Thursday, April 02, 2009

L.O.M.M. (Lots On My Mind)

Irony moment of the day: I got two invoices in my mailbox today. One was my paycheck, in the amount of $n. The next was the rent bill. In the amount of $n.
Sad, cruel irony it was.

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Of the many things I learned in grad school, I am so glad and so proud of my presentation skills. I might've had some flair for it to start with, but Ph.D Adv.'s training has essentially made it as good as it is today. And I have always enjoyed the process of giving presentations- it gives me a high, after the initial nervousness. I love talking about science, I enjoy breaking down my work to make it presentable to an outside audience, I love leveling with the audience, making a joke or two in the course of the talk. I love it when they get me, when they ask questions and when I see lots of nodding or appreciative looks.

Today I went to a talk on campus that was horrible. The speaker was rambling on and on, mumbling, thinking aloud, doing a lot of uhh umm uhh, blinding everyone by randomly fiddling with the laser pointer, talking to his slides half of the time, and I got nothing out of it. He does some cool work, and must be a good scientist, (He better be awesome if he got to become a Professor after having such pathetic communication skills) because the data was very cool and I would've really loved to learn some more about what he had. The worst part was that he went over time, and at the end of 1 hour and 10 minutes, I left in frustration and went on a long walk outside just to get it all out of my system. It was a very painful one hour of my day.

During my walk, I couldn't help reflect on how he broke all those rules Ph.D Adv. drilled into my head, after years of repetition. Some of them were: Speak to the audience, tell them what you're going to tell them, and tell them again. Don't assume that they know what you're talking about. Have a coherent story, not tons of data. Have a clear take-home message for the data slides, and at least three main points that you'd like them to take home even if they sleep through most of your talk. DO NOT make the laser pointer dance all around the ceiling and walls and DO NOT point it to your audience's eyes either. And please, for Gods' sake, try out your ppt on a windows and mac computer before you go. C'mon, that can't be that hard, no?

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Forgive and forget? Forget but never forgive? Don't forgive nor forget? I am not sure what I want to do. I definitely forgot for a while, now I need to decide if I want to forgive. I have decided to sleep over it and not give it any more thought than that, it doesn't deserve any more.

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Life in the lab is kinda see-saw. I have gotten really busy, lots on my plate and am enjoying thinking about my project, formulating hypotheses etc. in between doing some experiments. Its a good mix right now, I just hope I can come up with a solid game plan for my own project. I like that boss man comes and checks in on me ever so often. And yeah..it's been a week of showing up early (9 AM) every day to the lab. YAY me! :). There are other times I feel like I am floundering and get very impatient with myself. I think I over-scrutinize myself sometimes, too wary of ending up with another bad post-doc. I just need to remind myself at those times, to relax, quit looking back, and do what I need to do without beating myself up.

Two months at this post doc, I have yet to go into the lab on a weekend. Still not sure if its a good thing or a bad thing. :)

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I haven't filled my tax forms yet. Yuck.

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I have yet to start going to the gym. Sigh.

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I have to be very frugal with my money, given that life in this city is very very expensive. So I also take my lunch most days (or scavenge the hallways for pizza that comes with a seminar). Today I went and indulged and bought a starbucks coffee. And it kept on pinching me for a while. I am going to have trouble sleeping tonight-not because of the $3.50 I spent on coffee, but because I am on such a caffeine rush right now.

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Over and out!

9 comments:

Sakshi said...

Woman, FILE YOUR TAXES! NOW!!
Its really easy and you might get money back. Especially if you claim the move as a part of your tax return. So there - go file taxes, asap!!
And yayy on the 9am thing. And on being busy in the lab. And not going to the lab on weekends - that is a good thing! Keep it up!
And I am on coffee high too!Hence in exclamation-ville!!yayy!!

S said...

Your post-doc story is so similar to mine. I recently quit an on-the-surface-good-but-harrowing postdoc to join a new lab. It's good here, and like you i am struggling with my resolutions to be in lab at 9.00 am and hitting the gym.

And so totally with you on presentations, though my PhD advisor didn't really guide me on this. Some natural flair and some acquired tricks - and I am proud of my presentations today! ;)

Good luck!

gawker said...

Scavenging the hallways for seminar pizza is such a primal activity, I'm sure even our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to indulge in it.

Pri said...

money spent on excellent coffee is never a waste. it makes your whole day better.

Prasoon said...

This one was nice. LOMM is a nice series I feel. Someday I'll convince myself to start something like this.

Talking of the forgive and forget bit - I sincerely hope that it works out.

Tired looking which city you're from in US but couldnt make out. Expensive? Hmm.. I'll have to take care when I reach I guess

P said...

paycheck amount = rent..whoa..why?

not going to lab on weekend is a VERY good thing :)

I haven't filed my taxes yet either!!! Only 10 days left!! Panic attack coming now..

Satish said...

my presentation sux. and i know all the point you mentioned here. hence the belief tht i will never be good at it, ever.

tgfi said...

Sakshi,
Did it!

S,
Hello. Thanks for commenting. I guess there's lot of us out there. Good luck.

Gawker,
I thought I'd leave it behind in grad school but apparently not.

Pri,
yeah..may be..not really for me..I need my chai.

Prasoon,
Go ahead and start a series yourself! :) It's a nice vent.
I've decided to go with forget for now..
I'm in a very very expensive and cold city. enuff said. :)

P,
yeah. that's the way it is. Hope you did your taxes, I just finished mine and it was pretty painless. :)

Satish,
you can work on your presentations, c'mon! :)

gawker said...

No no, pizza hunting is good. I was saying it's basic human nature to hunt for free pizza. I do it all the time. In fact, it's what makes us human. So in conclusion, I just wanted to say that I like pizza.