Movie of the Week: PHD Movie 2 – Still in Grad School

This week when I got home, I received my reward for crowdfunding the PHD Movie 2, that is, I received my DVDs of both movies, so naturally I wasted no time in watching the second one. If you have been paying attention here, you know that I’ve been pretty excited about this, right?

This second movie deals with 2 different main issues. From one hand, Cecilia (Alexandra Lockwood) needs to graduate ASAP, mainly because her advisor is leaving on sabbatical, so she deals with the problems of writing the thesis, procrastination, finding a thesis committee, managing all the conflicting schedules and ego issues, etc. On the other hand, Winston (Raj Katti) goes away with his group for his first field conference and has to deal with the pressure of doing better than the other groups and competing for funding.

I really liked this movie, though not as much as the first one. I did like the themes and the resolutions. I even cried! Winston’s collaboration with his rival lab to make an essential contribution to science moved me. But the high point of the movie for me was watching real footage of Alexandra Lockwood’s graduation! Yes, she is already a PhD! 😀

My biggest problem with this movie was the time frame. Essentially everything happens within a week or so, so while Winston is away at the super long conference, Cecilia realizes that she has to write a thesis, she actually writes it with several corrections from her professor, finds a committee and a date, defends her thesis AND has a graduation ceremony… in the meanwhile the conference is still going on. I didn’t like that! It’s the most unreal thing ever that they’ve done in the movies or comics…

It still left me pretty emotional… 😥 Oh, and I totally saw that ending coming… after how the first movie ended, I thought it was pretty obvious!

IMG_20150923_160618

My week in review…

After a week of doing next to nothing and feeling awful, because I was sick – sinus inflammation is a bitch, my headaches were insane – this week I decided that I really had to be productive.

tumblr_inline_mymjv6LvNp1ruj0pc

A few weeks ago we got an e-mail from my university indicating the possibility of doing an Erasmus+ for Doctorate students. The list of countries though was a little less than desirable, it included every single place except the European Union – bummer, since in my field is where most of the labs are. Still, after talking things over with my advisor, we decided to put 2 places and just wait for the application call. Tuesday night we got an e-mail again saying that we have until February 5th to deliver an acceptance letter and a short essay… they gave us 9 days!!!

Anchorman

So, in my feeble attempt not to panic, I started redacting the letters for the 2 directors of the 2 centers I had pre-pre selected, my advisor looked them over, and off they went! Thank God for emails… I don’t know how people did this in the old days.

58317-louis-ck-gif-Rhqv

Given that the 2 places are in opposite sides of the world, and both very far away from Spain, I panicked a bit, because the likelihood of any of them accepting me with such short time to process, it’s very low – even though it would only be for the next school year, especially when you factor in the time difference between places. My heart dropped a bit a second after I sent the emails, because I got an answer right away, a “I’m sorry, I’m away at the moment” automatic kind of message…

tumblr_lr881krLUG1qlrinq

I decided to go about my day as usual, thinking that it would probably be a good few days before anyone decided (if they decided) to respond. I was already in bed, late the same day, when I got an email from the Big Wig that was away (apparently we wasn’t away anymore), and he was super nice and even though he did not say “yes, sure”, he did say he was going to talk to the PI’s from the lines I was interested in and asked what would they have to provide to make it happen.

giphy (6)

Yeah… I was totally fangirling about the email, even though he was likely to respond some time, it’s still exhilarating when you get an email from a Scientist you admire and respect so much!

84238-Jon-Stewart-Im-totally-fangirl-eaOLFangirling.Again, mails sent, I tried to keep it out of my mind because it’s not that big of a deal: if they accept me and everything, I still have to apply and nothing garanties me that they will give me the scholarship for the mobility program, so yeah, relax!

tumblr_n4h5iagvoW1smcbm7o1_500

Relax did not come easy on Thursday, given that my undergrad lost the confidence or just plainly forgot how to do a bunch of protocols. I reckon it’s my fault, because I nicely asked him before each one if he thought/remember how to do them by himself… each time the answer was NO! Come on man, are you kidding me?! He spent 4 months in that lab and he had the audacity to tell me he did not remember how to do something he did a bunch of… kill me now!

tumblr_inline_mq7vzvAGOZ1qz4rgp

Friday finally came, a good day, because FRIDAY! (I don’t know why I sound excited about this day when I am bound to work all weekend) Still, Friday was my undergrad last day! YUUUPPPIIII!!!! Very nice indeed, since I won’t have another one, which means that I’m on my own and doing my kind of schedules again, without having to worry about a kid anymore.

emma-stone-excited

Time went by quickly, due to the little amount of stuff I had to do Friday and around lunchtime I told him “it’s done, over”. I decided to take him to my advisor’s office, so he could say goodbye to her, and that’s when she drops a tiny bit of information: “Oh, he asked if he could stay on, keep coming to the lab, but I forgot to talk to you!”.

tumblr_m61uyec7p31rqfhi2o1_500

I looked at him, how the hell did he not mention it to me and talked to my PI, are you kidding me?!

GIF-Excuse-me-WTF-OMG-DAFUQ-Say-what-What-GIF

Knowing full well that if he did stay on, he would work under me, he shared my office for 4 months and it never occurs to him to say “hey, I was thinking that maybe I could stay on”… really people?!

tumblr_inline_mssbbasJQf1qz4rgp

Not expecting this at all! Obvious we told him that we would talk about it between the 2 of us and would tell him something, obvious I said to my advisor that sure, but not if he staying on will mean I get behind. So we’ll see… but, hell!

tumblr_inline_moz79kFbzq1qz4rgp

So… Saturday! I had to go to work, but decided to sleep a bit and go later because, well, sleep! Obvious something had to go wrong and I woke up to an email from the Big Wig I talked about earlier with a bit of “not so good” news… the PI which I was interested to work with (because it relates so much with my thesis) is moving to another lab sometime this year, which means that he won’t be able to host me…

tumblr_inline_n28rwxMFNs1ro2eun

Bummer, still, he told me to get in direct contact with both PIs he recommended to see what can be done and now I don’t even know how to start… I’m totally blocked! It would help if somebody from the other lab I wrote to replied… but no! I really want to work with this guy and I’m kind of happy because he’s moving somewhere I really want to go… I just can’t do it on Erasmus, but hey, everything is not lost!

tumblr_inline_mox42lVBkb1qz4rgp

A Week from Hell!

Finally my week from hell is at its end… and by week I should clarify that I’m referring to the period between the 16th and today 28th, so in fact my week had 13 days.

tumblr_inline_mnxcfnK1ai1qz4rgp

I’m exhausted! Not only because I just spent 13 days in a row at work, but because my brain is on the fritz from all the stress… And this is why I’m behind on my favorite shows, such as Castle or Psych, whose episodes lay forgotten on a remote corner of my computer because my brain does not have the ability to process them now and so I turned to old favorites, shows that I already know and love and that I already saw and don’t have to think about them… so I started to watch Chuck and How I Met Your Mother from the pilot… It’s like comfort food for my brain!

tumblr_inline_mwvnxrGB1P1rqfc4i

So, why I’m I so stressed out?! Well…

1. I miss home! My dad’s right, I do get jumpy and irritated when I don’t go home for a while. It’s natural I guess. I don’t particularly like the place I’m in, I don’t particularly like the people. I miss my parents, my house, my bed, my nieces and nephew.

tumblr_inline_mobaqrKAX71rlpk9c

I miss my food, my oven and my cakes. I miss my friends. I miss the supermarkets, where I can get anything (and I mean anything…). And I miss not having to program almost a week ahead to be able to catch a movie, because here there are only 3 original version movie theaters and they’re all 1h30min away from where I am! OMG, I miss my movies (so that I can clarify, while in Portugal, I would go to the movies every week!)!

tumblr_mcs6i3SgrZ1ro2d43

    

2. I’ve got one undergrad! God, I hate undergrads (no offence…), but I hate to have to train one. I honestly do not get the point, not the way they do it here, anyway.

28474-Ron-Swanson-this-is-my-hell-gi-hK57

The point is, suddenly I have a person inside my lab, which obviously makes the risk of contamination rise, which means I’ll be working some days to throw away stuff. And There are the moments when you don’t actually know if they give a fuck about what you’re trying to teach them, because they don’t seem to want to be there. And what’s the deal with the gloves? How hard is it to put a pair of gloves on?

tumblr_inline_mpjhi9hGm81qz4rgp

Then there’s the speed… or lack of it and the realization that while they are doing that one simple task, you could already be done and drinking your fourth coffee of the day! And the fact that they can be brought down by a micropipette, an eppendorf, a parafilm strip, cleaning or really small volumes of anything.

tumblr_n1gfmoDPDj1snjtq8o1_500

    

3. Huge workload and 24 hour days! Directly related to the one above – I HATE being dependent on somebody else’s schedules.

tumblr_inline_n19paohZYk1r3w23f

I HATE it, can’t cope with it. One of the worst things about having an undergrad is that they still have classes, in the middle of the day (crazy schedules they have…), which means I cannot work at the pace I want to work… so this week (13 days), it meant working weekends (to compensate de slowness and contaminations)…

tumblr_inline_mnjj5kzRtY1rlpk9c

…and arriving at the lab before 8 a.m. some days, to get some work done before the kid arrived. Which means, I’m so behind on my sleep…

tumblr_inline_mu4ln5e0TF1s4n9oc

   

4. I’m not a people’s person… which means that my tolerance for stupidity, idiocy and lack of common sense, is incredibly low! And my week was full of such events, some more “normal” than others, but all kind of: “wow! are these people for real? O_o”…

tumblr_mwpcm89vVO1rjo3roo1_500

    

5. It’s not working! It’s when you have the most things to do, that’s when the universe decides to screw you! So, for the past couple of weeks, nothing is working! The PCRs whether turned out contaminated or they just won’t amplify, which is cool, is kind of normal… but then the restriction enzyme is not cutting (WTF!!!). Really Universe? On this particular time? When I have so many damn things to do? Data to obtain? Haven’t you screwed me up enough during the summer, when I came to work by myself all August and the PCRs decided that they needed a vacation too?!

tumblr_inline_mw8go02d8Y1s4n9oc

   

So… here you have it: my brain is trying to hibernate at the moment (reason why I haven’t been able to post anything with real content for the past days), avoiding the simple and truthful realization that this weekend I might get some sleep, but I’ll still have to go to the lab, still not sure when, but I have a 7 hours work ahead of me before Monday comes… and then it’s the beginning of the week again and I have a lot of stuff to do…

In the meantime, this is my plan for the little free time I’ll have:

tumblr_inline_n1puqvzXTc1rqfc4i

tumblr_inline_mwvnx7PcFw1rqfc4itumblr_inline_mr8gqfNN1z1qz4rgp tumblr_mew7kmSZ9N1qf9mevo1_500