Posts Tagged ‘graduate school’

Japan (As Magical As You Think It Is)

So it’s about 800 degrees centigrade and I’m wondering if I’ve lost my mind hiking Mt. Arashiyama in this heat. I turn and watch two children and their elderly grandparents skip gaily up the trail as if the incline and humidity are non-existent, and I curse their effervescence. I start gathering leaves and sticks to form a sort of make-shift grave site and mentally draft my goodbye note to my friends and family, because surely … Read More

Let The Evening Come

This is the beginning of my fourth year of graduate school, that membranous transition period between the eager expectation of third year and the panicked frenzy of fifth year. Many of my older classmates have told me that fourth year was unequivocally their most challenging, the one brimming with more knee-weakening moments of despair, self-doubt and raw frustration than any other. (I know—what an auspicious start to the year. It’s the post-bac equivalent of your … Read More

The Best is Yet to Come, Part II: Reflections on Graduate School

StudentSpeak is pleased to share this guest post from Kelly Chacón, who graduates June 5 with her doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. For Part I of Kelly’s post, click here. Finally my fifth year arrived. I was ready to finish, even if I wasn’t actually ready to finish. My third paper was published, which is the deal we make for graduation in my lab. And I was accepted to give a little “data blitz” at … Read More

The Best is Yet to Come: Reflections on Graduate School

StudentSpeak is pleased to share this guest post from Kelly Chacón, who graduates June 5 with her doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Sometimes I like to tell people that graduate school is a lot like marriage, but to a place and people that you love, but aren’t, like, in love with. This feeling about grad school has only sharpened now that I am a newly-minted Ph.D. (well, so long as I get my butt in … Read More

Only Three Minutes

Let’s pretend you’ve signed up for the Three Minute Thesis. What that means is you’ve got three minutes to explain your thesis—both the results and significance of your project—to a non-scientific audience. Why did you do it? First, it’s good public speaking practice. Second, it’s a great opportunity to express your creativity. While you know that science is wonderfully, elegantly creative, it’s hard to convey that creativity to people outside of science. The crux of … Read More


It was Friday. Finally. The day had been circled, stared, and highlighted on the calendar, serving as a constant reminder to prepare my mind and hedge my future. Weeks out, my friends had noted the build up, and the countdown began at seven days. Thursday night, I slunk into bed, exhausted, and quickly drowned into a deep and efficient sleep. But my mind remained aware. I awoke wide-eyed, switching off my 4:45 alarm before it … Read More

Up a Wall Without a Paddle… Or Something Like That

I’m not crazy, but people have given me looks that suggest otherwise. These situations usually occur after I’ve mentioned I’m a graduate student. The probability of receiving the “look” increases when I say I’m in the Behavioral Neuroscience program, and it increases further when I explain that it will take 5-7 years to graduate. When I explain a post-doctoral fellowship is routine, the look is a near certainty. “Well, you’ll be able to help diagnose … Read More

Null Data, or What It Isn’t

Fourth year. It means different things to different people. Sometimes it means the end is in sight, you have a paper out and next year you will graduate. Sometimes it means that the end was in sight, but it has relocated somewhere on the map, you can’t find it, and you’ve stumbled into a very dark cavern where the walls are getting closer and closer as you move forward. And sometimes it just means you … Read More

New Kid on the Block

I’m in grad school. It’s kind of weird for me to say that because it still feels new to me.  I’ve been in the Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU for just little over a month, and there are so many things I want to share: moving to a new city, my first rotation, being back in class after a two year hiatus… I’ll spare you from most of it for now. I imagine my first … Read More

A belated welcome!

A warm welcome to my new OHSU student colleagues! It is hard to believe that the fall term started over a month ago. The new student orientation is over and midterms are upon us. I wanted to take a few minutes and share some thoughts with my fellow mid-career adult students. First, take a minute to congratulate yourself on your decision to further your education. Few people who are mid-career return to further their education, … Read More



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