Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dante's peak and me

I may or may not have mentioned that my kid wants to earn a Bachelor's in Geological Engineering followed by a PhD in Geology (though I still prefer her to stick with becoming an Architectural Engineer). And this afternoon, we were watching the movie Dante's Peak which briefly is about a volcanic eruption in a small town. One of the lead characters is a PhD Geologist’s (Pierce Brinson) who futilely tries to warn the town of the impending volcanic eruption, but is vetoed for political and financial reasons by his boss.

And this movie, along with some other thoughts I had earlier in the week, has me thinking about my REAL chances of becoming a successful Physician/Scientist knowing that political/financial “games” have never really been my thing. In other words, I’m starting to feel that desiring to work in a field where few people who look like me are supported over the course of their careers is perhaps not such a good idea and one need only look at how few people of underrepresented colors are conducting research for proof. So yes, I’ve always been very clearly aware of the obstacles but the question I’m asking myself these days is if all the $hit I’m going to have to deal with to become and maintain success as a Physician/Scientist is going to be worth it. At 25 and 35 I was VERY sure but now at 45, I’m just not so sure anymore.

I’m reminded of the proposal I wrote to apply for a research grant in my MS Pharmacology program that the PI I was rotating with “hated”, but that not long afterwards became part of his favorite students’ dissertation. I’m reminded how I was unsuccessful last year finding a PI to support my application for a research supplement to work in their lab. In other words, I couldn’t find a person who would have me in their lab FOR FREE!!! Ok wait that’s not exactly true, I was offered 4 positions but NONE of them were local, so maybe that doesn’t count nor is all that realistic for me to complain about since people frequently have to relocate to pursue specific research interests, LOL!! Finally, I’m reminded of all the papers I contributed significant work to but was never acknowledged in the acknowledgements section of the publication, never mind getting the co-authorship I deserved.

So now I’m giving thought to how I might be able to leverage training as a Physician Scientist into something that would be more professional fulfilling and 2 things come to mind: 1) Start a science based business and/or 2) Choose a clinical career like being a Hospitalist.

Okay, enough trying to read tea leaves into the future, I did get a little work done on my personal statement (the first paragraph). And for some reason, it seems to older I get the harder it is to put how I got to this point into a readable perspective, but I’ll keep plugging away until I get the job done! My classes are going well too though it can be frustrating to have to be so EXACT all the time, kinda reminding me of analytical chemistry lab where 2.00g does NOT equal 1.98g or 2.01g. But I have to admit, the anal retentive nature of learning computer programming languages is fun, though I’m not sure what that says about me, LOL!!!

Finally, RIP Ms. Whitney Houston whose music was the soundtrack of my 20’s. Yet another soul who will have far more peace in death than she had in life!

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