Graduate School Lectures

It has been a long time since my undergrad days. So naturally, having to take time off in the middle of my work day (mostly doing one thing or another in the lab) to sit in a lecture theater is viewed as a hindrance.

That said, I actually found at least 70% of the lectures that I attended pretty helpful, especially for someone who has just transited from module credit research to academic research. Sometimes you just need other people to point out stuff to you instead of learning these ‘soft skills’ the old fashion way (took around 3 years for me). Its amazing how much information you can gain in one 2 hours if only you’d listen.

Also people are expected to speak up in class, your opinions matter, sometimes for a percentage of your grades, other times, to keep the discussion going. More people speak up, I’m still trying to work up the courage to do that.

The biggest difference? There is no content to memorize! At least for the ones I’m reading now (pharmacology is essentially still memorization, I heard). I am enjoying this quite a bit, seems like when the pressure of digesting new content is taken away I tend to listen more closely.

But it seems like the small class size means that priority goes to the lecturer during timetable planning. *rant start*Is it too much to ask for lectures to not be in the middle of the day? I’m having trouble planning my experiments around these. Been staying late more often then I can stand. *rant over*

Anyway, crazy month is half over BUT assignment deadline/ presentation month is coming up.

*Manic shifty eyes*


Hello from the other side

I just read the previous post (written 2 years ago). Well, yes I still agree with everything that was written. The most accurate point being that I wrote more when I was a student.

Lo and behold, I am a student again!

Okay, it may not come as a surprise for many people who had to sit through hours of my rants and occasional cries at unsuccessful applications. Long story short:

(1) I am a first author of a scientific paper.

Steroid Hormone Signaling Is Essential for Pheromone Production and Oenocyte Survival

The whole review process took about 9 months and though I wasn’t directly involved in doing the additional experiments, I was disproportionately stressed precisely because I could not be involved in doing those experiments.

I sincerely thank all JY lab alumni for all their thoughtful input and contributions. I am eternally grateful.

With that out of the way

(2) I have been working in a microbiology lab for 2 years now.

Never say never indeed. I was pretty adamant about my dislike of microbiology and after some introspection, concluded that this stemmed from the bad experience from the last ever microbiology module that I read as an undergrad.

I was told that my lab report lacked the elusive ‘X factor’ and therefore did not get a good grade. He did not elaborate. I was too offended to ask again (which unfortunately led to a subpar grade). I am still stealthily trying to find out what happened to that particular TA (to no avail). Teacher friends out there, please let this be a negative example.

I have to say that having a supervisor who is willing to answer even the most basic questions without judging (too much, I know he does -___-) really did help me warm up to this field relatively quickly.

I was flailing for the first 2 months though. Looking back, I’d have to admit that if I were my boss I would have regretted hiring me at that time. But thankfully some potential must have shone through, because:

(3) I got into the “highly competitive” graduate program.

There is a whole saga right here. Would skip over the whole long and convoluted story and say that 贵人s are important in life. If you work hard enough in front of people who value it, opportunities will present itself. And when it does, grasp it, show your appreciation and do not look back.

Easier said than done, I know.

So now while I get to enjoy student benefits again, I would have to cope with being a full time staff and part time student. Here’s to hoping that I retain my sanity for the next 4 years and that this is not the only post in 2 years.


And some things just stay the same

I think I have mentioned before that there is a trend in my posting frequency.

Peaks usually appear during exam periods (i.e. long hours at my desk and after getting a laptop, in front of my laptop)  due to me not wanting to read/digest the pile of information on my notes and when I am trapped at home and bored during the long term breaks. After I started working, these frenzies usually come at times when I am stressed out or when I have to read papers (escapism) or write manuscripts (purge all incoherent thoughts).

My digital footprint diminishes when I actually have things to do outside of the house or more often than not in recent years, having nothing to write about. Which was what happened in the last few months.

Alas, I am back from living under the rock (I did not even notice the haze until I started temp-ing. That was an amazing feat…), so be prepared for more incoherent ramblings of confusion (new job)/ frustration/ insecuritites/ elation (hopefully)/ mundanity/ sadness/ nostalgia/ happiness to come.

*goes back to reading microB papers*

*never say never*

When Life gives you lemons

Make a tequila shot! This MV totally embraces this adage. It was (according to wikipedia) filming during the Hurricane Sandy power outage in Manhattan. I wonder who organised the flashlight rave…

Still a favourite of mine although this is probably the first time I’ve heard it in months. I once listened to it on loop for entire days to clobber together a draft for a manuscript 😀

Some people write like this

What if I can’t be all that you need me to be
We’ve got a good thing going, we have some promises to keep
But my addiction it can be such a detriment
Please believe in this my dear, I am more than penitent

What if everything’s just the way that it will be
Could it be that I am meant to cause you all this grief
My war ships are lying off the coast of your delicate heart
And my aim is steady and true as it’s been right from the start

So when we leave it’ll be a quick midnight escape
We’ll disconnect ourselves from all of yesterday
I’ll dig for water and fashion our very own wishing well
Then we’ll throw our coins down hoping to rid of us of this little hell

There’s a degree of difficulty in dealing with me
From my haunted past comes a daunting task of living through memories.
If we could just hang a mirror on the bedroom wall, stare into the past and forget it all

Will we get out of this little hell

Will we get out of this little hell