Alright, I get it

Nov 12 2008 Published by under Uncategorized

Apparently grant rejection doesn't take a holiday because I checked my email over coffee yesterday morning only to find a note from NSF declining my grant proposal. Nothing worse than reading something depressing first thing in the morning. Not a big deal though, I didn't think it would get funded in the first go, but what I didn't expect was the reviews. To start off, there was a complete range of ratings; poor, good, very good and excellent across the four reviews. Basically, four different people read the same document and decided that I ether poop roses or am the poop. The one very positive review took it for granted that I could handle the basic techniques I proposed because I have ten years of experience in the field and have published using many of these skills in the past. The remaining reviews wanted more preliminary data, which is one of the more frustrating things you can get back when you submitted the grant before you even moved into your new position. So, now the push for the next submission date in January. I finally have the lab set up and people working, but we weren't focusing on getting the types of data they want, just yet. Suddenly what looked like a reasonable end to the year that would allow me to pack up the lab for moving and get my class set up for the spring has been turned upside-down and I'll be making frenzied trips to Bermuda, North Carolina and California all in the next month. I'll probably want to just wander into the woods and not come back by the time the two grants I am submitting are done in January, but this is what I signed up for and it's what I love. In retrospect, I probably should have seen it coming and planned accordingly, but there is only so much one can do in the first semester when you don't have everything figured out yet. That's what I get for not taking a ready-made project with me from my post-doc and instead, forging my own path combining my PhD and post-doc training.
Ironically, I had been a bit motivationally frozen while waiting for the grant decisions (still one more out there), but this provides some serious focus and push to get some shit done and that is often when I am most effective. I mean, already I have managed to work first, second and third person narrative into this short note. If only I didn't have this talk to give this afternoon I might be able to get things planned a bit today, but I still have a couple of slides left to put together. If I could just will things away my neighbor's dog would have chocked on that high-pitched bark months ago.

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