 'help'!

I agree, it is vital to focus at times, but I’ve stayed well ahead of the curve for my department despite my other activities. If nothing else, maybe I can utilize my time management skills to secure tenure once I get my career going. 

It appears your feline colleague is sleeping on the job! I’ve yet to experience the process from the other perspective, but I imagine it is quite the undertaking to review multiple dissertations. If you don’t mind me asking, what is your area of expertise? 
 

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On 11/27/2021 at 9:11 AM, coinsbygary said:

Everyone needs a break, and yours is well deserved! In this season of Thanksgiving I give thanks for my supportive wife just as you do yours. Enjoy your week together! Gary

Indeed, a short break can go a long way. Sadly, this week has come and gone entirely too quickly! 

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On 11/28/2021 at 3:56 AM, coinsandmedals said:

I agree, it is vital to focus at times, but I’ve stayed well ahead of the curve for my department despite my other activities. If nothing else, maybe I can utilize my time management skills to secure tenure once I get my career going. 

It appears your feline colleague is sleeping on the job! I’ve yet to experience the process from the other perspective, but I imagine it is quite the undertaking to review multiple dissertations. If you don’t mind me asking, what is your area of expertise? 
 

He is either rushing about like a mad thing or asleep - I wish I could sleep like that! 

Area is loosely Medicinal Chemistry - draft dissertations this weekend were on a new diagnostic agent for neuroinflammation and a compound we are working on which shows promise in treating colon cancer - the diversity keeps things interesting :bigsmile:

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On 11/29/2021 at 4:26 AM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

He is either rushing about like a mad thing or asleep - I wish I could sleep like that! 

Area is loosely Medicinal Chemistry - draft dissertations this weekend were on a new diagnostic agent for neuroinflammation and a compound we are working on which shows promise in treating colon cancer - the diversity keeps things interesting :bigsmile:

You and I both! Our cat spends an extreme amount of time sleeping. Our dog is the exact opposite. He gets frequent bursts of energy and takes a few laps around the house. It is entertaining to watch the look of utter disgust on the cat's face when this happens. 

I imagine that is a challenging yet rewarding field of study. It has been almost a decade since my last chemistry class, so I am afraid that I am likely unable to hold a serious conversation on the topic. On any note, I wish you the best of luck with your research!

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