Sunday, May 27, 2007


Two days ago, on Friday, I achieved two major milestones. First, I handed in a completed PhD thesis. It was on special magic thesis paper and was even signed by my committee. This means that, when the university gets around to planning a big ceremony, I'll be getting a PhD.

I'm trying to protect my pseudonymity here, so I won't tell you exactly what it is I study, or where. It's in a technical field. Take the most impressive field of study you can think of. No, that's not what I study. Think of another. That's the one. I study the second-most-cool-sounding technical field. Now think of the most "prestigious" school in the United States where a random layperson thinks one would go to study that field. Yes, that's where I am.

I'm not saying those things to brag, just to give you some idea of where I'm coming from. I will tell you that the field, while interesting to me, isn't nearly as cool or as difficult as most people think it is. And my narrow specialty sounds much less cool than the field as a whole. And the school? Yeah, it's a good school. It has a lot of money, and that makes a big difference. My department in particular is awesome, with, on average, very good faculty, and administrative staff who are actually helpful, rather than obstacles to getting work done.

Second, I passed the twelve-week mark in my pregnancy. Some sources claim that after 12 weeks, the risk of miscarriage decreases substantially. I've also heard the same happens at 8 weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks, so I don't have huge confidence in 12 being some kind of magic number. Most likely the odds decrease exponentially with time, and experts just simplify it for the laywoman by giving these arbitrary dates. Numbers I've heard, for the odds past 12 weeks, are 3% and 5%, so the odds of miscarriage aren't even that low. And I've read enough about all the various things that can go wrong, even late, in a pregnancy, that I'm not overly cavalier. But yeah, it's looking like the best prediction is that sometime in December a mewling, slimy mini-person will emerge from my vagina. How very, very, odd.

And thus, after passing those two milestones, I decided to start a blog. I made an attempt once before, but overreached a little and got frustrated with myself. This one will be about my experiences as a post-doc, my search for a job as a professor, and my pregnancy. I presume the intersection of the last two may provide some entertainment. I make no promises about the frequency or quality of my posts.

As for my handle, I prefer to pronounce it in three syllables: "con-FOO-zed", but that's up to you.

No comments: