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2011 (1)
January (1)

Brand New Postdoc
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
2010 (6)
September (1)August (3)

Help! I've fallen (into my dissertation) and can't get out!
Sunday, August 22, 2010

10 words
Saturday, August 7, 2010

Two Places at Once
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
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Tooting Horns
Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Proper Introduction
Saturday, July 31, 2010
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Lady Scientist

Lady Scientist is the pseudonym of Amanda, a (hopefully) soon-to-be finished biochemistry graduate student. Growing up in a smallish, southernish town she struggles to prove that you can be both a lady and scientist. Follow her adventures as she navigates her two-body problem, science, and life.

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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Views: 98221 | Comments: 12
Last by americanbiotech on Jan 06, 2011, 9:29am
It’s a new year and a fine new time for me to resume blogging here at LabSpaces. 2010 was a good year for me in more ways than one. I finished my Ph.D. and graduated (I plan on blogging here about my defense). But 2011 promises to be even better.  I started my brand new postdoc yesterday in an entirely different field than my graduate work and that promises to be very cool. 

However, for some reason, it struck me and my PI as a fantastic idea for me to write a fellowship application right as I’m starting the postdoc. As I’m settling in to start writing, I realize how silly of an idea this was.  I’m not kidding when I say that my postdoc is in an entirely different area of research.  The only connection between my graduate work and this is that they both can be defined as in the biochemistry and molecular biology field.

I think switching fields like this is good for me for a couple of reasons.  There’s the not inconsequential reason that I find this area more interesting than my graduate work.  It’s also wide open area to study as there has been very little done to study the molecular biology of this area. So there are a ton of interesting questions that can be asked and investigated.  Also, from what I understand, learning new skills is a . . . More
Views: 2077 | Comments: 15
Last by Guest on Feb 02, 2012, 12:36am
Since my entire life right now revolves around dissertating, it takes too much energy to write or think about anything else. Ergo, that is what I’m going to write about.

What I wish I knew before I started writing...

(1) How lonely it would be. I’m the type of person who really doesn’t like writing. That means any excuse I can have to not write, I take. A random signature? Sure. Need help setting up an experiment? I’m so there. Need me to pick up an order that came to another building? Yes, totally. Ergo, I have to spend most of my time alone to avoid distractions.

(2) That I should have started writing during my first year of graduate school. I could have started writing my intro chapter then and just been updating it now. Unfortunately, I didn’t do that. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone who has done that. If you are doing this/did this, please introduce yourself in the comments. :)

(3) The perfect is the enemy of the good-- or even just progress. I tend to get caught up in crafting the perfect sentence. I feel like every word I place on the page should inspire choirs of angels will descend from the heavens to sing its praises. When in reality, I could just put words on the page that approximate what I want to say and then e . . . More
Views: 1594 | Comments: 10
Last by Karen on Sep 11, 2010, 10:10pm
The radio silence around these parts can be easily accounted for: I’m writing my dissertation. Prior to this time, I always laughed at people who said that this was the most painful part of the graduate school process. I mean, how painful could it be? All you were doing was writing up what you had done over the past N years. It couldn’t be as bad as trying-- and failing-- to get good experimental results. Writing was guaranteed results. Unlike experimenting, you knew at the end of the day you would have something to show for all your work. So, from my previous outsider’s perspective, it seemed like it would be a wonderful time of graduate school.

I’ll pause to let you all stop laughing.

As you might of guessed by now, I was wrong. Horribly, awfully, terribly wrong. It’s painful. I spend hours each day writing. I could spend hours more. I could write from now until Christmas and still have more to write (Ok, that might be a bit of hyperbole). What’s even worse is that there are days that I could have just not written anything and still be at the same place. I get pages returned to me from my Advisor that are dripping in red ink (they’re good edits, but still). It’s all horribly demoralizing.

Still, I’m making progress. Slowly, . . . More
Views: 293 | Comments: 1
Last by Evie on Aug 07, 2010, 5:07pm
When I started blogging, I felt like a loser. My lab was small and the other grad student in my lab was nearing the end of his graduate student career. That meant that he was having great success in the lab. As I had just passed my quals and just started the meat of my project, I was not having such great success. I was working very hard, but hardly making any progress.

All that combined made me feel like I was the worst grad student ever, was never going to graduate, and was incredibly dumb. When I started blogging, I found a lot of other people out there just like me. It seemed that everyone went through some period of time where Science was kicking them in the teeth. The more I blogged and the more I read made me no longer feel like a loser. I was just on a losing streak. So, I guess my blogging philosophy could be:

Blog until the science does not hurt so bad anymore.

I hate tagging people, so I'm going to copy Cath again. I tag anyone who is hating how humid it is outside. . . . More
Views: 725 | Comments: 9
Last by styleygeek on Aug 12, 2010, 12:43am
In case you’re just joining me, I’m looking for a postdoc position. One of the key factors, for me, in looking for a postdoc position is if my husband, Dr. Man, can find a job there too. We did the living a part thing for a year, which was awful (but was why I started blogging), and I never want to do that again.

In a job where work-life balance is a real issue, it’s even more difficult if you add geographical distance into the equation. The year that Dr. Man and I lived a part was one of my least productive years of my Ph.D. My mind was never focused all the way on my lab work because I was unhappy at home. And, then, when I went to visit Dr. Man, I was always worried about what was going on the lab. It was clear to me that I needed my work life and my home life in the same place. I’m not willing to compromise on that.

But people talk. There are some people who think that I shouldn’t be that stringent (after all what’s six months or so?) or people that tell me that making a career decision based on my personal life is not the way to go. And when I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, I start to factor in what other people think or what they will say. “If I go here,” I think to myself, “Will they thin . . . More
Views: 416 | Comments: 5
Last by Lady Scientist on Aug 01, 2010, 9:29am
One day when I was, oh, about six I was at church with my family. After the service, we had donuts and the kids could play on the playground. There was this boy who kept bugging me about things he could do that I could not. Those were things like hang upside down on the monkey bars (I had on a dress and had reached that point of modesty) and reach the really high bar to do pull ups (I was short). Eventually, I got pissed off and told him that I could spell a long word-- a word longer than he could spell (honestly, I can’t remember the word, but it would make a much better story if I did). A fight ensued.* Our parents broke up the argument and I was chastised for bragging (more than fighting), as (and I quote) “Young lady. Good girls do not brag.”

This was a message that was repeated over and over again. I always seemed to brag, even when I didn’t mean to do so. But inadvertently bragging was so easy! A classmate could glance at my test and see I scored higher than s/he did. Or I could tell my parents that I got an A on a my report card in front of someone else. Or I could mention that I was planning on going to college in the fall. Any of those things seemed to constitute bragging. So, I stopped mentioning things I did well and I learned to preface . . . More
Views: 635 | Comments: 5
Last by Lady Scientist on Jul 27, 2010, 2:28pm
The life of a grad student is never calm. I just finished playing bridesmaid for LabFriend. Currently I am preparing for a job interview in a few days, writing a paper, writing a chapter for my dissertation, and last, but certainly not least, I’m settling into my new digs here at Lab Spaces. And I think it's time for me to properly introduce myself.

I’m Amanda. I started blogging a little under 3 years ago (which in internet time is approximately just as the Earth’s crust started cooling) because my husband, Dr. Man, had to move away for a year. I was criticized a lot for not quitting grad school and following him. So, I turned to the internet to find other people in my situation and support. Lo and behold, here I am still blogging.

Why the name? Growing up I was constantly being told to act like a lady. I was told that something I was doing wasn’t lady-like (climbing trees, catching frogs, trying to make things explode with my chemistry set) or that a gentleman does not a like a lady that is/does X, Y, or Z (is smart, does science, is interested in action movies). I’d like to expand the notion of what makes a lady. I think you can be both a Lady and a Scientist.

What you’ll find here is a bit of this and a bit of that. I’ll I’ll . . . More