Thursday, January 15, 2009

An extra little side project.

My advisor is nearing retirement. He spends a lot of time working on projects that he has wanted to do for much of his academic career. He just does a lot of crazy and interesting things in general, but one of my favourite projects of his is a screenplay he is creating about a scientist who died for his beliefs. I won't give much more away, but to say that I am endlessly inspired by the creativity of the people I work with. They have had a big influence on helping me decide on the directions I am hoping/wanting to take over the next few years.

The other day a past student came into the lab to chat with Doug about life in general, it seems. Doug wasn't in, so she asked me about my work and the grad student lifestyle. We had a good chat and Doug showed up. I tried to focus on the analysis I had been working on, but in our lab it is impossible to stay entirely out of a conversation. Since I was sitting just down the lab bench Doug was using my experiences in the lab as examples of how one goes about securing a grad studies position. Doug loves to compare the committment of a Masters student to the committment of a partner in marriage. In his words, if you're entering grad school you are marrying your project. In my mind, it's a short-term marriage lasting on average 2 years sometimes including an extended period at the end were you just keep dragging things out and dragging things out until you just have to split because you can't take it anymore. Just dump yourself, already. heh. That being said, I know what he's getting at. To be successful in grad school you need to trust your instincts, dive in head first, dedicate yourself to your work, love what you're doing (ha - at the analogy, of course...I love my work), and accept that this will change you, generally for the better (there are always exceptions to the rule). Anyway, on this particular day, Doug took this analogy to another level. He started talking about me as the scientist kid. He is my scientist father, his advisor is my scientist grand-father, and so forth back to the days of my old, affluent, white-men scientist forefathers.

This idea really caught my attention.

So, aside from figuring myself out, I'm going to use this space to develop my scientific family tree. I have a feeling that this will be much easier than regular family-tree making. I won't have any gravestones to take rubbings from and universities are very good record keepers.

So to start out, let me introduce you to my scientific immediate family: The Cliff Ecology Research Group. I've got nothing but love for these ones.


No comments:

Post a Comment