CV building

The other day, I was having lunch with some of the grad students from my lab and at one point the subject of building up your CV came up.  One of the things we talked about was adding leadership opportunities to your CV.  Of course, in order to do that, you need to have some leadership opportunities and R was thinking she probably didn’t have any to put on there.

R has been pretty focused on research, to the exclusion of anything else almost, and I think that dedication is what has netted her a first author paper in a first tier journal in her fourth year.  Her thought is that doing anything else will hinder her research and she won’t publish as many papers.  So, what’s more important, having as many papers as you possibly can, or adding “leadership opportunities” to your CV?  And what is it important for?  That is, do PIs looking for a post-doc even care about extracurricular activities?  Or maybe it’s important for post-doc fellowship applications?  Or maybe it’s important when looking at a tenure-track faculty position (I am focusing on a TT faculty position because that’s what R wants)?

You know what?  I don’t know the answer.  My sense is that employers are going to want to see that you can balance research with other responsibilities.  It seems like that would be an important quality for someone going into a tenure-track faculty position.  But, how much does what you did in grad school matter when you’re applying for a faculty job, anyway?

What do you all think?

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Everyone is having babies except me

One of my goals for my post-grad school life is to have a baby.  For awhile, I had raging baby fever and really thought if I didn’t get to have a baby soon, I was going to go crazy.  Now, that fever has died back a little, but I still ache whenever I see a pregnant woman or a baby.

So, that makes it really hard when I get a phone call from my mother telling me that my sister is pregnant (again!) and my sister-in-law is also pregnant.

I’m happy for them, I am, but I’m sad for me.  There was a time in my life that I didn’t care one way or another about having children but that time passed about 4 years ago and now it just seems totally unfair that everyone seems to be getting what it is that I want.  I know I need to finish grad school.  I know I need to actually be in the same place as my husband (this would facilitate getting pregnant and be useful when I have an infant to take care of).  But, I hear about these babies and nothing else seems to matter.

A bunch of astrophysicists and me

I’m in California very rarely (only a few days every 6 weeks or so) yet I still managed to be in town for a housewarming party for a couple my husband knows from work.  So, instead of spending a quiet evening at home with my husband, I was at a party with lots of astrophysicists.

I hate going to things like that.

I am not so good at meeting new people.  Especially people that I have nothing obvious in common with.  I am shy, I don’t know what to say, and inevitably whatever conversation I start sort of dies off after awhile and I’m left sort of staring at my conversation partner with nothing left to say.

But beyond that, I’ve turned into a terribly one-sided person.  I go to lab and do work.  That’s it.  I don’t watch movies.  I don’t watch TV except for Stargate Atlantis (actually, that might not have been a bad conversation starter in that crowd, but I didn’t think of it).  I barely read any books and what books I do read are trashy vampire romance novels because that’s all that I have the brain power to read these days.  I knit a little bit.  That’s it.  My life is boring.

I used to not be this way.  I used to be like a normal person.  I went to movies and watched TV and even went to plays and musicals every so often.  I read tons of books and not just trashy ones, either.  I had lots of hobbies to talk about.

And then, I went to grad school.

One by one, the extra things I did–the things that made me fit in with normal people–fell away until I was left with nothing but lab.  This is one of the things I really mourn about my time in grad school.  I used to be a multi-dimensional person.  Now I have one dimension and that is lab.  I can barely even talk to my family for cryin’ out loud because the conversation inevitably goes something like this:

Them:  So what have you been up to?
Me:  Lab
Them:  How’s that going?
Me:  Well, my experiments seem to be working okay right now, so I’m making some progress.
Them:  Well, that’s good.
Me:  Yeah.
Them:  What else have you been doing?
Me:  I don’t have time for anything else.

And that’s pretty much the end of what I can contribute to the conversation.

See, that’s what I hate about the long hours.  It’s not the work, per se, because I don’t mind work.  It’s the fact that there’s no time left for anything else.  Even if I lived with my husband, we wouldn’t get to spend all that much time together that wasn’t sleeping.

I am so tired of grad school and the fact that my entire life seems to be the lab.  I’m tired of living it, I’m tired of complaining about it.  I just want it to be over.