Status of 1st Week: DONE!

I just finished my first week of grad school! Only 250 more to go!

JK hahaha 😂

Lame jokes aside, the week went pretty well! It started off with my usual anxiety about missing class, deadlines, readings, etc. You name it, I worried about it. It’s just my normal back-to-school ritual: first, I underestimate the course intensity, then I overcorrect that by being overwhelmed by materials not yet covered in class. Then I go to class and realize that I can totally handle it.

So my one class wasn’t too bad. It definitely covered a lot of materials and was a lot of work, but a lot was review. Plus, my cohort had been meeting up in the library to do the reading, the homework, and the extra credits together, so it was a lot of nice studying and bonding experiences throughout the week. A few of us are also have started training for a 5K in October, which is pretty exciting!

Also this week: I’ve emailed the PI’s for my top rotation choices. To keep it from being confusing (and to serve as a reference for posterity), I’ll list them below:

  • JK studies biomaterial–meeting sometime next week
    • Pros:
      • Very cool projects.
      • I really like the idea of getting into the biomedical field.
      • Very well-funded.
      • Has ties to industry.
    • Cons:
      • His lab is huge (30+ people at two different facilities).
      • He’s also head of a department.
      • All of this adds up to no contact with him ever (his assistant has been communicating with me to set up a meeting despite a direct email to his account). This is the exact replica of my transplantation lab in undergrad, and I’m not sure if I want a repeat of that.
  • VJ studies translational applications for mitochondrial modification–met this week
    • Pros:
      • Who would ever think to do this? And the logic makes so much sense that all I think about is, why hasn’t this been done before?
      • This is the one lab that aligns with my biology background the most.
      • The PI seems really nice and approachable.
      • His students graduate on time.
      • Has ties to industry as well.
    • Cons:
      • Funding pending approval. He told me to check back after my first rotation and he would save a space for me if funding went through.
  • CD studies renewable energy–met this week
    • Pros:
      • Okay, it’s renewable energy. I don’t think I need to say more.
      • Multidisciplinary.
      • There is a large computational component within some of projects, which is something I want to learn and use in grad school.
      • The PI seems very approachable. He invited me to sit in on a lab journal club. During the presentation, he made constructive criticisms in a way that was instructive and kind.
      • He also made a lot of astute observations during the presentation. I feel like he would be a really good mentor to have.
    • Cons:
      • Way out of my field! My one and only experience with algae and photosynthesis was the one section that covered it in biochemistry. I have close to zero computational experience, and I doubt the little experience I have is applicable in this lab.
        • But all of this I can learn. It may or may not be a painful process, but it’s a doable process. And since he’d created a rotation project for me during the presentation, all I need to do is bring my paperwork on Monday and it’ll be official! 😁

It’s pretty exciting. To be honest, I’m pretty scared about doing something so different, but I think it’ll be really exciting. Once the paperwork is signed, I’m going to be learning photosynthesis all day, everyday to get caught up.

My cohort celebrated making it through the first week with a lot of beer and sangrias. Alcohol: always a solution.


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