just dance

•July 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A note in advance – I finally realized that I had about a gazillion comments on my posts that I apparently needed to approve.  My apologies to anyone who was reading my blog and commenting, and then thinking I was ignoring you, because I wasn’t!  I need to figure out how to take the approve thing off, I never go to the page where you approve stuff like that.  Now that I know people are commenting, I’ll try to check it  lol

So, to update a past post about my feelings on graduate school, I’ve come to a decision and I think it’s the right one.  I’ve decided to apply for the fall 2011 instead of 2010.  It was tough to make that choice, b/c I’ve been working my ass off for the past 3 years – doing a 4 year bachelors in 3 years, taking care of my kiddo, doing internship after internship to get research experience.  It was all with the goal in mind of a PhD program for fall 2010.

Like I mentioned in the other post, I was having doubts about Julia being too young for me to be gone that much, etc. etc., but doing this NIH internship really has solidified my feelings.  It’s 5 days/week, and although they’re so very flexible with my hours (and for that I”m very grateful, I usually leave around 1:30pm to get home by 2:30 or 3pm), I miss her too much.  And it will only be worse in grad. school – even if I’m not physically gone for 40 hours/week, I’ll have homework etc etc.  Granted, the ridiculous commute (at least an hour one-way up to Bethesda, a total of 2 hours on the road, at least an hour 1/2 one-way if I go to the Poolseville facility which I do – 3xs/week, a total of 3 hours on the road) probably has influenced my feelings a bit.  I feel like I’m on the road more than I am at the lab.  But, I think overall this is the right decision to make.

So, the game plan is – my NIH internship ends August 14th.  I’m going to decline continuing it for the fall (which originally I was supposed to do).  The commute is too much.  So I’ll be home in the fall 2009 and spring/summer 2010 (September 2009 – August 2010), finishing up my bachelors and staying home with Jules.  I graduate in May 2010 with a BS in psychology and biology.  I may or may not have to get a part-time job in the fall of 2010, depending what kind of job DH gets – he leaves the Army in March of 2010.  If he gets a federal job, I’ll probably end up having to work p/t just b/c there isn’t a big difference in salary than in the Army, but I was doing OK with the hours I was working at Hopkins when I was there – and they have mentioned in the past they’d love to have me again, so that’s a possibility.  If bridges aren’t burned with NIH by not taking the fall slot, it’s a possibility to do p/t work there (we’ll be moving closer to DC, we’ll have to move in March when he gets out of the military). If not, there are plenty of places in the DC/MD area that do research.  I’m not anticipating a problem, especially with a bachelors degree.

Getting a p/t lab job won’t be a bad, thing, btw, because it will give me additional research experience.  And, I might be going out of my mind staying home after being so busy for 3 years that I might look forward to something like this.

However (and this is what I’m hoping for), if DH gets a contracting job, he’ll make substantially more $$ and I’ll be able to stay home for the 2010/2011 year as well.  I’m thinking I’ll take 1 or 2 grad. classes at night.  At the U of Maryland College Park they have a program called Science in the Evenings, where you can take some core graduate classes without going for a degree.  This will be good for 2 reasons – 1., knock out some required classes for PhD programs, and 2., possibly get a recommendation from an instructor who can vouche for my ability to do well in graduate-level classes.

I already have 2 letters of rec from Hopkins, but I wasn’t sure about who the 3rd one should be from.  Originally I thought from my supervisor at NIH, but I honestly don’t think I’ll be there long enough over the summer (the spot is only 8 weeks long) for him to really gauge my abilities and write an honest letter.  Letters of rec are weighted pretty heavily in programs.

So, there you go.   That’s my game plan.  I think I did a little mourning when I decided not to apply for 2010, but in reality I know it will be best for me and for Julia.  PhD programs are a 5-6 year committment, so I think there’s no need to rush.  It’s not unheard of to take a year off after undergrad., in fact I think a lot of programs encourage it to make sure the PhD program is what you want to do.

To sum up, 24 working days until I’m a free woman from internships!

Sweet dreams are made of these

•May 28, 2009 • 2 Comments

So I randomly came across a blog written by a mom with a kid with Netherton Syndrome, and I finally sent her an e-mail today – and then within her blog, another mom from Anchorage had commented who also had a kid with Netherton’s!  Crazy.  It’s nice to chat with other people who have experienced this, and it’s eery how similiar everyone’s stories are.

On another note, we had a happy afternoon today.  It finally stopped raining around 5pm, so Jules and I rode her bicycle around the neighborhood.  We stopped at the mailbox where an army of ants were running back and forth between the sidewalk and the mailbox, and I got to teach her a critical thinking lesson.  Hooray scientific method!  So we were watching the ants, and I said, “So Jules, what do you think the ants would do if we put a piece of grass in their path? ”  She said they’d probably go over it – so we tested that hypothesis.  Apparently, ants will not only go over it, but they’ll also go under it and around it.  The entire time she was sitting cross-legged with her bike helmet on, completely enthralled by this team of ants.  We got to relate to how teamwork was important, and how ants share food with other ants, and she shares her toys with her friends – she came up with the concept, not me!  I’ve got such a smart kiddo.

chicanery will always make you happy, but we all know the hat is wearing me

•May 9, 2009 • 1 Comment

I’m wondering if this is actually the right time to be going for a PhD.  Maybe this is something I should be doing later, when Jules is older.  I feel like I’m missing so much while I’m away at internships or hooked into my computer doing schoolwork.  I feel like her childhood is just sweeping past me, and I’m going to go to open her bedroom door one day but it’ll be locked and some godawful music will be blaring from between the cracks, and she won’t let me brush her hair while she falls asleep anymore let alone want to spend the day with me.  I swear motherhood carries the burden of  just one of the most cruel types of love – you never meet anyone you love as much as your children and then you’re just supposed to let them go – completely counterintuitive to what you do when you love someone.

I’m wondering if I should do the NIH internship.  A part of me just wants to drop it, spend the summer with Jules, finish school in May…then…what.  Take a year off.  Spend the year with Jules, let her do a few hours of preschool a week, be less stressed.  Apply for masters and/or PhD programs for the fall of 2011 instead of 2010 as planned. This plan will screw up finances, severely limit the places where I could apply to grad. school b/c Dmitry gets out of the Army in the spring and we will live where ever he gets a job then, instead of mutually where he gets a job and I get an acceptance.

Then I think that I’ve done so much work, and this field I’m in moves so quickly, that I don’t know how relevant the Hopkins internship will be 2+ years, how rusty I’ll be in school after being out for so long.  Or how competitive I’d be in the masters/PhD application pool with a year of no internships or school.  I think of all the work I’ve done – especially researching grad. schools, the $$ my mom shelled out so I can take a GRE prep class, the effort I’ve put into contacting researchers I’d want to work with.  Basically setting the stage so I can be successful in my applications. And it’s something I want. I want to do research, I want this career path.  It pains me that I finally see the goal that I’ve been working towards for the past 3 years as an undergrad. – applications to grad. school – approaching rather rapidly and now am thinking about side-stepping it.  I mean it physically pains me.

That leads me to think of why I started on this path in the first place – I was home with Jules for 2 1/2 years before I started school again, and I just got bored.  Bored sounds mean, and I loved being home with her, but it was intellectually unchallenging.  That’s why I became a parent-expert in Netherton Syndrome, because it was something to learn.  So it’s this viscious cycle.  I want what I don’t have, and then when I have it, I want what I don’t have again.

Is it just me, am I just indecisive?  Unable to make a long-term comittment?  As it stands, I think the longest comittment I’ve ever made was my marriage, going on 5 years next month.  Am I having cold feet because a PhD program is a 5-6 year contract?  Am I feeling melancholy because I’m not so positive I did well on my stats exam today and am doubting my intellectual abilities?  Am I feeling guilty because I know deep down that when we had Jules my first priority should be changed to her, and not me, and by doing a PhD program while she’s young I’m ignoring that knowledge?

I feel like if I’m going to make a decision, I need to do it soon.  If I go ahead with NIH and push through the summer, I know I’ll be applying for 2010 as planned.  I don’t know how I know that, but I do.  It doesn’t make any sense to put in that ridiculous effort it will take to do NIH, be a parent, and take summer classes to NOT apply.  Ugh, and I’d be so stupid to turn down NIH.  If I did, I’d pretty much be setting myself up to not apply for 2010, and be a competitive masters applicant for 2011.

Just insert a bunch of expletives here.

•May 6, 2009 • 2 Comments

sweeeet caroline, neh neh neh, good times never felt so good

So here’s an article that drove me up the wall

•April 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

What do you think?


Just thought I’d mention…

•March 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I really hate the GRE.  Particularly the quant. section.  Really, ETS?  Things we haven’t used since 3rd grade and now don’t remember how to do?  AND you’re going to charge us money to take the test and send the scores?  AND you’ll probably f- up and not send the scores to the right schools?

You didn’t actually think I was done, did you?

•February 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yeah, not even close.

Contemplating taking UMD-College Park off the list, and looking at Western Michigan University, Arizona State, and University of Colorado.