Feb. 12th, 2013

sarahfish: (windowsill)
The past month has been nuts.

First of all, I got the flu shortly after my last post. I think. I don't know -- once time enters the "more than a couple weeks ago" realm, I sort of lose track of events. So the flu itself was meh, but it just makes you so damn tired for weeks afterwards. I think last week was my first full week back at CrossFit, where I could actually do the workout instead of just exhausting myself by the end of the strength piece.

I presented in journal club (one of two this semester, I think) while still recovering. I had requested to present a virus- or biochemistry-related paper (protein structures!! <3), but the people running the journal club said no. :( So they gave me a paper to present, and it was on nothing I had any idea about, and it was just a thoroughly confusing and frustrating experience. Since it was the first paper, the instructors wanted to make the discussion an example, so they kept asking very difficult questions throughout the period, and I just felt like an idiot the entire time. I guess that's what most journal clubs are like anyway. I should be thankful that mine is (most of the time) not that bad.

Speaking of feeling like an idiot, my therapist told me to try going to a self-compassion group that's run by the counseling/psych services. I'm very hard on myself pretty much all the time, and it's not healthy or helpful. So I went last week, and it was okay. I think I need to try again this week to get a better feel for it.

I also signed up for a "how to teach" club, because really I have no idea and teaching scares the shit out of me.

Otherwise, I have been SOLELY FOCUSED on this comprehensive exam summary. It's taken me two weeks to completely revise my topic and come up with more-specific experiments. I'm worried it still won't be accepted. If it isn't, I don't know what to do. I love the topic (tri-trophic interactions!), but with 1-2 months for every iteration, I just want to get this thing DONE. Sometimes I wish they still used the old format for comps (or quals or prelims or whatever), where you just have 2-3 days of ALL THE EXAMS but then you're done and you don't have to think about it anymore. None of this "oh, spend a few months writing a summary; spend a few months writing a mock-grant, with vague expectations; spend a few months studying and making a presentation that nobody is going to listen to anyway; spend a few hours in your actual oral exam." It's just weird and drags on forever.

Anyway. I feel like I'm almost ready to turn in this version, but I'm worried that it still won't be specific enough, or my experiments won't be laid out enough (I have 2 pages to introduce the system, explain the question, describe the significance of the question, state 3-ish goals that can be completed in 3 years, and describe how I will go about answering them, complete with figures and references). It's supposed to be a summary, but it doesn't feel very summary-like. I guess that will make the actual writing that much easier though, right? :P

Grants are ridiculous.

I'm pretty sure my brain is wrapped in saran wrap. That's what it feels like, anyway.

... God, I hope this topic is accepted. I hope so much.

So on top of all that, my laptop screen started to die. It got a streak of dead/dying/stuck pixels down one side, and I had to send it to Dell to get repaired. It will either be $200 or $400. I probably could have just bought a new computer, but it's only a year old (and the warranty had just expired... go figure). So discouraging! It's in transit now, but I will probably not be getting it back for a couple weeks. I'm using my old (7 years now!) MacBook. I'm so glad it still works, but for the first few days trying to get used to it again I just felt sort of lost. :x Weird how computers make such a difference.

I'll be glad when a lot of this is over. I want to be in a better place.

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sarahfish

February 2013

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