Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rollercoaster Week

I’m sorry for the long delay since my last post, the last couple weeks have been really overwhelming. Briefly, for about three weeks now, I have known that my adviser was considering taking a job at another college starting in January. Thursday the 20th he told us that he would be taking a one-year leave of absence from Penn State effective the following Monday. He can remain my adviser but it means that he won’t be around for the last year of my research and my dissertation writing. Thankfully he can still sit on my committee and we are trying to work out how to keep in good contact during this year. My plan is still to graduate next August but I will have to be extra disciplined for the next year. I’m trying to look at this as an opportunity to really take control of my own research and be accountable to myself rather than anyone else.

To that end, I’m trying to figure out what needs to get done and create deadlines for myself. I have a bad habit of underestimating the amount of work I can get done in a day/week/etc., so I have started using this online to-do list that allows me to estimate how long a particular task will take and how much time it will take. (For example, I needed to prepare a bunch of data for analysis and estimated 4 hours, it took 12 hours, but I’m a much better perl programmer for it.) I’m trying to keep the daily estimate under 8 hours. If you want to keep track of what I’m doing (you probably don’t, and I’m fine with that), here is a public link: This week I am working on developing a set of genetic markers that reliably detect stratification in a sample so that it can be corrected for in analysis. Well, that is the long term goal. Really I’ve just been writing perl scripts to manipulate 2 gigabyte text files into something manageable. It’s a mental muscle that I haven’t stretched in a while and I’m finding it oddly satisfying.

In other good news from this week, our junior graduate student who decided to go with my adviser left a TA opening so I picked up a half TA-ship for Intro to Biological Anthropology which equates to a tidy little bump in my monthly paycheck and my NSF funding came through this week!! Within a week or two I should have the budget number to pay for the genotyping I need to do for my dissertation research.

This may sound like a downer of a weak, but though it has been stressful, it has also been productive. But I’ll be back soon with a bunch of fun stories and pictures from Sarah’s wedding. TTFN!


  1. Wow - how great is that! I love perl - and large files. Alas, I'm a sellout. I gave in and switched to WSH with JavaScript and VBS. But I miss cpan and being able to play with perl regex. All good. Good luck in all of your endeavors.

  2. Thanks Eddy! I have been trying to decide what other languages to learn. I do some R, but I've heard python and ruby are useful. I'm sure there is a reason to have so many languages, but I don't see it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...