Friday, February 01, 2008

It's Really Happening

I'm really moving towards the finish line. Despite Dr. Hari's please for me to stick around one more semester (he has several new students who need training on various equipment), he's letting me graduate. Yesterday I submitted my sample dissertation pages to the graduate college for a format check. I had the lovely privilege of giving them $150 to measure my margins for me and promise to put my dissertation on microfilm. (What's that?) It's non refundable so if I don't finish this semester, I have to pay it again next semester. That's incentive enough for me put my nose to the grindstone.

Today I submitted an application packet for a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship. If I get it, I would go to work in a national lab in Washington, DC. The guy who I would work for has been in contact with me daily helping me with my application and 15-page research proposal. He's an incredibly brilliant, nice guy who has been so helpful. I would love to work for him, but he doesn't get to decide. The research council does. I think I have a shot at getting it. The fellowships are pretty competitive. My undergraduate transcripts are nothing to write home about, but I pulled myself together in grad school, my proposal is strong and I chose impressive people for my references. Hopefully they all said nice things about me!

Of course I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket and am applying for several more jobs. None of the application processes are as involved as the NRC fellowship though, thank goodness or I'd be screwed.

Also due today was my application for degree. I had to decide whether or not to walk in the commencement ceremony and get "hooded" by my professor. This was a tough one but I decided against it. I didn't tell Dr. Hari but he didn't ask. The gown you wear for your Ph.D. commencement ceremony costs $400 to own and $200 to rent. Since I'm not going into academia, there is no need for me to own one. It's not that we don't have the money, I just feel weird about spending it on something I'll rent for one day. Maybe if my parents were going to be there I'd do it for them, but my mom is coming for my defense (more important) and my dad was just here. Lastly there is the distinct possibility I won't even be in Tampa for my graduation ceremony. The final copy of my dissertation is due April 11 and the ceremony isn't until early May. I have to start a new job whenever someone can take me. I just hope I don't regret this decision. Mostly I'm just angry I had to commit to an answer so soon.

But the prospect of leaving graduate school felt the most real to me yesterday in our lab meeting, where I was officially relieved of the title "Helium Girl", and passed the torch onto Moe. I know she will do a fantastic job of sweet-talking Kirby, our liquid Helium supplier, and ruling the equipment time with an iron fist. I've been Helium Girl for over two years and it is stressful but it made me feel indispensable.

So that's what I've been up to. Your blogs have been my reward for hard work - I work a few hours and then go read one or two or five. I'm sure they will be a big part of what gets me through to the other side.

12 comments:

Hot4Teacha said...

Yay! Nat, I'm so excited/proud/pumpled for you! This has been such a tough road, but you've persevered and, as Barry Manilow might say, "looks like you [we] made it!!" Way to go, girl!!

I had dental trauma yesterday, which I will be blogging about soon. Keep tuned in...

Gram said...

WOW! The end is near! What an accomplishment. I am so proud of you.You decided on your career path, stuck with it and DID it! Love you hon.

Dianne said...

You inspire me to stick with things that are important to me.

I'm so impressed by you and proud of you too!

Jackie said...

that's so exciting! I'm so happy for you!

I didn't do the whole 'Walk down the isle' thing for my university grad either (of course I wasn't get a Phd.... but none the less). What I did do so still go and get the picture taken with the cap and gown, which is what I recommend you doing as well!

Best of luck with all your applications! I hope you get the one of your dreams!!

dr sardonicus said...

Congratulations! Things seem to be gong well for you right now. Not much longer before you graduate and join the rest of us working stiffs. The pleasures of being a Helium Girl will be hard to give up at first, though.

anne said...

Wow congratulations, doctor. Its sad that you'll be leaving Florida - but it is for the better, you have a whole wonderful career ahead of you.

magnetbabe said...

Thanks, everyone!

Things seem to be gong well for you right now.

The un-scientist superstitious part of me really wants to knock on a piece of wood right now.

jackie- That's a great idea. I'll definitely be checking that out.

Dianne said...

"The un-scientist superstitious part of me really wants to knock on a piece of wood right now."

too bad I'm so far North - you could knock on my head ;)

enjoy girl, enjoy. it's all good.

LL said...

Hmmmmm... Dr. Babe... has a nice ring to it I'd say.

Best of fortune to you in the days and weeks ahead. It's going to be a busy couple of months from the sound of things.

fermicat said...

The passing of the "Helium Girl" torch sounds very serious! I'm happy to hear that your time in grad school is nearly at its end. The real world awaits your talents. I know you'll do well.

Beth said...

Congratulations! This must be so exciting for you. You seem so capable, so intelligent, and so gracious. You deserve great things.

hhboots said...

dang girl... what can I say but YOU ROCK!