2014 wrap-up

Dec 05 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

I realize that my blogging frequency has fallen off so substantially that I can't even do a DrugMonkey-style "12 months of Dr Becca" post this year, but there has not been a lot for me to say that I felt would be interesting, entertaining, or useful, so I just stayed quiet. However, I do think that a little reflection once in a while is a good thing, so here's what I can say about my year 2.5-3.5 on the tenure track.

Holy shit. This job has been a roller coaster from day 1, but it's like every few months the peaks and troughs get taller and deeper.

Jan-May was a blur of writing. Our first two papers, composed solely of data generated in my lab, came out and that felt good. Our 3rd paper, The Big One (TBO), was rejected from at least one journal.

With the exception of chairing a very well received symposium at a conference in Sydney, the summer absolutely sucked. Nothing in the lab worked, my grants were triaged, and TBO was rejected like a million more times. I felt utterly helpless, like I was letting everyone in my lab down.

Fall semester, things started to turn around. The major thing that made us bang our heads against the wall all summer and that I absolutely needed to work in order to submit an R01 revision finally came together like gangbusters, just in time. I received a prestigious travel award. TBO was accepted at a very, very good journal--one with a higher IF than a certain Shmournal of Shmeuroscience, which rejected it. And I was invited to participate in the NIH Early Career Reviewer program for February study sections! I am really excited about this.

But still, the only thing that matters right now is getting funded, because the R21 has come and gone, and the startup well is very nearly dry. My tenure dossier is due in less than 18 months, but I am not worried about tenure. I am worried about keeping my lab going, paying my incredibly hardworking trainees and staff, and doing awesome science. These worries are all-consuming. All I can do is keep writing, try to improve, and hope that something hits. Soon.

2015, you had better fucking be my year!

*Bonus track - "Busy Earnin'," by Jungle. I love everything about this.

4 responses so far

  • Dr24hours says:

    You rock so hard the walls tremble. This is your year.

  • babyattachmode says:

    You forget to mention organize a supercool and highly attended party at SfN that I could sadly not attend!! I have my fingers crossed 2015 will be your year!!

  • Ola says:

    Believe me - the quality/tone/level of your grant writing will be immensely improved by just a single pop at sitting on study section. My advice would be to get your grant-writing ducks in a row, and then plan a bunch of submissions for March/April, while you still have your "reviewer hat" on. Above all, be vocal at the meeting - talk up your TBO publication at dinner. Read plenty more apps than the ones you're assigned and make some comments on them in the meeting. At least some of the people in the room will likely also be in the room when your next grant is being reviewed, and you want them to remember you for the right reasons.

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