No, seriously... Did you miss me? If you didn't, that would make me very sad. Ok, enough pitying (for now). Actually, I'm the one that feels kinda sad because it has been over a year since the last time I blogged and frankly, I miss it.
If my absence of blogging wasn't proof enough, the tenure track is hard, time consuming, and at times, very frustrating. I started this blog after I accepted the tenure track position at SnowU and then kept up with posting during my first year. Year Two, I basically fell off a cliff in terms of work load and I'm only now beginning to climb back on to level footing. I still have bitten off more than I can chew and still cannot say "no", but I do feel like blogging gives me a form of release that I missed during Year Two.
Year Three has started and it's been a hectic start to say the least. I've decided to teach my undergraduate lab class and my graduate class during same semester. This gives me an overload on teaching now but will hopefully give me more time during the spring semester to get more real research done. Also, last year at our Faculty Roast, GEARS was outed in a very public (albeit funny) forum. I didn't really expect that no one would be able to find out who I actually was, although apparently most of the students were twitter-stalking me without following me for at least a year so I wouldn't know that they knew. (Hi Students!) I'll have to be a little more cagey about what I say but that's not a big deal.
I'll share some more details and recap Year Two in the coming weeks.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
DrWife said something very interesting to me, which I thought warranted a blog post. First, some background.
Yesterday, I was part of a large planning meeting involving multiple universities on a research consortium where I am the greenest person in the room. Unlike most junior (emphasis will make sense shortly), when I'm asked to be part of a meeting, I actively participate, give feedback, ask questions, etc. I really dislike just sitting in the corner, acting like another n00b prof, where its seems like I'm either too timid to join in or too worried about pissing people off while I'm untenured. I figure that if I'm asked to be a part of a meeting, then expect me to be participating in that meeting. Otherwise, it's a waste of everyone's time.
The problem with this philosophy is that I have a tendency to either 1) get dragged into tangential arguments, 2) end up putting my foot in my mouth, or 3) get "worked up" where I can't let things go. (Number 3 I know is going to be my downfall in the future unless I can get a handle on that.)
Well, in the course of the meeting, I did overstate a few things and realized that I was going down a path that was going to get me kicked out of the consortium, regardless of whether my point was correct or not.
Later in the evening, I was filling in DrWife on the details and she said something that was pretty profound, at least to me. "Remember, you're the most junior person in the room by a long shot. It's not like me at my SuperAwesomeSauce Company. At SuperAwesomeSauce Company, I may be a new employee, but I'm not a junior employee. Academia is still a hierarchy. You may be part of the faculty, but you're junior faculty." (emphasis is mine)
Her statement really hit home, hence my post on it today. I'm not sure what do or say, if anything, about it. I feel like I am a contributing member on both of my faculties and I feel like I'm doing all of the things that a faculty member should do (research, teach, service). But I'm a junior faculty member as opposed to a new faculty member....
Thursday, June 7, 2012
It seems like I've been waiting a billion years but I can finally say:
I CAN HAZ MONEY!
After sifting through double-digit numbers of rejections this year, one of my smaller grants has come through on a project that I think is really promising, both academically and commercially. I even have new shining account numbers to put people and supplies on which is even better. It's not a huge amount, but it is enough to help me get inertia on a project which can hopefully lead to future funding.
This makes me feel really good because I was down in the dumps, thinking that I wasn't going to get a grant this year. I know it sounds crazy because I've had good teaching and academic service reviews, and my research review said I was on the right track. But in my eyes, that would all be for naught if I didn't get a grant this year.
Anywho, I'm off to the lab to see the sweet smell of progress!!!
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I think my graduate students are finally starting to gather some momentum for doing work for themselves in the lab. I had an Engineer Blogs post some time ago on momentum and how I think my students transitioned from milling around and watching me to actually being able to do stuff for themselves. Well, this past weekend, they got a taste of what it's like to have deadlines approach and not have things go the way they want them (or I want them) to go.
I thought I wrote a post a while back, either here or at Engineer Blogs, on using conference proceedings as a stepping stone to get results for a journal submission and to set a series of deadlines. I tried looking for it but I can't find it, so let me 'splain myself right now.
I use conference abstract submissions as a good way to set a short term goal (~4-6 months away) to get some results and give you something to work towards. In my field, conference abstracts tend to be a review of the abstract, which is 1-2 pages. The acceptance is based on that abstract and then a 4-6 page full conference proceedings is then submitted prior to the conference. This contrasts to some IEEE conference that I know where there is a full proceedings review process, etc. etc.
Well, we submitted an abstract and were accepted for an oral talk for a conference at the end of June and the proceedings is due next week. Seems like no big deal. However, we've had to borrow some equipment from other labs which needed to be returned by yesterday at the latest. And everything was going smoothly until we saw, shockingly, unexpected results*. This was around Wednesday of last week. This proceeded to send of a panicked frenzy of activity with late nights in the lab, work over the weekend with me aligning components while wearing my professorial robes, and, most importantly, my graduate students thinking independently.
I think they've crossed another threshold in research. They went from just watching me in the lab, to being able to perform prescribed actions in the lab, to thinking of solutions independent from me. That's really awesome. Also, I feel like I can discussions with them on a higher level because they understand a lot more about the field they're working in. The only sad part is that we still haven't figured out the source of our problem in our system and now we're down on equipment to test with it.
* I actually was shocked by the results because the system was designed to alleviate this problem.... :-\
Friday, April 20, 2012
Lately, I've been saving all of my posts for Engineer Blogs because I've been uber busy and don't have the time to post in two places. One of the reasons why I've been busy has been traveling. Which brings me to the topic of this post, Fuck You, LaGuardia Airport!
I was flying home from ORD with a layover through LaGuardia a few days ago. On the flight from ORD to LaGuardia, the plane took off about 45 minutes later due to mechanical problems and airport traffic. Tangentially, I know enough about the manufacture and assembly airplanes to make me uneasy about flying and I would rather them delay the flight to fix the problems than roll the dice. I only had about 1:10 minute layover in LaGuardia before my flight home so I know the timing was going to be close. To make matters worse, my flight to LaGuardia was with one airline but my flight home was another. Here's where the problem arises.
The different airlines operate out of two different terminals in the airport. This obviously doesn't come as a shock, as this is the norm. But I didn't which terminal I needed to be at for my flight home. To make matters worse, there's no fucking sign in LaGuardia telling you what terminal you've landed in! I ended up landing in Terminal B and, oddly enough, Concourse B of Terminal B. So when I see my ticket and it says "D" on it and there's a sign for concourse D, I immediately go "AH HA!" and I start running.
Much to my surprise, the Gate on my ticket doesn't match up with the Gate in Concourse D (Shocking, I know). Once I found that out and finally talked to someone that obviously had seen this problem before, I had to leave security, run outside for about 10 minutes to Terminal D. Then, I had to go through security again, before running to my gate.
I made the flight but I am still fucking pissed about this. I understand that there was a delay in my arriving flight which was out of their control. But it's LaGuardia's responsibility to have SOME FUCKING MAPS! And look, only a FUCKING MORON has Terminals A, B, C, D and Concourses within one Terminal labeled A, B, C, D. Don't you think that might lead to a little fucking confusion? Idiots.