Like most graduate students I know, Google Calendar is my very best friend. The beginning of my semester was not too bad: I was taking one class (ANTH 509) for credit, auditing another (ANTH/BIOL 460), and teaching a third (BIOL 110 Lab). I knew going into it that ANTH 509, a proposal-writing class taught by PJ, was going to be pretty work-intensive. As a group of eight students, we read then reread each other's proposal sections, then provided reviews and detailed comments for everyone several times a week. We also reviewed proposals written by colleagues, and had several wonderful meetings with people who have direct experience on committees, in the Grants Offices, and a few presentations to top it all off. I audited Human Genetics (460) simply because of the level of reading and writing required for 509 plus the preparation and office hours mandated for teaching two lab sections a week. Between these three courses and the occasional 1-2 colloquiums I attended per week, my productivity was very low in anything that wasn't directly work-related, i.e. the blog (and my fitness, but we'll work that out this year too).
But like I said, the beginning of my semester was completely manageable. I was even able to attend an R Working Group once a week and prepare a nice update of my own research for our weekly lab meetings. Then everything changed when one of my fellow graduate students, Stephen, decided to make a career change towards becoming a physician's assistant. Stephen had been studying the evolution of parasites in humans, and wished to be closer to the actual patient-side of that realm of research. Before he made this decision, Stephen was serving as the laboratory manager for our research group. Essentially, this meant that Stephen was in charge of making sure everyone's lab work was being conducted safely and efficiently. Stephen would train all the new lab members, make sure we were sufficiently stocked with reagents and supplies, and maintain the overall order of our lab space. Once Stephen decided he was going to switch fields, his responsibilities became mine and all of a sudden my Google Calendar looked like this:
Now that a month has passed since I "became the new Stephen" (as quoted from one of my lab mates), I am comfortable enough with my responsibilities and can set a new schedule for myself. I am not taking any classes this semester, credit or no, and will only have to plan around colloquiums, a bit of travel here and there, and the weekly Perry lab meetings. I am so excited to use this semester to really get going on my dissertation research, and, of course, write more blog posts! My tentative plan is to write at least one post per week, depending on topic length, time doing lab work, etc, and I have plenty of ideas and experiences to share with you as time goes on. Wish me luck, and I hope your 2016 was as much your fresh start as it was for me :)