Saturday, October 18, 2008

of fish and chicken...

The previous title of my blog come from the research I do.  I am a graduate student of biology, in my seventh (and hopefully, last) year of school.  The specific branch of biology I toil away in is developmental biology, which is basically trying to understand how the embryo develops the way it does.  When I began my research the organism I studied was chicken.  About a year ago I had to transfer to a new lab, and I started to work with zebrafish as well.  The first part of last year I was trying to salvage my seriously badly planned chicken project, and for the past 6-8 months I've worked on a new project with zebrafish, which so far has been going more smoothly (tphew, tphew, tphew, knock on wood) than the chicken project ever did.  Recently I've been taking steps to revive and salvage the chicken project, as I hope to include it as a chapter in my thesis.

Ah, yes the thesis.  For years I could not visualize my project coming to a conclusion and myself as having finished my PHD.  However, I am in my seventh year, and the fact that I'm still in school is starting to hit home.  I am excited at the prospect of having a real job.  So I need to get myself together and finish this thing.  Is it possible?  I think so.  It will take a lot of work on my part, but I believe I can do it.  What do I need to finish?  Well, first I need to get a substantial amount of results.  Next I would need to get 'my box checked' or in other words get approval from my dissertation advisory committee to go ahead and start writing.  Next there is a lot of paperwork, a lot of writing, a lot of scheduling and finding examination committee members and of course the defense itself.  Now for the deadlines: in order for me to get a June degree I need to have my defense by May 8th.  I need to submit the thesis to the committee two weeks in advance; it would take 4-6 weeks to write (haha super optimistic here) so I need to have my experiments finished by february and to have my box checked by then as well.  I will be having a dissertation advisory committee meeting in the beginning of December, about six weeks from now.  At this meeting I hope to convince my committee that I'm ready for the box checking. To have a case for this I need at the very least a thesis outline and a bunch of data figures and even better a draft of a paper (or two).  

I know this is a really ambitious plan, but I believe I can do it.  I have been in grad school long enough and the sooner I finish the sooner I can move to Japan and get a real job and be with my (future) hubby.....(dreamy sighing)
Back to reality:  I need a plan and I need to stick to this plan in order for any of this to work out.  I think I'm appropriately motivated now to start making a plan.  Stay tuned! 

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