Grad school is an amazing learning opportunity and it's also stressful as fuck, and I don't think we're talking about that nearly enough. I'm trying to change that. I also have some videos and many podcast episodes on this topic. If you have thoughts to share about grad school or want to tell me your experience, please get in touch!
This was my excitement of realizing I would only have to work ~6 hours on my birthday weekend. And I really needed that because grad school is tough and this was one of the tougher days. I gave a practice talk to my lab for my upcoming committee meeting, which will be for my adviser and 2 more professors. After my practice talk, we went slide by slide for feedback. I did not expect how difficult it would be to hear an hour-long onslaught of constructive criticism. I spent lunch fighting off tears, mostly successfully. Luckily I had resources and help from multiple supportive people who I reached out to during lunch (2 phone calls, a hug, advice from two been-there scientist friends, a deep breathing app, pump-up music, and fresh air). I also had a feedback meeting with my boss about the 10 page written proposal right after lunch. I brought tissues and water and warned her I might break down. She was compassionate and the meeting went great! I think because I had been so honest with her, validated and encouraged me the rest of the afternoon. No more tears.
The morning of my committee meeting I found my first gray hair (which isn't very easy to see in the picture)! I don't mind though. My mom's hair got gray early on and she's always been very beautiful :) Perhaps my body senses that I've acquired a deep not-giving-a-fuck-about-societal-judgments attitude that usually people get in their 40s and has decided to age me accordingly.
My first committee meeting (which was on Pi Day) went well! The professors said I communicated the project clearly (thanks to the massive revisions and practice runs after my practice talk, I'm sure!) and that I have a good sense of the literature (which is exciting to me as until recently I was way off my literature game)! Although exhaustion hit me several times throughout, it was actually cool to discuss my project with a group of experienced supportive scientists. Afterwards, I put on my pi day hair flower and celebrated with a lazy lunch and a mocha toffee bar.
Here I am on my way to lab before the sun was even totally up! I had to grow cells at a temperature they are very unhappy at, which sometimes takes a long-ass time. Very early start means not having to stay quite as late in lab.
I got my poster for The Allied Genetics Meeting printed, which was quite the endeavor. I left a great eval on the Kinko's website for the manager who helped me, because her help let me get more rest and do more conference prep before flying out.