I haven't posted. In eons. This seems to be fashionable among everyone in my little corner of the blogosphere lately. I haven't posted because I have been unable to transcribe laconically everything that bears reporting (yeah, I know how your anticipation has been eating at your soul).
For those faithful readers who can still recall, this is a blog about a research scientist with Crohn's disease on the path to a PhD. In the fall of 2009, I applied to four of the most super fancy PhD programs in Neuroscience in the nation. I was denied by all. In the fall of 2010, I fine-tuned my program choices and applied to four new schools more fitting to my interests and goals. This year, I was accepted by all.
Last week, following twelve days of intense interviewing [read: 27 interviews, three states, six plane flights] I was in the throes of a dark mental struggle between the two programs to which I had narrowed down. It came down to Semi-Prestigious Program with a terrific reputation, a guaranteed research agenda with multiple publications on the horizon, and a comfortably affordable lifestyle; and Second-Most-Prestigious Program in the Nation, with totally uncertain but potentially amazing opportunities (pending funding), and guaranteed forcing my husband to live in a box for the next six years.
How opportune that during the weekend before Valentine's day my poor husband was in another state attending the memorial of a late family friend and I was forced to stay home to finish my interviews and dwell, in my emotional weakness, on my very first life-changing decision: which of these two lives will be the most beneficial for us both? I wont lie, it was pretty depressing, and there was a substantial amount of American Dad and Tetris involved.
Fortunately, Valentine's day brought my husband's return, yummy hole-in-the-wall (-slash-victorian-house) Indian food, IBM's Watson on Jeopardy, and the joint-settling of that internal debate. We decided to accept the invitation of Second-Most Prestigious Program in the Nation. Don't misunderstand me -- one of the best things about this school is that for its amazing reputation, the environment is so laid back and the community of students and faculty is so collaborative that it is nigh familial. But I also can't deny that I was swooning at some of the legendary minds with whom I was privileged to interview.
2011 has been a surreal year for me. Following 2009-10's Crohn's saga and rejection from all of my programs of choice, I am in a very very different place. I am healthy-ish, married to a man who can only be described as ineffable, on my way to an amazing adventure (in dirt-poor student-land) and welcomed into the next step of developing my career. I have published three manuscripts in the last few months with two more in the works, and I have been awarded a fellowship from Second-Most Prestigious Program in the Nation just for being one of their "top recruits". Surreal. And I'm too excited to feel guilty about it. It's all happening.
More on the logistics of being a Crohn in a graduate science program to follow.