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Friday, July 29, 2005

Grad Student Insurance Needs to Cover Valium

(Science ahead)
So on Tuesday I gave my advisor a draft of my revised grant application. She had told me to add more stuff about estrogen and axonal sprouting, since I was proposing something like that, so I did. Except THEN she told me to take out all the hormone parts (i.e. half the damn experiments) and just propose to look at sex differences. Oh, and ditch the oxytocin aim and propose a retrograde study as aim 2. And propose some neonatal stuff too (since one to tell whether a sex difference observed in adults is organizational you expose neonatal female to testosterone and she's masculinized forever so you can see if her brain "looks" male or female), which I've never done before and would involve digesting massive amounts of previous studies enough to write about them. And she's going away next week, so this had to be done in three days.

Well, I gave it a shot. And then Wednesday one of my rec writers said he couldn't do my rec after all as he was going out of town. And I was hopelessly lost on my rewrite. So I did what any normal grad student would do: I wound up laying on the floor of the conference room in the fetal position crying silently as my labmates looked at each other and debated calling my advisor. Not my proudest academic moment, I admit. My advisor appeared in search of tea, spotted me, asked if I was okay (yeah, since I totally do this all.the.time) and asked if we needed a chat. The upshot is I'm now holding off until the December deadline for my NRSA, by which point I will actually understand what it is she wants me to propose. Except that I won't because she'll change her mind again.

And I get to go to a three-day stereology course, ending the day before the Neuroscience convention. Now, a convention with 30,000 scientists at which you present your date and spend five days attending talks, posters, and drinking your ass off with your fellow grad students is exhausting. I'm not sure how I'll hold up after spending the previous three days immersed in the finer points of mathematically counting cellular objects. And I hate stereology and the transportation logistics are a nightmare. But at least I'll be forced to finish my SFN poster a bit ahead of time, so no backlog for the poster printer!

Still no phone call. I've realized the main drawback of sleeping with friends: if they act jerky afterwards by, say, not calling, you're friends with a jerk who doesn't call. And while it may be that many of my male friends are this way, I don't usually have to know about it. I mean, I don't really want to be friends with jerks! I know some will say it is more general boy weirdness than jerkiness but I happen to think that boy weirdness IS jerkiness. So there. Though I suppose it is helping my "we shall never speak of this again" plan. Except I never wanted to stop speaking entirely, I just cringe at the thought of speaking about the events of last Saturday night/Sunday morning between the hours of 2 and 4:30 am. I've never quite mastered the whole "communication" thing, especially when it is the boy/relationship/I've seen you naked sort of thing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about your NRSA problems with your prof wanting to have you redo what you had already redone in just a couple of days. I think it is just a prof's job to really mess with grad students any way he/she can. Very typical of a prof to see someone in the position you were and just ask if everything alright. Wonder if you lit yourself on fire you would get asked, "So, you cold?" Hopefully when you are finally ready to turn your NRSA in you will not have to go through anymore problems.

11:29 PM  
Blogger PoBaL said...

Maybe I'm wrong on this, but isn't is the advisor's job to, um, ADVISE you on your work, not dictate to you the experiments she personally wants performed? Or am I totally missing the point?
Also, boy weirdness=jerkiness? Genius! Can I quote?
I've lost patience, in case you couldn't tell.

2:44 PM  

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