Holiday delurking, take 2

Dec 20 2011 Published by under [Et Al]

The year and semester are winding down giving us a brief opportunity to take a breath. January NSF deadlines are looming and the spring semester is not far from rearing it's ugly head, but for now things are getting more quiet instead of less. It's a good time.

On top of everything that has happened this year both personally (new kid and no sleep) and professionally (new grant and more sleep), it's been an interesting blogging year as well. Scientopia has changed a bit and seems to be stabilizing after a few months of flying by the seat of our collective slacks. I've gotten to know some new-to-me bloggers better and even taken on twitter.

But once in a while I like to turn the conversation outward as much as possible and invite those who read but never comment to join in. I did this in 2009 and found it really interesting, so I'm trying again. For all those lurkers out there, your holiday gift to me can be saying hi and weighing in on what you might like to see from the blog in 2012 (12? really? crap). I would also be really interested to hear where (career-wise) you readers are at, since I have no idea whether I'm talking to a bunch of grad students or gray heads. I see a set of regular commenters often, but what would entice those of you who never comment to join in the conversation?

Take two minutes of your end of semester down time and delurk for the holidays!

35 responses so far

  • bsaute says:

    2nd year chemistry grad student reader here. I enjoy your blogging for the deeper look into the life of a professor. You provide insight into the day to day life of a PI which I find to be interesting and valuable. Keep up the good work in 2012.

  • I just like to see what it's like for a variety of people in academia. All this blog reading was really helpful on interviews and I expect will be very helpful next year--I am starting on the tenure-track in August. Thanks for writing!

    Short of babysitting my kids, or writing a post asking for specific advice on something I know about, probably there's nothing you can do to get more comments from me 🙂

  • turknadian says:

    First time on this site. Googled something about Adobe Illustrator for Beginners, got your blog (very helpful, by the way, and a few more tips would be great for 2012). I then got sidetracked into your vasectomy tweets and a few on parenting/being a parent. As a bleary, sleep-deprived parent of two, it's always nice to read about others suffering in the same situation... Happy holidays and best of luck in 2012.

  • FSGrad says:

    Fifth-year BEE grad student, starting to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel. I comment sometimes, so I guess I'm technically not a lurker. This is my favorite academic blog, and I really appreciate that you are in my field. The career advice is therefore more valuable than what I can glean from, say, DrugMonkey. Also, you are frequently hilarious.

  • BMEGradStudent says:

    2nd year Bioengineering grad student here. (I can't quite believe where the year's gone). I really started reading science blogs at the start of 2010, so started reading you before your transition over to Scientopia. I don't comment mostly because I tend to consume science blogs via RSS feeds. Plus, the lack of good notification systems/threaded comments tend to mean that it's very difficult to track responses to comments/have a prolonged discussion on the comments.

    I love the NSF inside baseball stuff, even though I'm in a more NIH-y field. I don't have any particular recommendations for next year, keep doing what you're doing, it's excellent.

  • MicroGradStudent says:

    First time commenting, but regular reader. I am a 4th year MD/PhD student in the middle of my graduate school phase in microbiology.

    I really enjoy reading your blog!

  • CogSciGrad says:

    I'm a 1st year cog sci grad student. I started getting into reading science blogs, particularly ones that talk about the life of a researcher/teacher last year while applying to PhD programs. I think it made me a lot more aware of what was going on in terms of expectations of me, the demands on my professors' time, and department politics at my MS than I would have been on my own, and I have moved to PhD U with my eyes wide open spotting potential pitfalls and doing my best to navigate around them, rather than stumble right through.

    I appreciate your blog's current content, particularly: what it's like to be an advisor/PI day to day, what your expectations are of advisees and students more generally, your life/work balancing act, and of course, your humor.

    I've always been told by teachers and professors that they would like it if I talked more during discussion - I find that the way to have them wanting more is only sharing what I have to say when it is highly relavent and useful to the discussion. Honestly, I think this has sometimes been a very polite way of saying: "Steal the floor from the people who go off on irrelevant tangents! Then neither of us will have to listen to it." So, I'm a bit of an attentive lurker even in person. I do do some commenting on blogs when I feel like I bring something useful to the table.

  • Joanne says:

    Assistant Professor - recently went up for tenure, one half of an academic couple (both of us have tt positions in the same non-research one department), mom of two wee ones (2.5 and three months). All is well in general but am frustrated with challenges in securing NSF funding... have a proposal in review now at IOS but still haven't heard (decisions were supposed to be made last week) - any thoughts on this?

    I really enjoy your blog, and particularly enjoy reading about funding challenges and about issues facing dads on the tenure track. I send a lot of your posts to my husband.

    Thanks for blogging and happy holidays to you and your family!

  • [...] the meantime, I’m totally stealing a page from ProfLike’s blog with a de-lurking day on the blog. Instead of writing for you guys, I’m asking those of you [...]

  • mouse says:

    Same demographic as bsaute--2nd yr chem grad student. I've found the science blogosphere to be very informative on topics of academic culture and policies that everyone is assumed to already know, such as how the grant proposal system is structured.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Tinkering Theorist, I only babysit on Tuesdays.

    turknadian, What other Adobe tips would you like to see? I've thought about adding another post, but I covered many of the basics already. Not sure what to add.

    Joanne, Congrats on the tenure leap. No thoughts on the IOS panel, as I have gotten bad news early and late in the decision season. For the grant I did get I was informed of the possibility in about 4 months but the funding was certain until I was already writing the revision. Just hang in there.

    Mouse, I don't assume anyone knows about how the grant proposal system works, which is part of the reason I write about it. I also teach about it in a grad class. You can't possibly know how it all works until your job depends on making it work for you.

    To everyone, thanks for the kind words. I don't plan on making major changes but would be willing to add other content of interest if I also find it sufficiently interesting. Obviously I blog about what I do because it is right in front of me enough to generate content. I appreciate the willingness of people to delurk!

  • Post-PhD, post-industry housewife with a newborn. 🙂 I occasionally comment, but rarely have two free hands. My kid spending less time attached to my chest would help me comment more, but I seriously doubt anything but time can help that one. I just like reading about other scientists' lives... reminds me there's a world beyond my front door.

  • gradstudentserf says:

    3rd grad student - was PhD for the first 2 years, went rouge and switched a Master's this summer. I started reading your blog after someone directed me to FemaleScienceProfessor. Read her's, stumbled upon ScienTopia, found yours, stuck with it since. It's one of my favorite blogs to read because of the character you exude and the wide range of topics (personal, professional - gives me an idea of what to expect if I decide to stay in academia).

    I'm exploring the teaching side of academia more so than the research, so more on teaching (what's required, how students/faculty/random people react to different approaches/styles of teaching, how to teach, etc) would be appreciated. Also, what can I do as a grad student to make myself "sexy" for teaching jobs, other than just TAing (which is the only advice I've gotten from undergrad professors I stayed in touch with)?

  • B says:

    3rd yr tt prof in engineering. Not really one for commenting, but I find it interesting to follow the experiences of others on this academic path. It's good to know that the personal and professional struggles you have are not unique and there's much to learn from the way others handle things. Also, it's nice to see some NSF discussion in the blogosphere.

  • Susan says:

    Postdoc, with a few gray hairs, on the job market. I've appreciated whatever you have to say, especially on the tenure track hunt front.

  • Liz says:

    Bioengineering soon-to-be-done grad student. I may have commented occasionally her (?) but I'm generally not a huge blog commenter.

    I really enjoy your blog, great mix of academia and general life with a good bit of humour thrown in to keep me coming back. Thanks!

  • arink says:

    4th year graduate student hoping to stay in academia. I like reading science blogs to get an idea of how some of you have made it this far and maintained some semblance of sanity. I appreciate your blog as a great balance of insight and humor.

  • delurker says:

    4th year postdoc, on the job hunt, two little ones of my own too. love your blog!

  • doctor_chick says:

    Postdoc in dev bio here who stumbled over to your blog from FSP's blog. I greatly appreciate the insights into PI/family life balance!

  • HennaHonu says:

    4th year PhD student, no end in sight. I find the insights into daily life as an active parent and prof useful and informative as I make decisions about my own life and career path.

  • CLR says:

    2nd year physical sciences PhD, 1x offspring. It's nice to know I'm not the only one having odd conversations with preschoolers and professors within an hour! Came here via Isis (or possibly FSP?) where I also lurk after googling 'scientist mother blog'. I don't comment because I'm usually reading during coffee breaks...

  • anon says:

    Former asst prof who lost her job because of a fiscal melt-down at research MRU. Still managed to keep my head above water by having moved my NSF funding elsewhere, but in a non-TT research position. Once I am back on my feet, I expect to enter the job market again. Reading these blogs (yours, DM, Dr Becca, Isis, etc) has made me realize what mistakes were made along the way, and definitely what was missing in terms of support.

  • mmd says:

    I only get a chance to read occasionally, and rarely comment. I really enjoy the topics here, though. I'm a 6th year asst. prof, up for tenure this year, at a university with a direction and a place in the title (I read that in a blog comment a while back, and love it.) Based on some of your topics, I'm guessing you and I are in similar fields. I'm also a mama to a not-quite-2 year old, and married to someone in the same academic department. So, I can relate to many of your posts.

  • [...] always MOAR, I'm going to piggy-back the memes here and also ask you for a special holiday de-lurk. PLS came up with this one, which I think is a super idea. Please say [...]

  • VAP says:

    I'm currently on an 8.5 month teaching contract as Visiting Assistant Professor (sounds so important! ha!), applying for longer-term and TT positions at what I suppose would be SLACs in the US - I'm in Canada, don't think that term is really used much up here. I mostly lurk, enjoy the general insights on teaching/research/staying sane(?) in academia, and ignore what's totally irrelevant to my field/country. I came here via FSP, and enjoy both to get an inside look at the challenges of teaching and research. Don't change a thing, not on my account, anyway! I rarely have anything useful to add, so don't expect another de-lurk from me any time soon. I've only commented when you've asked a specific question like this one, I think.

  • WestCoastNewb says:

    1st year assistant professor at a UC, moved from postdoc in the midwest. Very much enjoying reading, but rarely have anything to say in the comments. Keep up the good work!

  • jf says:

    2.5 year grad student in evolutionary biology here. Been following you for about a year now. Love your blog because it helps me understand what my PI does, is funny/entertaining, and because you seem like a cool, normal human being who has trouble figuring out how to get things done, has a self-admitted short attention span, seems to enjoy hobbies (blogging?) and also is a successful parent and TT prof. Nice to know these things can all happen. Thanks for the great year!

  • Jessica says:

    Assistant Prof, Tenure Track at Research 1 Institution. Going up for mid-tenure review in the spring and have yet to land my first big NSF grant (working on it though). Recently started a family (baby is 11 weeks old). Everything you post about is on my radar - teaching, grants, research, the balancing act. Keep it up! Happy holidays and happy New Year.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    jf, I may have to nominate you for Backhanded Compliment of the Year 🙂

  • [...] round up--a meme started by Drugmonkey, and since perpetuated by my esteemed colleagues Prof-like Substance and Gerty-Z. But then I thought to myself, Self, this year has been (in the words of Joe Biden) a [...]

  • yvr_fca_osl says:

    3rd year assistant prof in philosophy of science. Just did well on my third year review, in the career phase that is shifting noticeably from "painful newbie" into some new gear, the details of which I haven't sorted out entirely.

  • Meiopic says:

    I am a postdoc negotiating a TT position at an R1. I found your blog via links from FSP. I particularly appreciate the information about NSF grants. I was raised NIH, but have scientific leanings toward NSF and need to explore all potential funding options. I also enjoy the parenting / academic life balance issues - especially when they are hilarious. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • KiwiGradStudent says:

    Hello! I am a first-time commenter but a regular reader of your blog. I am in the midst of writing up my thesis in Kiwiland, though I am not a Kiwi. I am a biochemist. For a long time, I had suspected that you might be my boss, who happened to start his lab around the same time as yours. But now I am convinced you're not (for several reasons)! Nevertheless, I enjoy your insights into how science actually works in the States, as I will move to the Northeast next year for a postdoc position 🙂

  • Clare Hooper says:

    Just finished my first year as a postdoc, currently moving from the Netherlands back to England for my second (thankfully, somewhat longer!) postdoc position. CompSci. Love the blog. By all means be guided by readers' interests, but first and foremost write about what you're interested in -- passion is important!

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