We're a little crazy, about science!

The BIG meeting

I am a simple man. I keep my life as simple as possible because some days I can barely get out of bed. Breakfast and lunch have been the same things for years and I’m okay with that, in fact dare I say, I look forward to it? I keep my hair cut short so I don’t have to even think about it and besides the things I need like money to live, I don’t go out of my way to complicate things. Aside from my education and the things related, I have very little that I NEED to do, so I can focus on surviving the day. It’s a good system.

I’m not sure if it’s always been this way or if it’s just because I’ve been writing about my journey now for a few years so you start to see patterns you miss, but my life is full of drama. More specifically, my education is full of drama. I used to think things were straightforward, but lately I’m starting to get the feeling that was never the case. Either way, I’m aware of this now so I go into writing today’s post knowing full well, we continue this trend.

Tomorrow is the day. I have a meeting with school-PI where I will tell him all about the issues hospital-PI has with the project I just got funding for. Ironically I’m really proud I got that funding, that was hard won and the result of so, so many rejections (the award!) and just being a better writer after getting so much feedback. As hospital-PI pointed out though, that’s my award, I can add it to my CV and no matter what happens, I won it. Okay, TECHNICALLY school-PI won it, but my name was actually on this one (unlike larger grants were grad students ghost write, which I’ve done) and I wrote the entire damn thing so I can say it’s mine.

Now for those unaware, hospital-PI had graciously offered to fully fund a similar project, but one more tailored to his lab and lab interests. It matches well with the R21 grant I wrote back at the beginning of the year and this data would help us reapply for that funding (which I think is the end goal of this experiment). The trick is this offer came several months too late so I have to pick which route I want to go and the ultimate choice is up to school-PI.

I know I keep talking about this, I know, but school-PI gets the final say in what I can and cannot do for my degree, so I’m hoping for a good outcome. The best outcome in my opinion would be doing both projects, but hospital-PI has made it painfully clear that I CANNOT do both. Even if I’m capable of doing both, he doesn’t want me to do both. Tough love I guess, since I would honestly be stretched super thin for the next few years if I did both.

Since that option is off the table, the next best thing would be to take hospital-PI’s offer and run with it. I am hopeful after explaining to school-PI this will be okay, but I don’t know yet how it will go. If he gives the approval then not a whole lot changes for me. I keep my nice new job, my fancy health insurance that doesn’t suck (fuck you VA), and I get to keep doing the clinical work that I really love doing.

The extreme would be he kicks me out of the lab, but as a certain friend has pointed out (Hi, and thank you!) that is probably not going to happen. In my mind, the other option and the one that is (I think) more likely is that school-PI will say no and I’ll be forced to leave the nice new job I just recently got and take my position back full-time at school-PI’s lab.

Now that’s not as bad as it sounds, it just is one more step removed from what I really want to be doing so it’s one step back to be able to take a huge leap forward when I actually get my PhD. Hospital-PI has already made it perfectly clear that if that happens and I need to leave, it wouldn’t hurt our relationship and I can always come back after I get my degree as a postdoc in his lab.

In short the worst case (worst likely case) scenario is still not all that bad. I would be sad, but I’ll survive and I’ll have surgeon-PI on the hospital side if I ever feel the urge to visit the OR again. Tomorrow is going to be a big day, so you would think I would be stressing out about it. I think partially thanks to blogging about it so much, I’ve just come to accept that either nothing will change or a whole lot will change and I just need to go with it for now.

I’m hoping for the better of the two outcomes, but if I’m honest with myself, I can’t complain too much if I have to take the other route. I’m pretty lucky to have two fully funded projects fighting for me, even if it doesn’t feel like it all the time.


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