Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A new look for a new start

I'mmmmm baaaaack.

The guilt of the abandoned blog has finally taken over and I'm ready to start writing again.

There's a lot to say; things have been tough. Good friends moving away, experiments failing and failing and failing, and, of course, the usual doubts about my abilities. Sounds exciting, right?

Goodnight guilt! Hello (again) blogging!

Monday, May 09, 2005

I'm such a slacker

Yes, I'm alive, thank you for the concerned e-mails! I've just been, I don't know, out of sorts might be the best way to describe it. It's your basic grad student laundry list of things to do that all need to be done at the same time.
1) coursework: I had a hellacious semester with numerous projects due at the last minute. One professor decided to give an oral final exam so there was major stress over that. Had to deal with the fallout from that crappy group project in the other class. Thank god I'll never have to interact with that guy again.
2) research: you can never get enough done, but are expected to work miracules...
3) sleep deprivation which compounded the above
4) prepping for a meeting in which I don't have the results for yet. :) that's always a treat....

I've been feeling so frantic lately, like I've taken no-doz, kinda shaky and scatterbrained and just not very creative.
Hopefully now that classes are over I can relax a little and start to get things done. I've got two undergrads working for me this summer. While I'll get more things done, it's going to be a lot of work to keep them productive. I hate being interrupted while I'm working so this summer is going to suck because both of the students are new and are going to have a bazillion questions.

Anyways, I better get my day started!
thanks reading!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I'm not the only one

I'm not the only one with a David Allen "Getting Things Done" obsession, sounds like it's really a movement!

So far in my organization movement, I've cleaned out and organized my desk. Labeled all my folders using a label maker (makes for a really clean looking file drawer!), have reduced my inbox to one pile that needs to be gone through (hopefully over the weekend) and have stopped using my inbox as a task list. I haven't left any e-mails in there for over a week! Still have to go back and look through the 800 old e-mails but nothing new is staying there! Wow...

This week has been so busy I haven't had any energy left to write here! Had the usual last minute scramble to get abstracts in for a meeting this summer, one exam to take, one paper due, and finished the bulk of big project I've been working on for over a year with my major advisor. We've been putting together an online key for diagnosing plant diseases and it's been a major pain. First off because there really wasn't one person responsible for it. Dr. G just assumed I could read his mind and complete the project exactly as he envisioned it without much input. And (subconsciously) I kept waiting for him to set out a plan of attack. Basically, it came down to the wire and the two of us put in several late nights getting it finished by the grant deadline. It still needs finishing touches especially to the webpages. That's the second big pain with this project. I came in as a web novice and had to learn absolutely everything. Took a course in Dreamweaver and CSS (don't remember anything), took one in proper web design, had to learn how to use all this software for creating the key. On Monday we're going to make the final links between the key and the associated webpages and post it in our locker. Fingers crossed that it works and looks good!
I did learn something from this whole messy experience and that is that someone and only One someone has to be in charge and take responsibility for the project. This is useful thinking for getting my dissertation done as well. I am responsible for the completion of my research, no one else is going to do it for me. Yes, there is a committee providing advice, but I am the sole responsible person, I'm the lead, I'm in charge of the show. Not that this is a major problem for me, but it's nice to remind myself when I get into the "blaming everyone but me" phase. David Allen (again with David Allen, I'm obsessed!) mentions this as a key point as well. It might have also been helpful to have realized this before my last miserable committee meeting in which I failed to take charge of the situtation. I guess that is part of the PhD learning experience: switching from undergrad (spoon fed) to MS student (eating solid foods, but still strapped in the high chair) to PhD (picking out our own food from the fridge and usually making into our mouths not on our shirts!).
Anyways, enough with the bizarre analogies-back to work. Yes, it's Saturday but there is data to be analyzed!

Monday, March 28, 2005

alive and well, had a fabulous time with my sister but now am totally stressed. Big exam tomorrow that I just started studying for. Dr. M, the instructor, is on my committee so I hope to impress him (hopefully get a better grade than on the first exam!).

I finally decided the give up on the paper I've been stressing over. The paper supposedly being co-authored with a classmate. Said classmate basically dumped a handful of garbage in my lap and walked away. I sent multiple requests of correct citations (if you're going to cite a freakin' website at least make sure the link works!) with no reply other than to "delete the citations" because he is too lazy to find real citations??? I e-mailed a draft for him to review in which I inserted a recipe for chocolate mousse in the discussion section and got back a two word e-mail-"Look's fine". No kidding!!! I pulled it together as best I could in the time available, but am not going to stress any more.

More on this later, I've got to cram for my exam...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I know I promised you all a rant on the joys of group work, but trying to deal with my partner's sloppy work has sucked the life out me. I mean this guy is an absolute moron. Did he even try? I'm almost tempted to ask the instructor if she hates me and is that why she assigned this illiterate moron as my partner. Does he turn in all his assignments with misspellings (not that I'm the best speller but, hello, spellcheck!) and crazy citations that don't even have journal names? Does he always try to cite instructors lecture notes as "Dr. K's lecture, March 15, 2005"?! What kind of lazy ass is this that can't look up these facts and tries to cite lecture notes!!! I'm not sure how to handle this, because I know for a fact most of his work is plagerized but I haven't said anything directly. I've already had to go through the paper and italicize genus and species names, corrected the spacing between sentences (sometimes one space, sometimes two, and occasionally 3!), fixed the fragments, and deleted the duplicate phrases used back to back to back. I actually broke down and screamed in frustration last night causing the boyfriend and the cat to panic. Do I just rewrite it (which would cost me more time) and let him get away with it, or do I "play mom" and ask him for corrections? I've already asked him for proper citations via e-mail (as the guy ducks his head when he sees me in class and runs out before I can talk with him) and haven't heard a response. I feel like I have to rewrite the paper because I don't want my name associated with a piece of crap, but by doing so I let him get away with it. A practice which I'm sure got him this far in grad school. Ugh...well, I guess I found the energy for a rant after all!

In other, more exciting news, my baby sister is visiting from the west coast for a few days so the blog will be silent until Sunday most likely. I'm so excited to see her, she's twenty, not really a baby but still my kid sister. I'm giving her an official "Tour de South" as she has never been exposed to Southern Culture before. I've planned fun-filled days revolving around every cliche including tooth-tingling sweet tea, tobacco barns, bbq pork, twang, big hair, and Appalachian mountain folk. I just wish the humidity and temps were higher so the whole brain melting experience was complete. Either way, she's going to be scarred for life! :)

Hope you all have a great week!