Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 06 - Whatever tickles your fancy

Well, why not use this time for a general life update?

Since I last wrote, I finished my first year of grad school and started apartment hunting for a spot to live closer to campus, but not necessarily in one of the seedy surrounding neighborhoods USC is known for. Though we're currently shopping around in South Pasadena and the Los Feliz/Silverlake area, our limited budget so far seems to be yielding only some of the crappier apartments available to us. But we're hoping that someone will post a listing for a little gem one of these days and we'll snatch it up! What a fantasy, eh?

On the school front, it's been an interesting year. I've oscillated between varying poles of confidence - on the one hand, my moderate apathy about my coursework sets me apart from several of my classmates, who noticeably take more time to study and therefore tend to actually get that A. I, on the other hand, am content to just keep the 3.0 that's required of me and care more about the lab, but it still makes me feel like a slacker at times to just be shooting for the average.

On top of that, I'm finding that when I leave campus, I'm just not interested in talking about science. Does that make me a Bad Scientist? Does it disqualify me from being Someone Who Knows What They Are Talking About? I dunno - I'm just around it all day, and when I leave, I want to talk about something else. So again, I feel a little unworthy when I go out with some of my friends from the program and they're all talking about their lab stuff, and they ask me how it's going, and I'm just like "It's great."

That said, I got a huge confidence booster two weeks ago when my application was accepted to be a CIRM Fellow. (CIRM is the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, aka our state stem-cell initiative.) I didn't know how competitive of an applicant I was as a first-year grad student without any papers, but I knew that my research background was strong, and that the proposed project itself was awesome. But, I did it! This is such a huge relief to me and the lab - all of the funding (by which I mean, funding for the research materials and funding of my salary) are now covered by CIRM for one year - and potentially two based on progress of the project - and my PI mentor doesn't have to worry about scraping money together to pay me. So yeah, this is really kind of a big deal. And, by extension, since I'm using this as a motivator to actually believe in myself, I'm kind of a big deal. And I deserve to be here.

And that about sums that up!


  1. Congrats on earning that fellowship!!! You ARE a big deal! haha :)