3 weeks down

Okay. I’ve almost made it through the first month of grad school. I think things are going..alright? It’s definitely a different ballgame from undergrad, I have a lot more plates to juggle. I’m in two classes and one seminar this semester, with one class per day and the seminar once a week on Friday’s. Classes don’t take up my time, but writing grant proposals is what is occupying my hours during the day. Writing a proposal is trying to sell your research idea to people who have money to spend, except that there are thousands of other scientists trying for that money the same time as you. For me, this has proven to be a little difficult right off the bat because I’m still trying to wrap my head around my entire project and everything that could come out of it.

Another thing I find myself doing a lot is signing up for things to do. I’m not sure why I think I’m bored but there are so many organizations sending out emails with interesting things and events. Today I went to the Association of Women In Science (AWIS) welcome dinner. I am interested in volunteering with their annual science fair at a local middle school next spring as well as joining their mentoring circles. AWIS seems like it will be a good organization to meet a variety of people and be involved in a few events. I applied to be a Science Communication Fellow with the U Mich Natural History Museum but didn’t get into that this time. Probably a good thing I didn’t get into that this semester.

I have been making sure I get in physical activity, however. Twice a week I go to yoga and then do a strength workout class and run when I can. Yoga has proven to be very effective in keeping my mind clear and body pain-free even when sitting or standing for long periods of time. I really look forward to those yoga classes and always feel much better afterwards. Cooking on Sunday’s has also been part of my routine.

Everyone in my 1st year cohort is proving to be great. Most of us are in our shared office and take classes together and I feel like I’m getting to know a subset of the group fairly well. I know that they will be the ones who will go through everything with me so it makes me happy to know they’re great, authentic people.

These past couple weeks I’ve been heading over to the chemistry building to work with a grad student in one of the labs on electroplating my gold capsules with copper. This entails using electricity to put a thin coat of copper onto a gold capsule so we can bake it in before loading experiments into them. This way the copper in the experiments doesn’t interact with the capsule material and change the composition. Electroplating has proven to be a bit difficult as the copper coating has been anything but even on the gold surface. We’ve been playing with the potential but haven’t found the recipe to get a perfect copper coating. It’s a good thing I’m getting help with this – I would have no ideas on how to improve the copper deposition. Hopefully we can figure it out in the next couple weeks.