Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sho' me wat you workin' with!

So I got word today from one of my Chemistry students, that she earned an 89 on her most recent exam after getting 39 on her first exam. Whoo-hooo!!! Now I won't get into all the HHHAAAAAAARRRRRRDDDDDD work it took for her to get to this point. Let's just say that our sesisons involved me being a "Mama", tutor, and academic cheerleader. And this chick is Greek, so the "Mama-like sessions got a little fiery at times like when she came in threatening to drop the class, LOL!! Umm, hells NO!! Now, I've mentioned it before, it REALLY tee's me off that my female students have so many what I feel are "male science professor" induced bouts of academic insecurity like this young lady. Like REALLY tee's me off!

Anyhoo, one of my favorite things to say to my students when they come to me claiming to have finally seen the "Chemistry" light, is "okay, show me what you're working with". And that brings to mind this VERY unrelated rap song, which is the source of that line:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Running from the scope, again!!

So I had an informational interview for a bioinformatics gig with a company today of which, 75% consisted of the questions were about my experiences in Pathology. P.A.T.H.O.L.O.G.Y. YEP! So what's an informational interview? It's my term for an interview where you submit an application, something or someone scans/reads it, then the company sends you a link to questions to fill out to see if they want to interview you further.

And that was ironic, because I did a couple virtual "unknowns" on the Hopkins Pathology unknown website eariler in the day. Then that was followed about an article about the new malpractice rules for Hospitalists on MedScape:

Rut roh! I kinda' got that "yikes, patient care is a mess" crook in my neck again and realized that things seem to be getting worse over time in patient care.

Anyhoo, things seem to be leaning in the Bioinformatics direction again which is good, with my tutoring maintaing at a steady pace too. Overall, I can't complain! :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Taking the "S" out of STEM

These days, I've spent a LOT of time on various blogs, reading story after story of US trained PhD's discouraged over the current job situation. And it's a VERY sad especially when you know a few of these folks from your interactions with them on the net. Take for example "Tom" (not his real name) who has a resume to die for but hasn't been able to find a permanent gig for about 18 months. Now the guy is having regular meals at the soup kitchen because he can no longer afford to feed himself. Or Shiva (not her real name), and brilliant Indian chick who's a divorcee' and single Mom and is also struggling to find full-time work. It's not hard our here for Scientists, it's a ROYAL bee-yotch for many!!!

Well until the job situation improves I can not in my right mind, encourage ANYONE to consider a career as a Scientist hence, removing the "S" from my support of STEM fields. Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (my "M") ALL look promising but Science careers, hells naw! And this is unfortunate because by the time the US realizes how much the lack of people pursuing these fields is going to cost them, they will have LONG since lost ground in being a leader in ground breaking research.In fact, I'm predicting India and possible China will be the next sites for the next major scientific and medical research discoveries for reasons too numerous to name.

And that brings me to my next point about the financial behemoth called big pharma. Let's face some facts here, this industry has NOTHING to gain from a healthy America, absolutely NOTHING! Combine that with their lobby (and Gov't officials according to some) and you have the perfect recipe for why most major diseases will NEVER be cured. There's just too much money being made in sickness and dying/death. So as an unrelated example, I've made a personal choice to ONLY buy high end items from consignments shops, eBay, thrift stores, ect. to keep from making already rich people rich. And I've decided the same thing when it comes to my health. I'm going to go overboard maintaining a healthy life style so I decrease my contribution to the what I feel is the worst industry on the planet, Big Pharma.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Do you, Boo!

Many days when I take a spare moment to contemplate where I am in my career, I come to the conclusion that I often don't know what da' hell to think. Yes, I'm enjoying being a part-time Chem prof, tutoring folks, and working on my certificate in Bioinformatics. But that missing thing for me is medical school and will be until I matriculate.

A couple days ago I was talking to a very close friend of mine when she said something that made me pause, then "check her" on that statement (not in a neck rolling way, LOL!). She said that she thinks that whatever God wants for us we already have. And my first thought was that that was the BIGGEST LIE I'd ever heard. Why? I'll explain with an example, I wasn't born with ANY education, so did that mean that God's plan was for me was to be ignorant for the rest of my life? Or what about when I finished my first college degree, did that mean that God only intended I have just one?

I don't think God's plan for us is to have just one "finish line" or goal in life, otherwise, what would be the point in living after you got there? I think God's plan is for us to live life as a series of success AND failures, and that each of those occurrences not only contributes to who we are and who we become. But those stories ultimately become our "life fabric". People say that when you hear a negative sounding "message" you should take into account the "messenger" because there's often some aspect of their own life they're unhappy, with when they can't share your dream. And while I value this woman's presence in my life VERY much, it's now pretty clear to me that I should keep my goals of becoming an MD/PhD to myself. I mean, we can still be cool, but I learned a LONG time ago that not everyone in your life is going to support whatever dream you have. And that's why you have to be REAL careful about whom you share it with. Nuff' said on that.....

Earlier today, I read an interesting article about reasons to get a PhD in Bioinformatics/Computational Biology and I was led there from an article about the differences between bioinformatics and computational biology fields. And that later article made a light bulb go off in my head. For YEARS, couldn't wrap my mind about being a "Bioinformatician" because it just didn't seem to "fit". But this article along with some research into the field more aptly describes how I see myself, in the field of Computational Biology as opposed to Bioinformatics. I guess for some, this is really splitting hairs, but "fit" has ALWAYS been important to me or I'd already have a PhD. I need my program to "fit" who I am. So what's my definition of Computational Biology? The use of computers for the analysis and intrepretation of Biological data, which means that all the work I've done in Pathology/Biomarkers comes into play BIG time!

Speaking of "fit", it seems appropriate in this crazy life of my mine that as soon as I "think" I've made a decision, something happens to throw a wrinkle in that "plan". I got word last night that I'll be starting a work-from-home gig in Bioinformatics in April according to the guy who recruited me for his new Biotech start-up company. Of course, as a Biotech start-up that start date could be anytime. And this means that we don't have to move for me to do what I want to be doing right now. And that's cool, because I was thinking earlier today that it would be kinda crazy to move now then have to move in 1.5 years for med school too.

So is this a lesson about my faith (or lack of) in God's plan for me? Seems so, I'm just looking forward to no longer being the butt of God's jokes when I talk about my ever changing "plans", ROTFL!!!!

Lastly, as I see myself morphing into a NEW woman (courtesy of peri-menopause, LOL), I'm thinking of changing not only my blog "name" but blog addy as well into something that reflects where I feel I am in my life right now. VERY clearly, Path may or may not be the "path" for me pun intended, and I want to make sure that I put as much open and positive stuff into the universe as I can.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 2013- From comment to post

Long time Path201X blog follower's comment: "Hey scripper scrapper, Please don't block me out. I enjoy reading your posts."

Gotta LOVE your friends and supporters from the INTERNET, ROTFL!

And thanks to you too Anon for the virtual love!

The thing is, I can't figure out how to configure this thing for username/password access (so much for my computer programming abilities, LOL), so for now I'm going to leave my blog open to racists, haters, and others who would dare try to ruin my dream. Plus, I personally find having to enter so much stuff on a blog site a BIG pain in the arse, so at least for now, I'm leaving it be. The thing is that I ALWAYS forget that I'm married to a highly experienced computer hacker, so there's not a whole lot going on on the INTERNET that couldn't be addressed one way or another. And that's my not so vainly disguised threat to my haters to think REAL hard about who you're dealing with. Cyberstalking IS a crime and I don't need an IT trained husband working at a certain G'ovt agency to know that.

Movin' on, after a family discussion, or should I say that I've always had my family's support on this, I think I'm coming around to the possibility of moving out of Metro DC MUCH sooner than later because deep down in the crevices of my heart, I really, really, REALLY want to do some type of research, Bioinformatics using research. And these days with the craptastic market for Scientists, beggars can't be choosers. So now, I'm going to follow-up on some of those opportunities I get which will require a move. And based on the emails I've received about positions, that includes about 10 states.

Unfortunately, this latest threat to my med school app by a hater who didn't like my comments means that I won't be sharing where I'm moving to or what school I'm attending since I plan to keep talking 'ish about racism, ageism, gender discrimination, how much Pharma cheats and SUCKS, and anything else I deem unjust or unfair. And like it or not, TRUTH brings the devil like stank on sh......, opps my bad, I'm tyrna keep it clean, LOL!!!

Anyhoo, I had a really good day today, I'm seeing my 3rd client which means my throat is hurting a little (I shoulda' had tea instead of coffee with my lunch). But it also means that Mama is getting P.A.I.D, cha-ching!

Monday, March 18, 2013

In an Erkle voice "Do I look fat???"

I've always found it interesting what different cultures consider overweight or fat. And since I recently posted on a site where it was insuinted that I had a weight problem, I guess you could say that it prompted me to post this picture I took of myself ~ 2 weeks ago.

So why are having curves considered "fat" to some people (white folks)? Better yet, why is being morbidly obese considered attractive to others (Blacks/Hispanics)? The weight issue in this country is at the heart of why I don't support Obamacare in it's current form. Put bluntly another way, I do NOT suppoort free healthcare for folks who have NO interest in thier own health. Or that smoke. I DO think they should pay MUCH higher premiums for their lifestyle choices although I have no idea how this could be enforced.

So with that said, I guess I'll "sat" my "fat" a$$ down somewhere. Or is that "phat" a$$, LOL??? Thank goodness "beauty" is in the eye of the beholder!

PS- I can't believe I just spent HOURS "debating" a stalker that called me fat! URGH,lol!!

PSS- What 'da hell is Beyonce thinking with a song with lyrics like "bow down b*tches??? Really Bee?

Who runs the world?

WOMEN!!!! Definitely NOT "girls", but I get that lyrically, women wouldn't have fit quite so nicely!

I got word this morning that I'm being considered for an Epi/Informatics fellowship with a major agency and also for a real Epi/Informatics gig. So, I'm pretty happy right now! Yeah!

I've also been thinking a LOT about this PhD "issue" and I now I'm thinking that I should let my next gig dictate which direction I go (so it will be paid for among other reasons). If I get a full-time faculty gig, I think the Science education route would make the most sense. If I can get an Epi or Informatics gig, emphasis on the Informatics part of that, then a PhD program in Informatics will make more sense.

I think.

*Images from google images

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 2013's, 10 for the road

It's that time again, time for my rambling thoughts presented as a "top ten"!!!

1) As writing is becoming a HUGE part of my life these days, my #1 goal is to learn how to better EDIT what I write! URGH!!!!

2) During this time of year when 4th year med students are matched into residency programs, is it important to tell folks you got your top choice? Really??? All these years where I've heard/read about this info I've NEVER considered it anything worth bragging about. And in this economy, can't folks just be happy to have a JOB when so many others don't?

3) I'm still waiting (in vain it seems) on President Obama to address the record unemployment in the Black community. Tick, tock, tick, tock.................................

4) There's sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much involved with starting a business, especially if you're considering a non-profit as I am. And I realize that this is NOT a couple months venture, what I envision would probably take YEARS!!! Double URGH!!!

5) My physics review is coming along quite nicely and yes, I use my "in home physics tutor" AKA my daughter, quite regularly!

6) This is the first weekend in a while where I didn't have any clients. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

7) I know what people say about learning getting more difficult or decreasing with age, but I feel I'm having the exact opposite reaction. As I age, my learning not only get better, it's a lot more precise, as in I'm better able to filter out what's important from what's not. And I can't wait to see how much this improves my MCAT score!!

8) I still marvel at how much my life has changed over the past year, especially as it relates to my short term career goals.

9) Related to #8, it's interesting to have conversations with other science education professionals about why high school kids aren't prepared for STEM subjects in college. And it seems to me that while some of the fault rests with the kids not being as prepared as they could be, these college professors also need to take a LONG hard look in the mirror themselves. And yeah, I KNOW saying that is NOT going to go over well!

10) Life is good! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Emotional career satisfaction!!

There are some who say that you should keep your personal life VERY separate from what you do for a living, but as much as I've tried (ie my time in Pharma), I NEED to have some significant emotional satisfaction from what I do. So while a career doing significant research feels like it's becoming a distant memory, I'm pleased with the fact that I will get a TON of emotional satisfaction in my other career options.

This past Monday, I started doing physics review from my TBR book and the book shown in the post is in my opinion, the best Physics text book I've ever come across. This book is entertaining and thorough, while emphasizing math based physics word problem solving. Then it also occurred to me that since my kid has a 98% average in her honors Physics class and regularly assists her classmates, that I not only do I need to go to her for Physics assistance (which I did not long ago this evening) but that she'll likely be the first tutor I hire to work for my company! Speaking of my kid, she's a finalist for an internship to work on a major government building this summer, so besides being happy for her with this potentially being her first job, we're super proud of her as well!!

This has been a busy work week and I'm kinda tired now, so I'll wrap this post up now! And for some strange reason, the song below has been playing ALL week in my mental iPod:

Monday, March 11, 2013

I couldn't think of a post title, LOL!!

So I got an update on "the prefect gov't gig" that I was still in the running, but that they were still interviewing other candidates. And in my job history, when an employer has to think long about hiring me, that doesn't usually turn out to be a happy working environment. Speaking of jobs, the legal process with my last Pharma job has also taken a major step toward resolution and for my bottom line, that's a VERY good thing! And the fact that that the insecure witch that ran my division is no longer employed with them under circumstances which no one seems to want to go into details about, says to me that in the end, the career she tried to destroy with blatant lies ended up being hers! Yeah, Karma is a Bee-oytch!!!!!

I also launched my tutoring business by complete accident and I still haven't decided how far I want to take this (which is completely idiotic, IMHO). While tutoring another student through the company I work for, I noticed a student sitting at the next table seeming to be eavesdropping on our conversation. And I'm cool with situations like that, I figure if he gets helped from what he hears, good for him! So after my session ended, he asked me if I would help him prepare for the same exam since he and the student I was tutoring just happened to be at the same university. Thus, after months of thinking/planning, my business was launched!

Speaking of school a few weeks ago, I was supposed to follow up on interviews for the PhD program in Epidemiology/Informatics but I wasn't feeling well and the Prof I was to interview with had to cancel at the last minute. For whatever reason, I haven't rescheduled that interview and the reason is because while I'm certain there's a PhD in my future, I'm just not sure which one anymore. At the heart of the issue is my doubt with the "market" for folks who want research careers and the fact that the older I get, the less appealing working for others indefinitely is for me. And it's an understatement to say that for the past 5 years where I've tried my damndest to get back into an research academic environment long term and had very little success (at least in Metro DC), that I've been repeatedly disappointed at the lack of opportunities. Okay, most folks in research understand that being willing to relocate is part of the deal, but I simply wasn't willing to uproot my family at this time. So I had to deal with the ramifications of that decision. But the other part of my concern about research careers in general is that fact that the "market" for scientists is so shaky thanks to immigration laws. Put another way, why would a PI hire me at 60K when they can hire a foreign MD/PhD at 30K? And I can't count the number of foreigners I know/heard of that work for free when their spouses are assigned a paying lab position. And this is at the heart of why the US can't recruit folks to pursue careers in the sciences, though they'd like you to think a lack of interest is the problem. Finally, there's the issue of mentor ship which for a research career is MORE critical than education and experience, and unfortunately that's a HUGE missing part of my professional life right now. And IMHO, this is the primary reason why you see so few underrepresented minorities (URMs) in or pursuing research careers. So more than ever these days, I'm thinking that some inner city clinical duties (as an Internist) combined with teaching/mentoring at th med school level, and some STEM education business building may be the best long term career option for me.

Anyhoo, all this has me thinking about which PhD program will help me in the long run and be of personal and professional interest, emphasis on help me in the long run which is a stark contrast from what I've previously talked about. Sure, I really LOVE Bio-Health informatics but if I can't make the kind of career I want of that in metro DC (as it appears now), then that's a HUGE problem. So now I'm thinking that maybe Science Education should be a consideration since: 1) My business could be helped by that 2) I LOVE teaching and 3) I'll have little worry about being an unemployed PhD due to my business interests. Emphasizing STEM education specifically targeting minority and underprivileged kids lines up perfectly with who I am and what I'm about. And the fact that the President has set aside multiple millions of dollars toward this area isn't lost on me either. I could also consider concentrating in medical education and one local school even has a curriculium in that area. Right now, I don't know exactly where this is heading but I'm looking into ALL viable options. In the meantime, I'm on target to get a certificate in Bioinformatics for all my blood, sweat, and tears these past few months!

Moving on, I'm thinking about a September 2013 MCAT test date (you didn't think I fogot about that did you, LOL??), but at this point, I think it's more likely to be a January 2014 date. I've decided to get certified to tutor in Physics in an attempt to expand my business prospects and also prepare for the MCAT. But given that Physics in my untimate weak area, I'll need some time to get that on track. I think I can do it this summer for the Sept 2013 date, but I'm just not so sure. So I'm leaving that fairly open.

Well, I think that's about it for now, lots and lots of ideas running though my mind (as usual), but at the same time, thinking about all of life's possibilities is a TON of fun!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequestration frustration!

I still haven't heard back from the perfect gov't job yet and the sequestration issue is the likely reason why. Whoops! And it's an understatement to say that I put all my eggs in one basket with this one which in this economy, is a rather dumb thing to do. But because I'm okay with what I currently have going on and I'm adamant about NEVER having employment situatuions like the ones I've had over the couple few years, I've resovled myself to just sucking it up until the "right" gig comes along. In the meantime, I still get emails about 6 figure gigs from all over the US and it's a blessing, but MD is our home, so here I sit waiting on God.

And I mean SIT, I've spent the past few weeks trying to get rid of a computer virus which has left me unable to do ANY work on my laptop, and I'm now hours away from just blanking my hard drive and reinstalling everything. Except that I can't find the install CD's that came with my laptop, this just ends up being yet another lesson about why I HATE Windows so much and how I silly I was to not buy the Macbook in the first place! URGH!!!!

In the meantime, I'm thinking back and forth about how much bioinformatics I want to have in my clinical/translational informatics future. Yeah, it's kinda nice to know computer programing to whatever miniscule level I know it now, but this is the type of gig that could easily be outsourced. And given that we had a presidental contender who ran a company that had did just that, I'm VERY keen to guide my science future in a direction where it can't be so potentially impacted by something like outsourcing of jobs.

Now when I started working with people's kids, I promised not to talk badly about any of them. And I'm not, well kinda not. Anyhoo, a couple months ago I met the parents of a middle school girl and based on them, I assumed she would look something like this:

But when I got to their home, she acted more like this:

I mean, this girl was a real cutie pie but the 'tude left me thinking that a few days with "Big Mama" would wrap that attitude up real quick, LOL!! And the poor parents had been through FIVE tutors before they called me, but I really felt up to the challenge.......... until "Sybil" came downstairs after I'd waited for almost an hour. My immediate take on her was that she had what I call "biracial" issues and after talking to her and her parents I was pretty certain I was correct. And coming from a family that's VERY multicultural, I understood this all too well though I never had any identity issues growing up thanks in large part to the Southern "one drop" rule.

The session actually went very well, she's simply a bright kid at a really ackward stage in her life. But there was no way in hades I was going to be able to work with her again, I'm just not that patient anymore. And because my clientele continues to resemble the United Nations, I'm still able to get so much more out of it than twice the pay for what I was formally trained to do!! And that's GREAT!!!