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Post Archive
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January (1)

A new start in 2011.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
2010 (32)
December (6)

Happy Festivus!!
Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wimminz in Academia Answers!!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The chalk talk
Saturday, December 11, 2010

cute? or THE CUTEST?
Friday, December 10, 2010

10 mo in the life of Gerty-Z (The one-year meme)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today I had to fire someone
Thursday, December 2, 2010
November (6)

The joy of the interview
Monday, November 29, 2010

Are you writing an tenure-track job application?
Monday, November 22, 2010

Women in Academia Q&A
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

muddling in mentoring
Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lost in translation?
Saturday, November 6, 2010

If you were an incoming graduate student, how would you choose where to rotate?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
October (6)

Spooky!
Sunday, October 31, 2010

How NOT to work in my lab
Monday, October 25, 2010

Out on the job market
Friday, October 15, 2010

Make it rain!
Sunday, October 10, 2010

If I wasn't doing this...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I *heart* conferences!
Monday, October 4, 2010
September (6)

Should you pay undergrads that work in your lab?
Sunday, September 26, 2010

The scientist-in-training
Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's not a pissing contest
Monday, September 13, 2010

What I wish I knew...
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beery Bladder-not necessarily from a Beery Friday
Friday, September 3, 2010

Ambition, in the world of grant-writing
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
August (8)

A quick note.
Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moving on up...
Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunday afternoon panic attack
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Advice for the new grad student
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The purpose of the K99/R00
Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Am I ruining your marriage?
Friday, August 13, 2010

All about ME!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hello!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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Gerty-Z

I am starting my lab as an Assistant Professor at a Big Research University (summer 2010). I have a super partner and an adorable kiddo, Mini-G. I tend to rush into things and then figure them out as I muddle along. I'm sure that will be true here, too. I hope to use this space to maintain my sanity and share my perspectives on science and academia. These perspectives may sometimes qualify as rants. There will undoubtedly be some crazy times on the tenure track. Gmail me [at] primaryinvestigator

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

So, I did not anticipate my freak-out last weekend to have such an effect. I put together that post without too much forethought in a moment when I was feeling a little insecure and a lot overwhelmed. I was venting. I was hoping to get some advice from folks that had been through similar events, and I did! I really appreciate all the folks that took time to drop a comment and say something reassuring. I needed people like Odyssey to deconstruct my little attack with some perspective and a pat on the back. DrugMonkey and Dr. Isis offered up helpful, pragmatic advice. It was nice to hear I wasn't alone from Prodigal Academic. And all the other really thoughtful comments and tips from everyone here and at Odyssey's was fantastic. I also needed The Tideliar and Pinus to tell me to chill the fuck out.

So I was caught a little off-guard when GMP's comment got the attention that it did (see, for example, PLS). When I read what GMP wrote, I took it as an encouraging pat-on-the-back of the "you are not abnormal" variety. I think that she is probably correct that all us n00bs (at least all that I know) on the TT feel a little overwhelmed. Maybe even most of the time. As has come up on lot's o' blogs in the past few days, no matter how well you are trained as a postdoc this is going to be a big transition.

In any event, I should have been more precise with my vocabulary. For, while I was freaking out, I was not having an actual panic attack. I used that phrase, and others went with it. But it was not accurate, and I should not have trivialized the actual incapacitation of a real panic attack. I was just freaking out. I vented, got some kind words, and then felt lots better. PLS (et. al) make a really valid point that if you are regularly struck with actual panic attacks then you would not be able to function. This is a whole different can of worms from what I was going through. Again, sorry for the sloppy verbage.

Anyhoo, I've been a little psychotically busy this week, so I didn't follow as closely as I should have (but I did bookmark all the sites I ran across so that I can refer back at will!!). I'm sure I missed some things. And I am leaving tomorrow for a race so I won't be able to catch up in the near future.

I'm sure that, for those of you that stick around, there will be many more tales of my adventures on the tenure track. Just to be clear, I am actually really psyched about starting up my lab. In a recent post, Female Science Professor ponders whether it is "uncool" to have fun on the TT. I would say HELZ NO! This is awesome!!! I have wanted this job for EVAH (it seems to me), and most of the time I'm running around giddy. It is easy to spout off about the "hard" parts, but I wouldn't trade it in for any other job.


OK, now back to my grant writing :-)





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Odyssey
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I for one didn't take "panic attack" literally. I just assumed it was the normal "freaking out" I think everyone on TT goes through. I was also a little surprised at some of the reaction to GMP's comment. C'est la blogging...

Great post by FSP. Is TT fun 100% of the time? Hell no. But if isn't mostly fun you're doing it wrong.

Dr. O
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Also didn't take it that seriously...I like to say I'm having panic attacks as a little ol' postdoc, but I generally don't feel actually incapacitated. And I sure hope there's some fun parts to the TT; why would so many be working on it if not, right? :)

Evie
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Enjoy the race!

Prof-like Substance
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For the record, I never assumed that you were in full blown panic mode or anything, either. I probably used 'panic' a little too loosely as well. My point was that it happens to everyone and even if you don't get 'used' to it per se (that would be a bad thing, I think), you at least get better at pulling out of the overwhelming stuff and focusing on short-term goals.

It's a huge transition and not without it moments, but it's also fun and a wild ride.

GMP
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Gerty-Z, you have nothing to apologize for. I think it was clear you meant "freaking out." And freaking out is perfectly normal.

If anyone should rethink their vocabulary, it appears to be me, because of my apparently uncanny ability to annoy people with virtually anything I write.

Enjoy your TT job! There are many ups and downs that come with it, but it is generally the best job in the world.
jen

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I also have been a TT asst prof for 2 months (and one day), and I had a freak-out moment right around the time of your original 'panic attack' post. (I meant to comment on the original post and never did - thanks, btw, for that post, which reminded me that bouts of panic are normal and don't mean that I somehow fooled everyone to thinking I can do a job I can't do.) Seriously, in the throes of the 'freak-out' I think that "panic attack" felt like a very appropriate description. Of course I was not physically paralyzed or anything, and it was a transient state, but I still think that "panic attack" describes the emotional state rather well...

Gerty-Z
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Thanks, Jen! I hope that all the advice thrown my direction was helpful for you. Good luck on the TT!!
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