Archive for ‘I Have A Strange Feeling’

November 7, 2015

Just call me Dr. Jones. Some day. Maybe.

by Janie Jones

So, today was a hallmark date.

I officially began my graduate school application process.  It took the better part of the day.  I had to dig up unofficial transcripts from high school and 4 different colleges I’ve attended over the years.  I had to fill out a ton of forms, write an essay about why I want to get my PhD, another about what qualities I would bring to the graduate school, and I had to send letters to people asking for recommendations.  Before I can complete my application I need to get my GRE scores and I need to get confirmation that the people who I ask for recommendations are willing to give them.  Then, I send $75.  If the graduate school thinks I am worthy, then I have to get all official transcripts from my high school and all the 4 colleges I’ve attended sent in.  After that, if my official transcripts confirm I’m still worthy, by April I should know if I will be allowed to torture myself for another 3-5 years in pursuit of my PhD.

It is sort of daunting.  I have to admit, there have been a lot of days in the past year or so when I have doubted whether I want to commit to more time in school.  I don’t really know what I’m getting myself into.  Most people say it’s tough.  Then again, calculus was tough.  Physics was tough.  I’ve been on the tough circuit this past couple of years.  I haven’t always performed as brilliantly as I’d have hoped, and I am quite tired.  As Forrest Gump would say, “I’m kinda tired.  I think I’ll go home now.”  But I have no home to go to, so I guess I might as well keep on running this race and, in just a few more years I could hold the ultimate academic title.  Knowing I am this close, I don’t think I could be satisfied with not going the full distance if the powers that be in the admissions office will let me in.

And I think they will.  I mean, I just have this feeling.  I hope it’s not bullshit, but I do think I could do well in graduate school.  I don’t know why I feel this way exactly.  I just really think this is what I’m supposed to do.  Sure, I don’t know everything.  I certainly haven’t maintained that A average.  But I have yet to give up, and science is 90% being too stubborn to quit even when you have no clue what you’re doing- yet.  That’s the beauty of being a scientific researcher.  You don’t have to know everything.  If you did, you wouldn’t have a job anymore.  Research in science is all about not letting what you don’t know stop you.  You learn along the way, and the more you learn, the more you realize there’s a ton you don’t know, and so you do more research.

And “we” don’t know a lot of things yet about Lyme disease and the bacteria responsible for it.  I can do a lot toward a doctoral dissertation studying them little bugs.

So, cross your fingers for me.  Pray I don’t have to blog 5 months from now that I’m a washed out, has been, PhD wannabe.

It would be way cooler if some day you could be telling all your friends you read the blog of the famous Dr. Jones who discovered a way to prevent Lyme Disease and cure chronic Lyme Disease back when she was a strung out, neurotic undergrad.

Heh.  Paging Dr. Jones….

August 19, 2015

Pride, Responsibility and Integrity

by Janie Jones

I’m feeling a little unsettled today.

I got an email from someone at Stickittoyou U yesterday.  Apparently they want to interview me about my scholarships and grants.

This year I’m getting in excess of $14,000 of “free” money, meaning I don’t have to pay it back, for tuition and school related expenses.  Most are need-based, but some are merit based and have minimum GPA requirements.  These funds will cover about 90% of my tuition, books and fees.

Yes, it rocks.  Yes, I’m extremely grateful.  Yes, I do feel honored and lucky.  And yes, I’ve worked very hard to get the best grades I can to be worthy and have applied for up to 50 some scholarships for this year.  But, there is a part of me that is also very embarrassed and ashamed to not be able to support myself and my daughter without all this need based funding.

It feels very much like being interviewed and having my story pasted all over the school homepage and “other uses” is trying to make me seem like someone of distinction to be honored and looked up to when I have done nothing but find myself too poor to make my own way in the world and too under-educated to get the good paying jobs (ie, more than minimum wage) that would allow me to live an average middle class life I was accustomed to before “life” happened.

Sure, everyone needs a hand up once and a while and people and organizations who give out scholarship and grant money are trying to acknowledge and help us who are less fortunate better ourselves.  But, it seems to me if you have a proper sense of pride, self respect and integrity you should be celebrating the donors, not the people who have done nothing but accept their generosity.

While many people fail to see my side of this issue, awards ceremonies and interviews just drive home my shame in being unable to provide for myself.  It feels like celebrating my failure.  I have done nothing to deserve to be celebrated, yet.  Everyone, in my opinion should strive to better themselves, what I’m doing is not special, or unique.  It should be normal, average, and expected.

So, I do thank the donors.  It allows me to do what I have to in order to be a better person and one day again be able to provide for myself and my family.  But I’m not there yet.  Currently I’m a hot mess of stress, frustration, panic, fear, longing, exhaustion, and insecurity.  It’s too soon to see beyond the struggle.  I am grateful for the help but it’s way too soon to see anything in my situation for praise or admiration and I don’t want to be an object of pity either.

I just want to say a heartfelt thank you and go about my business.  Why is that so weird to the world?

September 19, 2014

“Hey there, Boo-Boo! Whaddaya think of this pic-a-nic basket?”

by Janie Jones

All the years I lived in Tinyflyspeck Town in the Great White North where large tracks of woods, parks and unused spaces predominated, I only saw one bear.  It was running across the interstate near the national forest, a good 30 miles from my house.

Then I take a room in Big City.  I’ve been here almost 4 weeks.  Now, I’m not in the big “downtown” area, but still, the neighborhood I’m in doesn’t include much in the way of large forested areas, just a little bit of an incline on a deep lot with some tree cover between homes to the back of the house I’m living in, and is much more populated and has way more traffic than where I lived previous.  And what do you think?

The other night we had a bear to dinner.

One of the guys living upstairs called me around 7pm.

GLU:  Janie, I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but I need you to come upstairs and open the front door.  There’s a black bear outside.

Me:  A bear you say? (walking up the stairs trying to digest this information)

Me:  Stars and stripes!  (looking out the back door window) There’s a bear eating out of our trash bin!  Okay.  You want me to do what?

GLU:  Open the front door, I’m going to come in that way so I don’t have to walk past the bear.

Me:  Oh, yeah, right.  Good idea.

So, naturally as soon as I unlocked the front door I ran for my phone and tried to get a few pictures.

bear cropped 2

bear cropped 1

I should have spent the extra time looking for my real camera, because these photos suck.  But there you have it.  Yogi noshing on our trash.  In the middle of Big City.  Not on Leif’s farm, and not in Tinyflyspeck Town.  In the middle of the Big freakin’ City.

Now, I don’t really like to make a big deal out of it, but it is a bear, and well, not something that seems wise to tangle with; I mean it is a little disconcerting to think I could head out early one morning and if not paying attention walk smack dab into Yogi and Boo-Boo dining al-fresco.

I apparently have more paranoia about it than I thought, though.  Last night I dreamed about a bear siege-ing my house.  And then, when I finally thought it was gone, I went to go outside but it was already coming into the house through an unlocked door.  So, I threw my purse at it in hopes of distracting it, and ran into the bathroom and locked the door.  Once inside the bathroom my dream self chastised itself because when I threw my purse I lost my cell phone with it and had no way to call Animal Control for help.

So, I guess the moral to this story is that bears apparently like Big City life.  They must find the dining opportunities vastly superior to those encountered in small towns and the historic homelands deep within the woods.  I guess I can’t blame them, I would have to agree.

August 22, 2013

Thursday Quote Du Jour #6: Apropos

by Janie Jones

This one came to me through WordPress as I posted my last post.  It made me laugh at the timing as well as the accuracy of the quote.

The scariest moment is always just before you start.

Stephen King

Monday fall semester starts.  My biggest fear?  More than one of my classes get dropped.  Well at least that’s my biggest school related fear.

Cross your fingers for me, if you will, and let’s hope none of my classes are dropped.  On my part, I’m do my best to muster enough hope and belief that this year is going to be better than last.

July 22, 2013

It was a pretty good weekend…

by Janie Jones

And now I have this feeling like the other shoe is gonna drop, like something bad is about to happen.

It’s kinda sad that it really feels like lately every time I start to get back to a happy place the carpet is yanked out from under me.  It’s also sad that it’s happened so often I expect something really bad as soon as I start to feel good again.

Let’s hope I’m not right this time.