Dec 15, 2016, Thursday: Apparently, I'm in early labor!
Dec 14, 2016, Wednesday: First bad draft of paper, check!
Dec 12, 2016, Monday: James's birthday and figures continue
Dec 10, 2016, Saturday: Making figures for paper
Dec 9, 2016, Friday: Last day at Emory and nervous breakdown
Mood swings and fighting fears. I am having all sorts of moody, hormonal swings - at least today I did - making up for lost time, having had a good pregnancy so far. Today, it was terror that I'd suck at science after my baby was born. I got lots of encouragement from friends though.
Nervous breakdown. I had a nervous breakdown in my boss's office, and said I couldn't figure out how to write a paper. NOT how I wanted my last meeting to go. Though maybe I'll do one more. I wanted to leave, and be strong! Show a strong face, that I can do this. But that's not how I feel, right now. I'm just overly emotional and sometimes terrified. The closer the due date gets, the worse it gets. This past week sucked, because I didn't know what I was doing. I tried to do a lot of things, but nothing worked as I planned. I should have worked on figures in Illustrator! *headdesk* Why didn't I??? I had all sorts of stuff written out to say in my meeting, but I said none of it because I was too upset. I felt like an idiot. Fortunately, my boss is nice and doesn't get mad at me. Don't want to abuse that kindness though. I have not made a good showing this fall.
Comforting labmates. See? I promise, you grad students out there, you can't do worse than me. I went to Josh for a hug afterward, and he showed me how his paper was coming, and how these other paper writers were intimidating him with equations and seemed like gods. He talked about how a grad student was an enzyme for turning caffeine into figures. Most of the lab eventually congregated on the spot - people kept collecting - and offering their comforting stories and funny jokes. I love my lab. I will miss them. I said bye to them all. I feel like I'm going into outer space on some unknown, dangerous mission, from which I might not return. I was feeling super emotional (obviously) and leaving was hard. But I will be back. With 1 extra.
Dec 8, 2016, Thursday: I overdid it a bit today, walking too far
Walking to BEST was a mistake. I met with my Oxford mentee for lunch / snack at the restaurant by the train tracks. Then I went to the BEST program meeting, but walking there, I realized, I had overdone it at last. I could hardly walk, carrying my laptop and notebook. It seemed such a long way to Nursing School building. A nice lady noticed me struggling along and carried my stuff for me all the way to nursing. It was so encouraging, and I made it the rest of the way. And Tami, the BEST coordinator, drove me back to my car. So praise the Lord, I didn't have to walk back at least, and the way there was made more bearable in the end. I realized my long walking days have come to an end, at least until the baby gets here. This is the first time I literally felt like I couldn't do it anymore.
Tomorrow is my last day. I won't stop working until the baby gets here OR a week before Christmas - whichever is first. However, my last day at Emory is tomorrow. I have a final meeting with my boss (Khalid) to finalize the paper outline, so I can just work on writing it at home next week. BEST classes will not happen the rest of Dec. So, I'm home free until Jan / Feb, when I'll at least go back to BEST again, probably.
Dec 7, 2016, Wednesday: A day of crappy paper writing at home
Crappy paper writing. So, I stayed at home and worked on writing my paper. It was grueling and makes no sense. I have no idea what I am doing. I tried to write an outline, look at example papers, read the guidelines and do all the things. But it's still hard as crap. I wrote a bunch of stuff that sounded like crap. I eventually went back to writing the methods section. It's 3/4th done. Tomorrow I'll try to finish it. If anyone out there has pointers, tweet or email me. I'll take all I can get.
The one good thing. I did get to eat a bunch of hellodollies though. That was good. Mom made them. Mom also was super sweet and helped clean our house while I worked on writing.
Twitter. I also tried to make Khalid more popular on Twitter, but it didn't work. I gained him 2 followers. Hmmm. More work needs doing. It was fun to try though. I gained more popularity by tweeting about him for myself than for him. That's unfair. I'm not that popular on Twitter either. That's probably the problem. I also don't tweet that much. It mostly comes in phases, when something interesting happens in lab or a new paper is published, I'll tweet it. I hope to be more consistent one day. We'll see.
Dec 6, 2016, Tuesday: Meeting my best friend for lunch
Dec 4, 2016, Sunday
What I've been up to in graduate school the last few months
Writing an NIH F31 grant. After the experiments, I focused on finishing writing this grant, that had 16 separate documents required for its submission. It was a huge pain, very challenging - but - I learned a lot writing it and it was my first real grant submission (sort of - it's technically a fellowship, or medium grant - the real grants are called RO1's). I finally submitted it on Dec 1st.
Working on my first paper. Now that I'm done with the grant, I've been focusing on writing my first paper ... or trying to figure out how to do that, that is. O.o I re-read the Whitesides and Weitz lab's articles on paper writing, and downloaded ACS Nano's guidelines, as that is the journal I'll be aiming for. Victor thinks it's a bit of a long shot without cell data, and he's probably right, but there's no harm in trying.
What I've been up to at home...
I'm 37 weeks today! Thoughts and Reflections
It's surreal. However, even knowing that it is almost Christmas (my due date) and the baby will be here before I know it, it still seems unreal to me. I don't think I'll be able to fathom motherhood until I am holding him. It's weird, but the closeness of the date doesn't seem to equate to a greater understanding of its reality.
Classes. I went to all the maternity evening classes at Gwinnett Medical. I am kind of freaked out about going into labor. I would ask, please pray I have a nice, safe delivery. Hopefully, being already dilated somewhat will help.
Anticipation. I cannot wait to have this baby! Yes, I don't want to be pregnant. But I also want to find out what it will be like to hold him, and to really be a mom. What a wonderful Christmas present. It couldn't be better. I intend to blog about it. Stay tuned!