月曜日, 12月 06, 2004

Back

This semester has been like...gah, I'm too tired to think of a hackneyed metaphor right now. Basic story: my roommate and I (to prove Prof. Rosen's general theory) learned from our mistakes last year and then overcompensated. She was on the student council and spent most of the day running from meeting to meeting--now she doesn't even go to class, but stays in the room studying. I was anti-social, passing my days in the library or lab; next month, I'll be running for (and probably winning) two time-intensive officer positions, both of which have to do with money.

How I became a money person in the Taiwan club and yearbook is quite beyond me. I'm not actually good with finances--secretarial, worker bee tasks are rather relaxing (you don't use your brain), but the actual process of calculating which bill you can put off paying is not so fun. However, I appear to have a moderate talent for writing grant applications: a useful skill in this school. Well, any school. Lately, the summer internship search has begun; I originally felt quite lost, but a cover letter really is just like a grant proposal. Now, the problem is writing a resume. Skills: Chinese, Word, Excel, more than passing familiarity with the Library of Congress system, ability to sort things alphabetically, gel electrophoresis, Western blot, immunohistochemistry, wax and cryosectioning. Oh, and (sort of) translating poetry and writing grant proposals. Central problem: Jack of two unrelated trades, master of none. Other problem: Don't want to name-drop name of lab I work in, because I love these guys but don't feel like any kind of significant contributor there. Gah.

This summer will either set me on the path of no return for biology or give me the opportunity to try some other field for a change. Volunteering at the lab during term time has been a positive experience, but my time there just taught me that molecular biology does _not_ set me on fire. Biodiversity tutorial is much better, but it involves more discussion and less actual field work. On the other hand, perhaps this is the year to apply for government internships; the politics junkie part comes in handy, and I already spend my day writing proposals for panels discussing "The December Legislative Elections and Their Effects on Constitutional Reform." I suppose it's also a way to find closure: if my current activities and GPA (which peaked last spring and has been going down since--thanks for nothing, organic chemistry) aren't good enough to get me the internship I want, then I'm just not good enough. Rejection will be harsh, but at least the answer to "what if?" will be "no."

The irony is that I'm much more tired precisely because I've tried to be more socially involved and academically responsible. Last fall was spent mostly sleeping on the commute to lab and reading Patrick O'Brian novels. This time, I started studying for orgo on the Greyhound back from New York. (So much for that.) In retrospect, I did better in classes though working less. And sleeping more.

There is this project in Arlington, VA on studying sleep deprivation. The goal, I recall, is to build the supersoldier. A worthy goal--perhaps they'd be willing to take on a student guinea pig. Nah, scratch that: if I am to do biology work this summer, it will either be in Japan or the beginnings of senior thesis research.

I wish I had someone to ask about this. Any time I try to discuss summer plans with friends, it feels a bit like boasting or insinuating a certain level of confidence in being accepted that I just don't have. I KNOW what I what job I want. The many reasons (to find out if something that has always appealed to me is attractive in reality or just more drudgery, to shut up and do something instead of just talking, to live up to the example set by my friend Eddie's brother) still stand. But I turn it into a running joke with my friends, because anything else would allow their indifference to this small wish to hurt me. It'd be nice if my faculty advisor actually knew who I was and give me _advice_. It'd be nice if I could talk to my parents without being criticized. Yes, yes, criticism builds character--but even the strangest characters need a break.