Friday, June 19, 2015

Week 1: Thoughts on Postdoc

New mentor
My new PI is AWESOME. Ze* had goals for me immediately, discussed my project with me for 2 hrs one day this week, gave me a whole folder of PDFs to get me started learning about this mostly-out-of-my-area-of-expertise project, and provides awesome feedback to everyone in the lab.

New colleagues
One of the grad students referred to me as "the confocal expert" and I realized that yes, yes I am. Imposter syndrome be gone! At least on that front.

Lab meetings and journal clubs
I love having them! But we didn't have lab meetings during the school year in my old lab because there was only my PI, me, and one other grad student so it's felt harder to get enough done in the day.

New city
Free bus rides with my ID! The bus ride TO work is easy and awesome. The bus ride HOME kicked my ass for two days but today was fine. Got on a bus going the wrong way the first day and ended up way out at a Park & Ride lot on the edge of the city. The next day I got on the right first bus and I still think I could have gotten home on the second bus I was waiting for but it was *really* late. A friendly fellow bus rider at the stop called to see where our buses were and the lady told her I should take a different bus. I started walking toward that bus and realized I could take the bus that was sitting there ready to leave and still get home... and it worked! 

Yelp. Yelp is awesome. And the iPhone Maps app.

Evening work
As an early postdoc, most of us have things to finish up from our old lab so the evenings are generally spent doing some of that. But it's hard because I also have things from my new lab that I'd like to accomplish in the evening. And with the bus thing I've gotten home at least an hour later than expected and am so drained that doing anything other than supper and giving the cats attention I haven't gotten as much done for either labs as I'd like. But now it's the weekend so I can catch up a little. 

Work life balance
I planned and expected that in the beginning of my postdoc the scale would tip more toward work than life and I hold to that. The scale will tip back to a better place once I get settled and get old lab stuff done.

The cats are extra needy because I worked from home for most of the spring semester and I've been home every day since I moved here several weeks ago. If I don't give them at least 10-15 min of undivided petting and attention in the evening they meow at me incessantly and I can't concentrate and then I get angry at them and then no one is happy.

Keeping in touch with friends has been so great. I feel like my support system is right here with me due to Voxer, Skype, texting, and email. Plus, today I got to FaceTime in to one of my best friend's dissertation defense! We live in a wonderful age, don't we?

*Gender neutral pronouns bug me but due to my pseudonymity I'd like to keep this a little vague.

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