October 8, 2004

= what i would name the pharmacology & cancer biology ‘retreat’ if i were in charge. that’s right: i’m going on a little mini-vacation to the beach this weekend, except that instead of swimming, sunning, and reading trashy magazines, i will be sitting on my ass in a hotel conference room listening to talks, listening to talks, looking at some posters, and then listening to more talks.

18 in all, to be exact. fortunately, they’re only 20 minutes long. i realize that i sound terrible right now – i mean, shouldn’t i, the budding young graduate student, be lapping this stuff up like a hungry kitten? the truth is that while i am sure i’ll find some of the talks interesting, there is no way i’m going to be able to sustain rapt attention all the way to #18. i’m (relatively) new at this. it takes a lot of mental energy for me to keep straight all the strangely named proteins or genes in someone’s talk — you know, “wee2 phosphorylates kek6 which deactivates jeb1, preventing the oligomerization of pep2 and cad6”.

huh? i bet you fell asleep just reading that sentence.

i hope that in a few years, i’ll be mentally agile enough at this to understand it all without such great effort. right now, i equate making it through 18 talks — understanding and enjoying each one, with no nap-breaks — to running a marathon. i do run, you know, but i run about a marathon’s worth per week. at best. the thought of cramming all 26 miles into one race makes me cringe, and i am already cringing a bit when i think about how i am going to avoid having any important scientists notice me falling asleep.

someday, i hope to run a marathon. i also hope to be able to look over a couple of rows ahead of me at the grad student caught in a head-bob cycle and think, “how can she be sleeping? the speaker just proved that last point so eloquently! mac3 localization by jem7 phosphorylation and kev3-dependent proteolysis completely determines the expression pattern of gek1. that totally blows my mind! i wonder if he’s thought of these eight follow-up experiments . . .”

heh. we’ll see.

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