Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: May, 2004

What to Do After Getting Out of School

To be honest, I hate the question. What am I supposed to say in response? What are they expecting? I’m a planner, but I don’t plan that far ahead since I’m aware that something might come up to take me in an entirely new direction. This is not to say that I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do once I get out of school, but it doesn’t mean that I’m dead set on one career path either. So am I supposed to say, “Yeah, I want to be this” or “I don’t know”?

Last week Randy Schekman, a molecular cell biologist at Berkeley specializing in organelle vesicle transport and membrane fusion, gave a seminar on career options in the biomedical field. On the board, he drew a diagram that looked something like this:

career diagram

Schekman also mentioned three important questions that a student has to consider before blundering onto the canonical grad student/post-doc/prof path: Do you have an enjoyable lab experience? Have you published something significant in the field? Do you find yourself daydreaming about science in your spare time? Schekman cautions that you have to answer these questions adequately before proceeding anywhere although he neglected (perhaps purposefully?) to define what an adequate response was.

Which is all well and good for deciding for myself what my future will be, but it tells me nothing about deflecting nosy people from trying to pry out my thoughts on the matter before I’m ready to discuss them.

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Here’s some brief notes just so you know I haven’t dropped off the ends of the earth. I’m very busy and very stressed and I’m probably going to skip on posting anything tomorrow with a self-imposed no internet and no telephone restriction. Probably no sleep too.

Recent reading: Earlier this week I had finished Mr. Darwin’s Shooter by Roger McDonald. It was more like a life of one guy and his struggle between believing whether or not there is a God after working for and listening to Darwin. The main character, Syms Covington, was a real person but there’s scant information on him–all the more for the author to take artistic license. Unfortunately, not all that much Darwin in the novel despite the title.

I have just finished Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. Every geek in the blogosphere has probably read this or at least heard of it so I will spare you any details on the plot. I’ll say that the book ends on more of a cliffhanger than I’m usually used to in other books that are in a series and there are countless places where the author meanders off. I’ll also say that the writing style isn’t one of my favorites. Sometimes it’s so dry that it’s pretty much passionless. I mean, there’s tons of action going on, but I didn’t feel excited. Or not as excited as every other raving fan. It’s sort of like watching a high budget action flick and yawning as yet another evil henchman gets his head cut off. I do like the fact that there are natural philosophers running amok in the story and some clever cryptology–which probably saved it from being consigned to “dull historical fiction.”

Observation: People with annoying voices never realize that they have annoying voices. Which, I suppose, is good for them since they’re the ones who have to live with it 24/7.

The Thursday Threesome: From the “Summer Plans” Department: Learning to Ride

Onesome: Learning– Hey, what would you like to learn how to do this Summer? Learn to ride a motorcycle (like Sarah)? Learn PHP? Learn how to chill out and vegetate properly (lessons available )?

I’ll be learning lots of stuff. Most of it related to qualifiers. Some of it thesis related. And a bit of it random–like putting together furniture.

Twosome: to– Too? Two? Okay, two things you are positively not going to learn how to do! Ever!

I am not going to rule anything out because who knows what life will throw at me?

Threesome: Ride– Speaking of motorcycles: Do you ride? Did you ever ride? …or do you just enjoy them? …or maybe, “No way!”?

I do not ride motorcycles. I have never ridden a motorcycle. I have nothing against motorcycles although I find some enthusiasts silly in their self-perceived uber-coolness.

For Some, the Blogging Never Stops. Am I surprised that some people are blogaholics? No, but I do wonder why they dislike the real world so much that they are constantly glued to their computers.

On Today’s Experiment:

Mmm. Mouse meat. Looks like chicken.

Sense? What Sense?

Of course it doesn’t make sense. One of the people who’s moving into the apartment (the one with the housemates, not the one I’m currently moving into) this summer is making a 7 hour car trip up to Hanover to see the apartment. Housing just gave him the contact info of one of the housemates so he could make arrangements when to see it.

Normally, I would say it’s sensible to look at an apartment before signing the lease but in this case, I’ll have to ask, why? This is new college housing and if he did any research at all, the rent is much lower than any other apartment in Hanover. Besides, it’s practically on campus. I think the housemate he contacted had sent him pictures of the place, but he couldn’t be swayed from visiting.

The reason I’m sort of annoyed with this is that this guy finally contacted all of us with the time he wants to visit without first consulting our schedules. The problem is–tomorrow is a weekday and it’s a really bad time during the semester. I mean, I can’t show him around. Tomorrow is the day that I begin the first experiment of a series of experiments that I’ve been planning for the past two months. One of my housemates is going crazy preparing for a huge presentation and another one is doing interviews for a Very Important (and Very Famous) Scholarship. As for the med student housemate, she’s pretty much never here.

A perverse part of me thinks, let the guy come another day, even if he has to make another 7 hour car trip. But I’m not that mean, even if my experiments are time critical and makes me break out in a sweat just thinking about them. Anyways, if I were him, I wouldn’t be so much worried about the state of new housing as what psycho roommates college housing will end up sticking him with.

Small Luck

Went to the library to drop off a book. Saw that they were giving away free books that people had donated. Noticed most were self-help books that I didn’t need or want except for one–Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. Hardcover, pristine condition. Asked one of the librarians if this was for real. Apparently, yes. Took it, of course.

Some Observations

More moving again. I’ve carted over all of my books and assembled a bookshelf for them. Fit them just barely. I think I’ll have to go get another bookshelf. I also bought some blinds. It says easy assembly on the package, but I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes on Saturday.

My new neighbor has bad taste in music. I know because he plays it really, really loud. Heavy death metal in the morning and top 40s easy listening rock in the afternoon. At least it’s not Bolero.

Gas prices over $2? That was advertised at every gas station except one which said $1.98. People were scrabbling over each other like mad dogs to get in line.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Finale:: Episode
  2. Martial arts:: Monkey
  3. Flirt:: Tease
  4. Energy:: Bar
  5. Flavor:: Full
  6. Guess?:: What
  7. Accomplishment:: Monumental
  8. Prom:: Dress
  9. Diploma:: Award
  10. Bloody:: Knife