February 20, 2011

Out of Stock

I have never had quite as many headaches in a school year than I've had since starting grad school. I'm not blaming it on grad school per se. I'm sure it is a result of some outside factor... like, needing a new prescription.

Anyhoo, this post is dedicated to my graduate school woes.

First, I don't think this school was the right choice for me.

  • This is not a research school so it doesn't have research funding.
  • It has been really hard to find a laboratory/pharmaceutical job in this state. Even if it's just to get a job as a lab technician where I mix media, wash glassware and autoclave them... I would do it. Yet, I've applied to 56 jobs (lab and non-lab) since September 1, 2010 and I've only had two interviews.
  • The classes are more conceptual than hands on. I am a hands on person. I hate reading, but I love solving problems. So far, I've only heard of 3 actual lab courses offered by the school. I am enrolled in one right now, and there are 2 more protein-based classes that are a requirement for those in the Masters of Molecular Biology program. I'm not big on molecular biology (mainly because I suck at memorizing and understanding pathways), but I think I'm going to try to take one of those classes.

Second, this school has no supplies!

  • In my cell culture class last week, we were supposed to prepare a Phosphate-buffered solution (PBS) for use in growing our cells. The professor went through the lab protocol for the day and told use to get started. Two minutes later, she came back saying "Ok. Change in plans. We don't have PBS." ... How in the world are we supposed to make a PBS solution without PBS?? It's like trying to make hot chocolate without any cocoa.
  • So, the professor decided to skip the first protocol to work on the second. This required making a cell culture medium. In order for our cells to survive and thrive while they're plated, they need some kind of growth factor or hormones. We can use either calf serum, horse serum, or fetal bovine serum. The professor opted to use calf serum. She believed our cells would be 'happier' with this serum. Lo and behold.... we had no calf serum!!
  • At this point, I'm wondering what my tuition money is being used for and I was quite annoyed and upset.
**Ok, End Rant**

I guess I can't complain too much. I applied to this school and got accepted for a reason.
  1. I wanted to further my education.
  2. I wanted to enroll in a PhD program and needed a stepping stone to get there since undergrad was less than impressive for me.
  3. I researched the school in much detail and found a professor who had as much passion for Immunology as I did. I wanted to work in her lab.
  4. Lastly, Graduate school is what I wanted! I prayed for it with earnest tears in my eyes and go it. So I'm sucking it up and taking things as they come. Overall, I'm still pretty grateful for this opportunity. ツ

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