In my Defense…

Remember back in first year we didn’t know each other yet and we bonded over dinosaurs (and languages apparently…) during the TA training?

Welp, I am about to enter my 6th year of grad school which means that some of my lucky friends in my class are starting to defend their theses and then graduate! Since I’m probably going be talking more and more about defenses as we get more into the season, I thought I would take a minute to give you a run down about how grad school works in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry here at CU. So during our first year, we have this crazy schedule that involves classes, TAing (usually general chemistry or biochemistry), and trying to find a research group to join. We also have a written test about our knowledge of chemistry or biochemistry that we either took every first Saturday of each month until we passed a certain number of them (the Chemists did this) or that we took one epic day the August after our first year (We biochemists did this). Then our second year was full of finishing up our classes, doing research in our labs, and preparing for a scary oral exam where three professors spend two hours asking us about anything in chemistry and biochemistry to make sure we understand enough science to do our projects (the point is to see how you handle not knowing the answer so it’s a pretty awful two hours…). After that, the remaining years of grad school are full of science, going to conferences, (hopefully) writing papers about our findings, fighting with instruments not working/cells not growing/something breaking/procedures not going right after they worked perfectly every other time, making mistakes/figuring them out, etc until finally one day, it is time to write up everything we’ve done in a nice neat little package called a thesis, present our work to our faculty committee, our peers, and our families and then (after the presentation when everyone except our committee members leaves) defend our theses to gain the title of PhD. Whew… It’s a ride. And I’m not even done yet… but someone is…

This picture was taken when we were walking back from lunch one day and there was this crazy prop sale by the theater department…

The first of my friends in my class, P, defended his thesis today! Yayyyyy! P I am so proud of you! I remember back in our first year P and I used to do homework together and talk about graduating like it would happen at some point in the distant future. I also distinctly remember getting confused when I was teaching a lab and I ran downstairs to the lab P was teaching in so I could ask for his help. After our first year, we stayed friends and caught up over lunch almost every week. It was especially fun last year because we were both planning our respective weddings and so we could compare wedding planning notes in addition to catching up with why science infuriated/excited us that week. There was also much soccer and kite flying and other adventures. We even tried to take a kendo class together one semester at the school rec center but found that we both liked trying to stab each other/sword fighting with the shinais (kendo sticks) better. You made grad school more bearable and fun for me, friend and I’m really really going to miss you when you and P make your big move this fall but I am super excited for what happens next for you guys! Congrats friend! :D

Back on the dinosaur theme… this is us not paying attention in one of those TA meetings we had to attend after classes on Fridays during our first year…
Also one time we went cross country skiing at night on the hill behind P’s house even though it was freakishly cold (3 degrees F?) outside…
Even our stuffed animals (Scrarmpl and Munchers) were friends and got to go on adventures!

What are you guys up to this weekend? I think I am going to be sleeping. I know I say that a lot but seriously… this week was REALLY intense…

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3 thoughts on “In my Defense…

  1. I second the sleeping. Waking up is still up for debate.

    I’m starting work on a costume and doing tons of baking and baking prep for finishing later in the week, and Geoff is finishing the deck off. So pretty much my weekend is going to rock and his is going to suck, and come Monday we’re both going to be too tired to have any remote desire to get up for work.

  2. Ahh this weekend… for once, I have nothing planned! Really strange not to have anything on the docket… Oh, Dave and I will be going to a concert on Sunday night. Right now I’m addicted to Mad Men so I’ll probably watch a couple of episodes. I can’t believe that show!

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