Thursday, April 22, 2010

And it Happened :)

OK. So today was the day, the Big Day for me. I woke up early in the morning and headed to the gym for my morning workout. I was only 15 minutes on the treadmill when my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I guessed it was most likely someone from college, because it starts with the familiar 252(…). Well, to be more honest, I’ll have to admit that a little voice inside me was saying that that was the phone call I’ve been waiting for. This call might be from the conference coordinator with some good news about my poster. It just might be; I’m not so sure.

I was right! “Hi, this is Tina,” the female voice says when I pick up.  Oh yes, Tina, the lady whose name is always at the bottom of all e-mails regarding conferences in our Little Institution and whom I never got to meet or even know what she looks like. “Are you Little Miss N?” She asks. “Yes, that’s me,” I reply. “I called to inform you that the conference committee has selected your poster to be awarded as the best graduate research project and poster, and we would like you to be with us in the conference hall at 12:00 pm. I’ve contacted your advisors, but you may call them again yourself to insure their presence as well.”

Now I can’t recall what I said exactly in response, maybe because I didn’t actually know what to say then. I perhaps thanked her and promised I would call my advisors, although I knew my co-advisor is currently overseas for some conference, but my advisor’s presence would be more than enough to me. It was about 9:15 am, and I started debating whether I had enough time to finish my workout or I should rush home to change into some decent, formal outfit instead of the casual attire I was wearing for the day. I didn’t have to think long before I jumped off the treadmill, headed to the locker room, showered, and called my parents while I was dressing. They were both very happy for me. They must be; they know I’ve been dreaming of this since undergrad, and today is the day.

I changed, trying on several outfits in front of the mirror before I made up my mind, and hit the road to college. I went to Advisor in his office, who told me that he had to be with his wife at the hospital at 12 o’clock, but he’ll try his best to be there. A little disappointing, but nothing could be done. He’ll try, he said.

I go to the lab for some reason, and I meet Postdoc there sitting at her rig. I tell her I won the prize and she congratulates me and says, "but you know, it's too bad Timothy Hunt was not able to come this year*. Seems like you have to recieve your prize from someone from here instead. When I won the prize, a Nobel Laureate (I can't remember the name she mentioned) handed it to me and I have pictures of me with him."

Oh well shucks. Why do you just love to ruin my happy moments? Just why? This is what I say in my head. But then I decide that this is not going to upset me. I got my prize and this is all what I care about.

I head to the conference hall. Listen to a few speeches and then prizes were given to the winners. Advisor was there, thankfully. Turns out that I'm not the only one from our department to get a prize. An undergrad student in our department got one as well, so today is a super happy day for the department. The ceremony was followed by lunch, and I got to sit at the table wih my sister (who is doing her undergrad studies in the same Little College) and one of my favorite female Profs. I just love this woman: humble, witty, and cheerful. We ate and laughed and joked, and discussed a bit what I might be doing after I finish my MS. She encouraged me, like everyone else to go for a PhD. The truth is, this is what I want to do too, but I'm still not sure when or where, and more frankly, I'm not sure if it's really worth it.

After lunch, everyone was removing their posters from the lobby as requested, except for the winners. I found that a shiny blue ribbon is now attached to the upper-left corner of my poster. So I took more pictures of it and with me, my sister and Advisor next to it.

So this was my day. Advisor said that a lot of people expected that the grad prize will go to me this year. He said that he was told by an insider that very few posters made it as finalists, and mine ranked the highest. No PhD students were even nominated for the prize. Advisor joked abiut this and said I don't need to defend my thesis anymore because my prize already says it all. Well, I wish. But that will just be in my wildest dreams.

*according our Little College's traditions, a Nobel Laureate is invited to Poster Day to give the keynote speech and to give the winners their prizes. This year, the invited person was not able to come due to volcanic dust and interruption of air traffic.


Nat Blair said...

Yay, congratulations! That's awesome.

Neuropharma said...

Thanks, Nat :))

Obviously I've been short on blogging for a long time. Things have changed a lot since then. I need to write some follow-up posts soon.