The new and the old – week 65

PhD Life

I am sitting here waiting on one of those recent phenomena; I am waiting for a new keyboard and mouse to be delivered by Amazon’s prime service. Once this delivery has arrived I can engage in one of the oldest and greatest phenomena that humanity has ever created; I can return my library books.

I find myself ordering my day around the delivery of packages more often than I would like to admit, and I would not be surprised if there was a term for the phenomenon. But, I should stop complaining as it was in my lifetime that you had to go somewhere to acquire goods. In my case, growing up in a small village, it involved begging my parents to take me to town, or waiting until I could drive and then do it myself. It indeed wasn’t a simpler time.

But enough rambling and pre-amble, it is time to try and twist and contort my thoughts of what I did this week into something more interesting than it actually is.

It has been a slow week in PhDs-Ville, I am waiting on some consumables, mainly filters so that I can continue analysing samples. I am still not that proficient at time-tabling; if I were better I would be a bit more efficient, but also, a lot more fatigued as I would have less downtime. So, I have just justified my lack of organisation as a device for rest and recovery – winging it is one of the best skills one can learn.

The first two days of the week were as boring as you can get, I weighed out hundreds of samples at 0.01 gram per go, which is quite tricky sometimes. From my PhD, I would say that roughly 40% of the time I am doing something utterly mundane that requires no thought whatsoever, it’s not all chalkboards and equations. The beakers don’t wash themselves!

The remainder of the week was spent doing data analysis and writing abstracts for a couple of conferences I would like to go to this year. Oh, and I had a couple of meetings.

Hopefully, if all goes well, I shall be going to Berlin and Prague this year on-the-house. I will have to give a presentation, but that is but a minor act in the academic conference – so I have been told. Mostly it’s for networking a.k.a. drinking, dining and talking – as well as getting a free holiday. Who am I to not engage in such activities.

Having mentioned that, I hate almost all the aspects of conferences; I detest writing the abstract and then presenting it, and I am not a big fan of networking either. I am mostly going because it feels like one of those things you ‘have’ to do. Talking to other people I am still none the wiser as to why people go to them; I think it has lots of un-apparent benefits that are hard to quantify. Anyway, I shall give it a go this year and try my best to seem interested.

It will be nice to get out of the house!

Author: Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

15 thoughts on “The new and the old – week 65”

  1. Louis, what is your PhD in? I’m sure if I read back far enough I would find it. I was working on a PhD once – and at some point i decided I seriously disliked research and decided instead to go to Medical School… That was 12 years ago, and here I am still not done that pathway! But this post reminded me about how much I disliked bench work. Plots, and filters, and weighing stuff, and making reagents. At least I got an MSc out of the deal, but I am still so thankful I did not go down that path! Thanks for reminding me. On the plus side – Prague and Berlin! Amazing! I am very envious, for sure!

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    1. It is an interesting piunt you raise. All of the people I know that have stopped pursuing thier PhDs have been becuase of the lifestyle — it is never related to difficulty or anything academic!

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  2. So funny, your life is so fascinating and this conference sounds enviable, like a meeting of enthusiastic minds… and the fact that you will be presenting is spectacular, to many of us less imposed-upon, and/or talented, and/or hard-working and/or fortunate; but in each of our own lives it’s the same, I suppose: the mundane and dutiful become, well, the mundane and dutiful. Hope you had fun in your thematic meandering, anyway, Louis :))

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  3. How big are your conferences? Hundreds? Thousands? I was never very sure about these vast cattle markets either. But I suppose if someone somewhere down the line remembers you from somewhere, that might stand you in good stead. In the end, though, a really good paper in a really good journal is what counts, isn’t it? Or does that make your heart sink?

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      1. I would have to say that I would always recommend that you follow your heart (ah, such a cliche) and find something you are passionate about. You will have an excellent skills set in your own field but it’s interesting that you are attracted to writing. There might well be a market for science noir!!

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