Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Earlier today I submitted my thesis to my committee. I'm so stressed and nervous–a lot more than I thought I would be.

I thought once I got into graduate school things would be so much more relaxing. Well, things have come up and ended up a lot differently that I had planned out in my head. In my defense, I did not have unrealistic expectations. I sort of feel like unrealistic things have come up. It's been the culmination of many ups and downs, but mostly downs. This problems and issues that have arisen have of course taught me a lot, but I need to move past all of this and put an end to this anxiety.

Now, I need to finish my powerpoint and prepare a defense presentation.

I hope once I have a finished powerpoint product, I can write out my talk and prepare enough to feel confident going into my defense. I'm frustrated though, because I know I've put more than enough work into my project to warrant a Master's, but I'm not as confident that my thesis and presentation will demonstrate that. I suppose these are things I need to stress in my powerpoint.

I have a rough draft of my powerpoint, but I need to improve some areas and make sure certain things are emphasized and other things are not glossed over too quickly.

Here's hoping I kick this defense's butt!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Things are starting to wind down

The past few days have been kinda slow–but that really awesome kind of slow. The kind of slow where I can take things at an enjoyable pace.

I submitted a second draft of my Master's thesis to my adviser this morning. Once she looks over that, I'll make the necessary changes before I send my thesis to my committee. After I submit my thesis to my committee, I'll be working on my defense presentation. I hope to have my powerpoint almost done before I get back my thesis from my adviser. This would allow me to make minor changes and practice my defense heaps and heaps between submitting my thesis to my committee and giving my defense.

Between there and now, I'll also be doing some bench work trying to get my diatoms in working order for future experiments.

In other news, my supervisor Wendy, who has been advising my work study projects for Clark from blogging to video blogging to Clark videos to photography gave me this sweet travel mug as a parting gift! Such a sweet idea, I know.
Even though I won't be moving out until the end of May, I've been eager to start packing a little bit. As a result, my room has been a complete mess of late. It goes through cycles of being very tidy and very messy, at a high rate of turnover. One of my Australian mates had this to say on the Facebook:
Facebook lolz. My room has been a mess because I've been doing some early packing.
While a little breezy, we had some really nice weather today. As such, I decided to take some pictures:

A second mural was painted on Downing St., which is going to be turned into a walking mall. You should check out that link–it talks about the major improvements the Clark campus will experience in the next few months/years. I'm really excited about them all!

Here's another (new) shoot of the first mural, on the corner of Downing and Woodland streets. Atwood is in the background.

This is a shot I've been wanting to take for a while. Below is Estrabrook Hall, on the corner of Woodland and Charlotte streets.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bowties and science

While we've had a few nice days recently, it's been pretty rainy over the last few weeks.
Finals are almost over and the students are moving back home. It's kind of a bittersweet time of the semester. The weather and feel of campus brings back memories of just a year ago when I was finishing up my undergraduate career. After being at Clark for 5 year (9 semesters and 2 summers), I'm really going to miss it. I know I'm not looking forward to packing up and moving home myself, but I have plenty to do before then.

I'm defending my Master's thesis on May 22nd, and I hope to be completely done a few days before the end of the month. I have a first draft of my thesis completed, which will probably head over to my thesis committee once my adviser okays it. I've already made corrections from a working (almost complete) draft, which was nearly sufficient for submission anyway. I'm pretty excited about this. Once I submit the draft to the other two members of my committee, I'll focus on finishing my powerpoint presentation.

My powerpoint presentation for my defense will probably be about 45 minutes long. Just thinking about it right now is making me nervous. However, I hope to have a final draft of my presentation completed more than a week before I defend, giving me ample time to practice. This will be the third presentation I've given this semester, and by far the longest, most difficult, and most important. While I'm nervous now and I'll be nervous on my defense day, I just know I'll knock my presentation dead. The closed question period may prove to be much more difficult, but I know I've done more than enough work to complete my Master's.

Between now and the time I move out, I'm almost working on some diatom cultures. I hope to have a large array of diatoms lined up for my professor to work with this summer. Below I discuss part of this process:

And, as a bonus, I made this video in my spare time–how to tie a bowtie!