Saturday, November 29, 2014

I'm a professor now. A week in the life..

This week there have been a lot of firsts which finally made me feel like a real professor. Since my teaching is still very limited, I just spent the first year preoccupied with the lab and getting everything up and running, but that didn't necessarily make me feel "professorial".  So while things are a bit crazy, this week I get to delve into different aspects of the job. Everything is new, so it's all very exciting. It may soon become a chore, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts.
I don't know if I have been protected so far or if I'm on track for things I should be doing at this point in my career, but I'll just list what's happening, which is what I'm thankful for in this Thanksgiving week.

- Sunday-Monday: I got to be an ad hoc reviewer for a big grant for a foreign funding agency. This was likely a present from a senior investigator, but it was great fun especially because the grant was great! I did consider the bias of giving some slack to a well known investigator over minor experimental issues, but overall the work was really cool and should get funded, so I was exceedingly positive.

- Sunday: I worked with a collaborator to rewrite a paper for resubmission. The first from my lab without any "mentorly crutches".

- Monday: I was part of a thesis committee for a colleague grad student and tried to give cogent suggestions.

- Tuesday-Wednesday: I wrote the mentoring plan and sponsor information for my postdoc's NRSA application. While this is not the first mentoring plan I write, since I wrote all of mine, this is the first one I really mean. This included a lot of tap-dancing to navigate the trickiness of writing a mentoring plan for my very first trainee. I'm very curious to see how it is received. And yes, we do have a senior co-mentor.

- Wednesday-Saturday: I have to evaluate and rank 100 faculty job applications in the next 4 days (Happy Thanksgiving to me!). As part of my first job search committee, I'm really looking forward to our first committee meeting next week, to see how things shake out. Will I get to pick a buddy? What will the dynamics be?

- Sunday: As soon as I am done with the job applications, I have to finish a couple of powerpoint presentations for a mentoring workshop for postdocs I'm running next week, where we will discuss grant and faculty job applications.

- Next Monday? Finally, at some point I should get to read a semi-final version of my postdoc's grant application to give it the final polish before submission.

In the meantime, for the following week I was invited to review a paper, to give a talk and to participate in one on one mentoring program for female postdocs. Sweet!
I still feel like I'm trying this new skin on for size, but so far it seems pretty comfy.


  1. Very impressive!! I've spent most of my first year on writing grants, but the problem is that the more you write the more you get hurt :)

    1. I can't tell whether all this is really going to mean something for my tenure process, while I'm desperately trying to find the time to work on my first R01. My mentoring committee told me to wait until June...I hope they're right.

    2. I'm pretty sure they will - they are all wonderful professional services.
      Why June - some advantages related to study sections?

    3. I wanted to go in February, but they thought I needed to focus on getting a paper out and putting all my ducks in a row as far as preliminary data. At this point it's too late for February anyways...