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Offline movies

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Distractions
« on: May 23, 2007, 03:21:17 PM »
While sitting on the couch watching TV last night, I got to thinking about what I consider one of the most important parts of grad school: what you do when you are not in lab.  The rest of the working world takes this time for granted.  No matter how many times I tell my parents the hours I work, everytime I call them at 7 pm, they are shocked when I say that I still have to go back to lab to do some more work.  Would anyone be shocked by the hours I work if I were an I-banker?  Probably not.  So why is this so confounding to people?

Both of my parents went to grad school in humanities fields, and they admit that they worked really hard, and harder than they work in the jobs that they went to grad school to obtain.  This seems to be a common occurrence: you have to work your ass off to get a job where you don’t have to work your ass off.  The exception, of course, is if you go into the academics side of things and have to get tenure before you start sitting on your thumbs all day.  As one of my former colleagues said, “once you get tenure, you can stop wearing pants.”  Beautiful.

To the point, chemistry differs from humanities because you have to actually be in lab doing something for anything to get done.  If you were, say, a historian, then everything has already been done, you just need to compile and make sense of it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that is an easy task, but at least you can work on that at home in sweat pants.  A task like chemistry really invades your life.  You have to be present for every part of the process, from set-up to work-up to data collection.  Automated instruments help some, but they really just make the process of collecting the data more efficient.

So what is the difference here?  Does this mean that a chemist does comparatively more work than a historian to get a PhD?  Maybe, but then again a chemistry student probably gets paid more and will finish in 5-6 years instead of 7-10.  Sounds like a wash to me.

The big question is how does the quality of life in those years compare?  Please add some comments about how you spend your “free time” and how this helps you cope with all the time you commit to the lab.  Some bloggers have made mention of their distractions on their blogs already including fish and beer.

And no, reading blogs about chemistry doesn’t count!


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« Last Edit: May 26, 2007, 07:30:39 PM by Mitch »

Offline Mitch

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2007, 12:52:38 AM »
I make chemistry communities in my spare time.
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Offline enahs

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2007, 04:28:43 PM »
I make chemistry communities in my spare time.

I make a jackhole of my self in my spare time.

Offline Equi

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2007, 08:23:43 AM »
I sleep, cook and eat. And if time and mood permits I make a trip to the gym trying to make the futile effort to increase my embarassingly low weight. Let's see how this works out next year, when I'm actually starting my PhD ;-)
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Offline lemonoman

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2007, 11:49:29 AM »
My passion is social dynamics.  Back in highschool I was very introverted with few friends.  But now, I like going out, and instead of just hanging out with my close friends (which I still do, of course), I go and meet some random people.  My theory is, the world is cold and no one ever makes eye contact in the streets anymore...so I'm going to reach out and touch someone (not literally though...unless they want it ;) )

Offline kylefinchsigmate

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2007, 02:18:09 PM »
I also play cello and golf...  :-\

Offline kiwi

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2007, 03:34:44 AM »
golf? you want to try a relaxing hobby  ;)

Offline mir

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2007, 12:55:04 PM »
Im usually go and have a beer or watching a good movie (horror movies especially), or experimenting with my camera. In the vacations Im spending a lot of time by the sea fishing, or walking in the mountains eating cloud berries. In winter-vacations Im skiing or making strange snowmen  ;D

Oh... I forgot, astronomy is also one of my hobbies  :)
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Re: Distractions
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2007, 03:31:47 PM »
The big question is how does the quality of life in those years compare? 

And no, reading blogs about chemistry doesn't count!

I spend my free time staring at the ceiling - it is a very rewarding experience.

"Say you're in a [chemical] plant and there's a snake on the floor. What are you going to do? Call a consultant? Get a meeting together to talk about which color is the snake? Employees should do one thing: walk over there and you step on the friggin� snake." - Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of Glaxosmithkline, June 2006

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2007, 06:35:20 AM »
I read science books and watch National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel.  It nourishes my fascination in Science.  ;)
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Offline constant thinker

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Re: Distractions
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2007, 11:36:58 PM »
I sleep, cook and eat. And if time and mood permits I make a trip to the gym trying to make the futile effort to increase my embarassingly low weight.
I can relate.

I eat a lot and run. I'm 5' 9", but I weigh a measly 120ish pounds (it fluctuates between 115-125). Still doesn't stop from playing football with friends and wrestling them. Usually I can beat my cousin who weighs 190, but that's probably because I'm way more agile. I use his weight to my advantage since it takes him more effort to stop/change directions.

Oh... I forgot, astronomy is also one of my hobbies  :)

I'm so bad at astronomy. I was part of a new standardize test that New Hampshire is trying out. Some people got physics/chemistry while others got astronomy/geology. I would have done amazingly well had I gotten the physics/chemistry test instead of the astronomy/geology one. Two subjects I know little about.
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