We're a little crazy, about science!

Major milestone 3 (of 3)

I’m exhausted. Let’s just get that out of the way. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much work to get done in my life. No, scratch that I know I’ve never had this much work to do in such little time in my life. My eyes feel like they are about to bleed and I’m afraid if I turn my head to the side my brain will leak out my ears. The end of the term is usually an academic marathon, but this is ridiculous. It’s just been deadlines left and right. Anyway today is the end of the next set of major milestones, it’s not the victory I was hoping for, but I’m hoping rest will not be too far behind.

So if you’re just joining in you may be wondering what this is all about. Deadlines, the answer is deadlines. They clump together and with the end of the term I ended up with several deadlines for my class, deadlines for conferences, deadlines for awards, deadlines for funding, all happening within the same week. I don’t know how often that happens, but this was a first for me and I’m in year three of the program, so hopefully not that often. If you’re interested in starting the approximately week long saga that has been the rush to this point you can start here, here, or even here. Or if you just want to jump in without the context, that’s okay too no judgement from me.

As per the usual I think going through the list of stuff due today is in order, then we can take a look at where I am and how panicked I am about this whole process. So the order for (what was) the final deadline for the term is as follows:

  1. Video for the talk I’m giving (the, “I’m giving a talk,” talk
  2. Slide for the I’m giving a talk, talk (really should’ve named that better)
  3. Poster (which is separate from the slide) for the conference
  4. Slides (multiple) for the OTHER funding meeting that had an incredibly similar name and I totally missed the emails for.
  5. Poster for that same conference
  6. Executive summary (same conference)
  7. Stats presentation (fun…?)

I believe that covers it. Yeah it was a huge milestone with work that barely got started. So in order let’s get through this.

The video. Sent off the script and the slide for the video to my main-PI and Co-PI last night, everything was going smoothly and I recorded the video this morning. A four minute video ostensibly takes ~4 minutes to make after preparation. This took hours because I’m a perfectionist and don’t like screwing up my talk when I can just start over and get it right, start over and get it right, start over, get it right… See what’s happening here? Well eventually I got a recording I really liked and thought was great.

I sent it out, got good feedback from my main-PI who signed off on it. My Co-PI had some trouble with it and being the person I am even though he said it was fine I offered to fix it. So I did, again and again, repeatedly. But eventually I got a good video, everyone seems happy with it (I hope?!) and I submitted it before the deadline (barely). So check off two of the three things on the list right away, slide and video. Look at that off to a good start!

The poster I haven’t done yet. I know, don’t yell at me! I discovered that while I had to acknowledge I was presenting and fill out some forms it’s not due until Monday so guess what isn’t getting turned in until Monday? If you guessed my poster you would be correct.

Which brings us to my surprise conference (not unlike my surprise funding debacle). I get a lot of emails. I mean we all do, but as a grad student you get emails from everywhere. I get emails from predatory journals on a regular bases, I had no idea I was a doctor already, but they somehow think I am. Point being I sometimes gloss over them so when I saw reminders for this surprise conference I assumed it was for the I’m giving a talk conference! Easy mistake so long story shorter I now have all the stuff to do for that. I’m working on it as we speak (taking a break to write this obviously), but I’ve got the initial poster layout done, a few of the slides done, and (don’t tell anyone) I’m recycling the executive summary since it didn’t change from the last meeting. It’s all due tonight, but I just (as in midway into writing this) got an email letting me know that I can submit it Monday. How nice, well that takes a bit of the stress off and I won’t be staying up super late tonight.

So all seems good so far, right? Not quite. A lot of this got pushed to Monday so now I have a new deadline which I may or may not bore everyone with the details of all that, I don’t know how exciting it is to hear me flail wildly until somehow things get done. Then there’s the other issue. Remember that whole I can’t say no sometimes to cool projects post (this one)? I shot myself in the foot with that… again. I told my Co-PI I would be happy, no ecstatic! To go over the data results from that experiment with him on Monday. As in the Monday coming up, the same Monday everything else is now somehow due on.

I was originally okay with this timeline! This was days ago when I didn’t have anything going on after today. The universe hates me. After today my plan was to go into a coma for a few days, watch some Netflix, and try very hard not to use my brain for a few days to let it cool off. Can’t have everything I guess. While after today I hope things will slow down significantly, I won’t get an actual break for a couple more days at the least.

On the bright side, I’ve managed to somehow hit every single milestone I’ve HAD to hit up to this point. Once again I manage to rise to the occasion? It feels weird saying that since I don’t feel like I did anything particularly well. I just managed to get SOMETHING done, which I guess is slightly better than nothing. Maybe that’s the secret to getting your PhD, just do SOMETHING, even if it is garbage.

What will tomorrow hold? Probably some more work. But for now I just have my class to attend and a small presentation on the three part project we did. Sad to say, but after the past week that feels like a break already.


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