Thursday, January 12, 2012

Welcome to the 2012 Edition

I missed the boat on creating a year in review blog, but to summarize, all-in-all 2011 was a good year professionally. Good things: one federal and one internal grant funded, group is growing, lab dynamic seems ok, results starting to slowly trickle in, putting together drafts for two papers. Took a real vacation during the recent break. Didn't check my email for a whole week, didn't bring my laptop with me. It was great.

Funny thing though, I feel very guilty telling my colleagues about it and I get the feeling that they are a bit jealous. This self imposed craziness and constant Science is a bit rediculous. Academia is a business and a job these days more than ever and we are not being paid enough to work like slaves. Notice, the administration isn't working nearly as much and yet they get paid significantly more. Us scientists need to calm the fuck down. The world can wait one extra day for the next big scientific breakthrough. I'm taking my vacation and if you don't grant me tenure for that, then you all can go screw yourselves.

Bad things: lost one of my first graduate students, another one didn't work out. What stings the most though are the teacher evaluations I got last semester. My scores dropped significantly and I got several mean comments. This is after I implemented the suggestions from the previous semester to improve the course. I hope this isn't a trend, but I also understand the criticism. Most of the comments had to do with students saying that they could have taught themselves the material and that they want to get more out of the lectures. With the rising cost of education, students are starting to expect more and more from classes. I think even faculty at elite research universities are going to start hearing it, if they aren't already.

2012 is looking busy. I'm teaching a new course this semester so I have to invest a bunch of time into that. I'm a bit jealous of the new hires that were able to negotiate a semester off from teaching. I wonder if I should have stonewalled during negotiations and said that it would be a deal breaker. Got some new ideas for grant proposals, which means the creative juices are flowing. Now the cricky part is getting the preliminary data to support the ideas. Thought about making an animal sacrifice as the reviewer panel for my NIH grant met today.