exsequar: (FF Tams blood is thicker)
Time for a melancholy late night post.

This week has absolutely vanished. What am I doing with my time? I don't know. I've been fighting tooth and nail with this publication I'm trying to write for weeks (well, months) now. I had a period in January where I was super productive, then I skidded to a halt for various reasons and had a hard time getting over the activation barrier. I think I finally did it today though, just in time for my boss's return tomorrow. Phew.

Science is frustrating the shit out of me. Most days I hate it.

I got an email from my undergrad chemistry department's secretary. She wants a current photo of me to post on a bulletin board next to an essay I wrote for the department when I was a senior in college. The essay is titled "A Mile in Shoes that Don't Fit" and it's about how by doing research I realized that I... didn't want to do research.

A couple months later, I let other people change my mind. Now I'm at grad school.

So she wants my photo to put up my essay which might as well be titled "Anne is a Hypocrite." Excellent.

I wish I had listened to my instincts.

Tonight was a Very Bad No Good night. First I learned that Ryan J is leaving Empires. What the fuck. That means I likely saw his last show with them a couple weeks ago. I mean, I'm grateful to have had that, but RYAN!! :'((( I love Ryan so very much and the band won't be the same without him. I still remember my first Empires show in Baltimore, ages upon ages ago, when he cut his finger and showed us the blood, and shot nerf darts at Sean, and happily signed the print of Howl's cover that I had printed. He's such a joy to be around, always smiling, always kind and warm. And oh how he wails on those drums. I will miss him so very, very much. Bye Ryan J. :(

Then I learned of the very tragic suicide of a young man, a fellow football fan, whom I did not know but who was friends with friends of mine. I read his Twitter and his thoughtful, aching Tumblr posts. I couldn't help but notice how often the word death came up in the last couple weeks. I didn't know him but I saw a lovely, kind soul, a soul in so much pain, and I am inexpressibly sad that he could not find help. He was clearly loved and he will be missed. I am sorry that I never knew him. RIP James.

I rounded off this spectacular evening by watching the film Third Star, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch. He plays a young man dying of cancer who goes on one last trip with his friends. It is a lovely, tragic film, aching and fragmented and messy and it's about how sometimes you just don't have time to have a neat ending. So of course I ended that sobbing my eyeballs out.

Yeah. It's been a night. Off to bed with me.
Mood:: 'melancholy' melancholy
exsequar: (BoB Lieb too old too fast)
Things that make life better:




And finally,


exsequar: (Noel victory!)
posted by [personal profile] exsequar at 04:59pm on 16/05/2009 under , , , ,
I have officially graduated Summa Cum Laude from Franklin and Marshall College with a BA in Chemistry! \o/

It was a pretty great day, though I can't believe it's over. It was overcast and breezy with some distant thunder but never actually rained, I believe due to the sheer force of Colin Powell's will. He was quite a charismatic speaker, and I got to shake his hand! \o/ I'll probably post about the day in more detail for my own remembrance's sake, but suffice to say that Dr. Mehl almost made me cry with the lovely things he said about me to my parents.

Right now I'm going to go faceplant. But yay!! I am officially a college graduate! The culmination of a lot of blood sweat and tears. Hurrah. :)
Mood:: 'accomplished' accomplished
exsequar: ((TW) Barrowman thumbs up!)
posted by [personal profile] exsequar at 05:40pm on 14/03/2009 under , , , , , ,
I LOVE Michigan. I love it. The professors, the students, the research, the campus, the program, the resources, the city. EVERYTHING. I would be hard pressed to give you a concrete negative (other than it's Not Seattle, and even that's a mixed thing) and if you'll remember my reaction to UCSF, that was kind of the opposite thing (lots of negatives, mediated by a few important positives).

So, in short, I am going to enroll in the Chemical Biology Doctoral Program at the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN!

:D :D :D

The more I find out about this place, the more boggled I am by my (near-instant!) acceptance. Most of the kids here this weekend were just invited out, the decisions will be made next week, but I got a straight up acceptance with an extra fellowship to boot! Apparently they saw something they REALLY liked in me, which is flattering and awesome, but does not quite compute! This place is fucking top notch, and the Chemical Biology program is a special butterfly even within that environment. My grad student host said that CB kids are the "cream of the crop" and basically have no trouble getting rotations in whatever lab they want. It's really really exciting to be asked (nay, begged!) to join that group of incredible people. I just hope I can live up!

Today's been a very long day (this is my first moment to breathe) but very rewarding. I had interviews with 6 professors and met lots of students at the lunch and things. Every single one of the professors was nice, gracious, welcoming, and ridiiiculously smart. The research going on here is just extremely high caliber. The man whose work most intrigued me on the website is an enthusiastic, brilliant, slightly manic guy who explained is research in an extremely clear and exciting way. I would LOVE to work with him. The girl assigned to usher me around works in his lab too so I got to ask her all kinds of questions. She said he's very involved in the lab, walking around once a day to check on things, which means a lot of contact even though he's got 10 students. He also knows my biochem professor at F&M (Dr. Mehl) and thinks he's awesome. His work is totally groundbreaking Alzheimer's research and I would love love love to be a part of it.

The other professors all had great work too. I could actually, honestly see myself working with all of them. Some more than others, but considering I only met 6 out of 42 (42 professors to choose from for 10 incoming students! Amazing.) I think that it would be no problem at all to find a perfect fit for myself. The sort of thematic focuses of the program are very much areas that I'd love to work in, so all of that is extremely encouraging.

I am SO pleased. I can absolutely see myself living, laughing, loving here. I'll be so close to all of my extended family, and the cost of living means that my very generous stipend will ensure a very comfortable lifestyle. I am so glad that UM itself makes those things only fringe benefits, instead of the main reason for coming. I've just really loved the atmosphere of the department and the program. All of the students seem totally, genuinely happy, even the 3rd and 4th years. They all love Ann Arbor and the work they're doing and are very happy with their choice of UM. I couldn't ask for more.

Mood:: 'jubilant' jubilant
exsequar: (Misc Molecules I get!)
I have been questioning, for some time, my current path on the way to acquiring a PhD in biochemistry or some related field. That has always seemed to be the ultimate goal, and a very easy one to say, as people will nod and smile and think that's perfectly reasonable and logical and impressive. However, it's never something I've particularly desired, in any kind of heartfelt way. I have now done two summers of research and am underway on my third (the first was very biologically oriented, the second and third pure organic chemistry), and while I find the overall ideas of both of the projects I have worked on quite fascinating, the actual day-to-day work I find rather stultifying and frustrating. The prospect of spending five years on one project terrifies me, and is rather distasteful to boot. I doubt my own abilities quite severely to be anything more than an average chemist. I learn very quickly when I am taught specific things, but general application and synthesis of everything I've learned I find much more difficult, and I constantly disappoint myself with my inability to bring things I already learned to the table and apply them to a new situation.

So that is all a long way of saying that I have been reconsidering, in a very vague and general way, my future course. I keep mentioning to my dad sort of semi-seriously that I don't know if chemistry is for me, and he says well, then, you need to think about your options. Tonight I was sort of whining halfheartedly at [livejournal.com profile] unamaga about how I don't really want to do grad school in chemistry, and instead of just patting me on the head, she started suggesting alternatives and got my brain a-whirring.

This brought to the front of my mind something I've thought about fleetingly a lot before - science writing. I am a very good writer, not to toot my own horn or anything, but professors in every class that I have ever had in which essay writing was involved (english, philosophy, sociology, even a class on mathematics and art) have expressed astonishment and great praise for my level of writing skill. It's something I've always prided myself on, but I didn't know how to use it.

Every time I start thinking along these lines, I then veer off onto "But I don't want to leave science behind!" Because science is AWESOME. I understand it very well, and I am frequently fascinated and enthralled by the things I learn.

So how do I combine those? Well, I write about science! And I wasn't sure what kind of field there was for that, so I went Googling. What I found kind of made me flail my hands in the air: the Graduate Program in Science Writing at MIT. It's a one year masters program. That whole website just made me want to jump out of my chair and go do it RIGHT NOW. This is a complete contrast to when I picked up a book on chemistry graduate programs the other day - that made me wince and was rather terrifying. This website... I kept going YES. YES THAT'S IT EXACTLY. They described science writers as "humanists, one foot in the sciences, the other in the arts, as apt to be seduced by a shapely sentence as by an elegant scientific idea." They also proposed that people who might like to study science writing are "working scientists and engineers perhaps more drawn to the intellectual excitement of science and technology than to its day-to-day practice." *flaps hands* THAT'S ME, YOU GUYS. ME. I love WORDS but I also love SCIENCE, and to get to squish them together.... ack. The intensive seminar they described sounded SO fascinating, and you get to do any sort of elective you want! Someone took "Writing Science Fiction"!! I just... I can't even. This sounds incredible. The thesis excerpts are fascinating, and read more like a good book than a boring old science paper. I HATE reading chemistry journal articles, but I love news articles ABOUT chemistry, or TV programs, or books.

Now obviously there's a very slim chance that I'd get into MIT's program. And after poking around the internet a little more, it's obvious that it's not all sunshine and rainbows like the website made it out to be. However, it is far far FAR more appealing to me than spending the rest of my life in labs.

There's also the practical fact that.. well, you get PAID to go to graduate school in chemistry. This is because they know it is brutal and impossible and you cannot possibly have a job at the same time, so basically that's the only way they'll ever get anybody to do it. It was a significant motivating factor in keeping that as my goal. However, a writing science masters is only a year long, and while expensive I'm sure I could get grants and scholarships, and also since I'm pretty much definitely taking at least a year off before I do any grad school, I could get a job and save up to put myself through the program.

Does anyone have any thoughts? Advice? Am I being completely batty? It's kind of... novel, and exciting, and scary to have a different possible path in front of me. Meep!
Mood:: 'thoughtful' thoughtful
exsequar: (Girlyrock - MCR -  Mikey skeptical)
posted by [personal profile] exsequar at 04:51pm on 02/02/2008 under , , , , ,
I'm terribly sorry, it seems that all I've been posting lately is drunk posts, and I think the charm has worn off :-/ It's just that for some reason I feel like I don't really have anything to say! I actually have a real life to distract me, so like, spending time talking about fannish things doesn't appeal as much? IDK! I mean, I spend plenty of time READING about fannish things (y'all rock, seriously) but I just don't feel like I have anything to contribute to the dialogue! Maybe I'll put together my LOTMS capspam, hmmm.

My toes are cold. I accidentally slept in til 3:30, so now the sun is setting but I only just got up. It kind of sucks, TBQH. I meant to go with my roommate and her boyfriend to Kilmainham Gaol, but obviously THAT didn't happen. I feel like such a blob :( The party was quite fun, but it was kind of a weird combination of people. My favorites are all completely different from each other, it's strange! Bren finally came though, I haven't seen him outside of sci fi committee meetings for a looooong time. I'm glad he did, he's a sweetheart.

I don't know, though, I feel like such an idiot for all the angsting I did now. I seemed to be assuming a lot more people would actually, you know, attend the party I invited them to :-/ And like, I got really drunk and was kind of the clown? Which is sort of fun at the time, but in retrospect it's jut ridiculous and stupid and kind of embarrassing. On top of that I'm pretty sure neither of the two guys I find unbelievably adorable are interested in me at all, and I just. NOT A GOOD HEADSPACE RIGHT NOW. Again. Meh.

I have almost no food in the house, but I can't quite motivate myself to go to the store. Yet I should. COME ON ANNE. *kicks self in the ass*

Let's have an absolutely adorable new photo of the MCR boys to offset the emo...

Giggles! )

I just burned my pancake!! This is a morning day of massive fail, despite MCR adorableness /o\
Mood:: 'blah' blah
exsequar: (Girlyrock - Panic! - Ryro happy hippy)
Sometimes it's the little moments that make your day. This morning after my 9 AM lecture, I walked past my friend Niall (the one from chemistry, not sci fi) cycling in, wearing his adorable hat with the earflaps. He smiled his shy yet beautiful smile, which always looks like it's stealing its way across his face of its own volition, taking him by surprise. I smiled back brightly and gave a little wave. A few steps past him, I turned over my shoulder for another look, as you do, and my eyes met his smile-crinkled ones, as he was doing the same thing. I quickly turned back and my face split into a massive grin - there may or may not have been a giggle, you can't prove anything!

So, there's that :)

This morning, I also pre-orded my obscenely expensive Pretty. Odd. deluxe package. I'm quite excited for it, but slightly bitter because 1) What the hell am I going to do with a huge clunky disc of plastic? and 2) Shipping was $20, largely because of said disc of plastic. However, I know this is something I'll probably regret not having, and if I end up not liking the album or something crazy like that, I can always sell it, probably for a pretty penny. My rationalization for spending the $70 (!) is that I'm not going to be going to a concert any time soon, and I would have spent far more than that had I tried to make it to one of the UK shows in March (which I have, for the record, decided against). So! That's that. You better be really fucking adorable in that DVD, Panic children!

Last night I spent over two hours chatting with new friend Paul on MSN, and a good while texting with Dara who is hilarious and sweet. Together they make up this duo of overwhelming adorable, I can't even stand it omg <3333 They're both coming to my house party on Friday, yaye! Paul is really fun to chat to on MSN, he's actually expressive and uses full sentences and cute little XD smilies and is generally just so cute. (My experience with most guys I know irl online is... pretty much the opposite. Boring and terse, yawn!) He talked about how he's usually very introverted in social situations, and I was very proud that he wasn't like that at all when we were hanging out, because I didn't let him withdraw from the fun. \o/ Tonight we're hanging out at the sci fi Halo3 tournament, rock on geek power!

Still really really happy you guys. Still waiting for the other shoe to drop! I even had an amazing lecture this morning at 9 AM, what the hell. Bwee :)
Mood:: 'content' content
Music:: MCR - Bullets!
exsequar: ((TW) Captain Jack cries)
posted by [personal profile] exsequar at 06:13pm on 30/03/2007 under , , , , ,
Oh my god, Life. If you royally fuck over ANY MORE OF MY FRIENDS, then I am DONE WITH YOU. Holy shit. Back off, alright? All these wonderful, kind, amazing people subjected to tragedies, day after day. It's overwhelming. And I feel helpless, knowing I can do nothing for these people that I love.

I believe other people have said this before me, but 2007? YOU LOSE.
Mood:: 'angry' angry


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