ilex

I Poke Badgers with Spoons

No, I don't have a problem with it...

No More Waiting...
ilex
majoru
I got into medicine at Griffith, starting next year. I'm... ecstatic.

And there's nothing more to really say about it. [smiles]

Post-Interview Anxiety
ilex
majoru
The anxiety after the interview is worse than before, to be honest. Now everything is set in concrete, it's more worrisome. When the online interview blackout has ceased (to prevent others getting any form of unfair advantage), I'll post my summary of the questions asked.

Anyway. Only a while to go, now. Results should be emailed about 10am on Wednesday the 28th of October, after Maxine Hughes (the admissions officer) has had her coffee. Fingers plaited.


The Interview, It Looms at Me...
ilex
majoru
So! It's early Sunday morning, I'm a little sick and can't sleep, and the interview is three days away!

I've been getting nervous. The last week back at work has helped to numb, rather more than calm, the butterflies, as I've been busy busy busy as usual. I have gone over some questions that might appear in the interview. I have my answers ready for the biggies, like why I want to become a doctor. I have a new set of clothing, and a new bag to carry it in. I have my plane ticket prepared, the forms I need to hand over at the interview are all in one place, with my ticket, awaiting my signature. I know my preferences for the type of place I want to get (i.e. Queensland Health scholarship, Commonwealth scholarship, HECS place and Bonded place (in that order)). I *think* I've prepared for everything. I just need to do laundry tomorrow, pack my bag, and prepare my lessons for Monday (I'll be at school) and lessons to leave for Tuesday and Wednesday.

So, why am I still so anxious? Everyone that I've spoken to so far seems to think I will get in. I wish I had their absolute confidence... even with the anxiety, I'm still reasonably hopeful that I'll get a place. Griffith calculates final places by looking at a combined score; 50% GAMSAT and 50% interview score... so, if nothing else, my good GAMSAT result will still count in my favour.

I was contacted earlier in the week about completing a survey immediately prior to the interview, trying to link personality to success in the MBBS and after, while practising as a doctor. I decided I'll do it, it's just a 500-something question personality assessment, takes about an hour, and the busy-work will help to calm my mind and settle me.

[exhales]

Perhaps this is appropriate?
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

The Letter Arrived...
ilex
majoru



Wednesday, 14 October 2009. Noon.

Hello!
ilex
majoru
I have awesome news!

I have an interview to Griffith's MBBS (Medicine) program!

YAY!

Still freakishly busy...
ilex
majoru
So, I'm still doing what seems like a hundred little things simultaneously, but I have excellent news.

I got a 66 on the GAMSAT, with almost no study! That's approximately equal to 92nd percentile!

Whee! That should be sufficient to get into UQ or Griffith for 2010, I hope!

New Year's Meme
ilex
majoru
Nicked from pubcat and, more directly, ulfruna

Meme, meme, meme...Collapse )

Possible Honours Projects
ilex
majoru
 

JM & KM ED & MB CJ & WW GG JR & BC
Project

Scabies, resistance to permethrin

Osteoporosis, looking for SNPs and monogenic factors re: bone anabolism and removal

Microcystin, an algal toxin, extracting, purifying and describing two novel congeners

Not well described yet, but assaying a selection of Brisbane residents (through ARCBS) for genetic differences in immunophenotypes

Using the Gene Dimmer technology in Arabidopsis to express GUS/GFP without RNAi: helps prove that Gene Dimmer works in all Eukaryotoes and not just animals

Publications

Strong record, variety of journals

Very strong record of publications in a variety of journals, inc. the big ones

Good record of publications in variety of journals

Fairly long history of publication in a variety of journals and formats in past 20 years. Written one textbook and one popsci book

Both have a long history of publications and education at UQ

Lab

Modern, well equipped lab. Double funded in ‘08-’09

New facility with very modern equipment. Well funded and supported by HPV vaccine patent

 

Modern lab, well equipped, time split between UQ and EnTox at Coopers Plains

 

Lab only opens 15 December, lacks a lot of equipment yet. Obviously modern facility, funding is still uncertain

Unsure of lab, though both supervisors are well funded

People

Friendly, helpful and enthusiastic about an honours student. Primary supervisor desc. as ‘brilliant recent PhD grad’, head of lab infectious disease specialist

Very mentally active married couple, friendly, talkative and open. Very enthusiastic about honours student. Actual supervisor endocrinologist, head of lab rheumatologist, now immunogeneticist

Both supervisors are friendly, knowledgeable and open to the idea of an honours student. Primary supervisor has a background in biochem, esp. neurochem and immunosupression drugs

Small group, only been back in AU since February. Supervisor, post-doc, honours student. Post-doc and supervisor seem nice enough, though not particularly organised re: projects or funding yet

Both are nice enough people, but remarkably busy. All other projects would have less busy supervisors/co-supervisors

Techniques

Sequencing, extraction, developing primers, working with animal models, diagnostics, microscopy(?)

Sequencing (sanger and nextgen), microarrays, bioinformatic analysis(?)

Protein extraction, purification, column chromatography, HPLC, NMR, mass spectrophotometry

Sequencing, extraction, heavy emphasis on bioinformatics and stat analysis, Bayesian possibly

Cloning, PCR, transformation, growing plants, analysis thereof, microscopy

Interest & Applications

High interest, useful for further control of scabies (new acaricides unlikely)

High interest, monogenic traits could be channelled into pharmaco-therapeutic research

Interesting, of import due to microcystin’s role as hepatotoxin and commonness in water

Medium interest, data could be potentially useful at some future point

Medium interest, similar techniques to those currently in my repertoire. GD tech monitarily important for crop applications

Location

QIMR, in Herston. Bus and train close by, fairly frequent

DI, PAH in Dutton Park. Bus and train possible, less frequent, change in city

UQ and EnTox at Coopers Plains (easy parking, buses probable given proximity to QEII hospital

UQ

UQ

Potential for Publishing

Medium, probably insufficient novel work

Medium, novel findings based on chance monogenetic links

High, description of two new congeners and possible toxicological analyses is paper material alone

Medium to Low, novel findings unlikely

Low, novel findings unlikely, this project would simply be to confirm multiple-kingdom application of GD

Stipend Yes, ~5K No Yes, ~10K paid as wage No No

So, this is the table of potential honours projects I have to choose from. I've highlighted in aqua my first preference for each area, and orange marks my second choice. I've pretty much excluded GG and JR & BC from consideration, but I still need to rank three preferences of project/supervisor on the application form, so any assistance with that'd be appreciated. Comments are very welcome and encouraged, no matter what your background is.

Poll #1314455 Honours Project Ranking

Which project, overall, would be your first preference?

JM & KM
2(40.0%)
ED & MB
0(0.0%)
CJ & WW
3(60.0%)
GG
0(0.0%)
JR & BC
0(0.0%)

Which would be your second preference?

JM & KM
3(60.0%)
ED & MB
0(0.0%)
CJ & WW
2(40.0%)
GG
0(0.0%)
JR & BC
0(0.0%)

And which would be your third?

JM & KM
0(0.0%)
ED & MB
5(100.0%)
CJ & WW
0(0.0%)
GG
0(0.0%)
JR & BC
0(0.0%)

Cheers!



A Job: I Can Has!
ilex
majoru
So, as an update to anyone I have yet to tell:

  • I have found a job as a Telephone Market Researcher. I apologise if it's you I call. I did this training this Saturday just past, and start properly this Friday. I applied for it very quickly, and got a call the following day. I doubt this is due to any great outstanding abilities on my part except perhaps written coherency, but still, a source of income I has, and can keep looking for others if I so wish.

  • In relation to the above, something I'm considering doing next year is my honours in science, as BSc (Hons) looks so much better to potential employers than a BSc alone, as well as opening up the possibility of a PhD at a later point, presuming I get a first class or second class A honours. It also has the capacity to improve my chances of getting into medicine, or even the ability to do a combined MBBS/PhD, which only takes six years, rather than the usual four of an MBBS alone. Also, the MBBS/PhD would be partially funded through a PhD scholarship, as if you enter it with a prior research degree (the option exists to begin it after second year of the MBBS if you get extremely good grades) the time line breaks down as follows:
    • First Year: Do first year of MBBS (mostly theory) and begin your project part time in 2nd semester, at partial funding for the year (around 6K)

    • Second Year: Do second year of MBBS (mostly theory) and continue working part time on your project all year, confirm by the end of the year or early in third year, partial funding (around 12K)

    • Third Year: Full time study for the PhD, full funding (around 25K)

    • Fourth Year: Full time study for the PhD, full funding, as above

    • Fifth Year: Do third year of MBBS (clinical rotations) and write thesis part time, partial funding (around 12K)

    • Sixth Year: Do fourth and final year of MBBS (clinical rotations) and complete thesis part time, partial funding as above

  • It'd be as busy as all hell, but if I can handle the honours schedule and score well, it'd be a definite option that'd fast-track my aspirations for research/tertiary education and clinical practice. It's not as if I can expect much of a life in the four years of a normal MBBS anyway.

  • On the topic of honours, I've been meeting with or have arranged meetings with various honours supervisors. I sent out twelve emails, received a few rejections (two full labs, and one supervisor whose fellowship runs out next year and can't guarantee another), and got five interested. After I've seen them all at this week's end, I'll make a little pro/con chart and see which is the most worthwhile and has the most benefits to me now and in the future. The projects are:
    • Looking at the genetics of drug resistance in the dermal parasite, Sarcoptes scabiei, AKA scabies, and options to repotentiate current drugs (oral Ivermectin and topical permethrin) with synergists. Have visited with the supervisor

    • Looking at the genetics of osteoporosis, through the medium of people with high density but non-brittle bones (the more common variant is high density but brittle bones). Have visited the supervisor

    • Looking at a blue-green algae toxin, microcystin, from any of a variety of possible perspectives. I'd be particularly interested in looking at how it affects humans, so the toxicology/pharmacology perspective. Have visited the supervisor

    • Looking at the human genome, in a project that hasn't been specified. I don't hold much hope for this one, as the supervisor seems scatterbrained and I don't find his previous publications hugely encouraging. Have visited the supervisor. He wasn't as bad as I suspected, but he still doesn't have a lab until next week, and his background is primarily in Drosophila, which isn't so useful: he's midway between changing fields of research. Good for him, not so great for me

    • Looking at the genetic background of skin cancers. Visit the supervisor Friday morning


  • I'll be moving back into Indro sometime next week, I think, once the room is clear and properly cleaned. It's not a 'thank goodness' situation, but it'll be easier in the long run. Mum is getting irritable (not that she isn't usually)

  • The future looks bright

Interview
ilex
majoru
I had my interview for the Queensland Government's 2009 Grad Program on Wednesday (two days back from here) afternoon, and I think it went well. This follows two rounds of psychometric testing, whittling the original 400 applicants down, first to 100 and then again to 60. It began with a 30m block of stimulus response, writing a letter to an irate Gold Coast resident regarding water restrictions and desalinisation plants (I was given a bundle of papers including the actual policy regarding water in Queensland, some news briefings and press releases, and the summary of a study) and making points regarding a planning change hypothetical. Spent most of the time writing the letter, and then 5m at the end jotting down a few notes on the policy issue. After than I was allowed 10m alone with the three interview scenarios (a behavioural style interview) to jot down a few notes. The interview was with two members of the policy department in the Public Service Commission, and went for about 30m as we went through the points, what I'd learned from them, how I'd applied the skills to other situations, why I chose to do things the ways I did them. I feel neutral about it, though think I performed well in the interview and began a decent draft of a reply to the letter. I'll keep my fingers crossed, and hope that it goes well. I'll hear back in about a fortnight. All applicants being equal, I have a 28.33% chance of getting one of the 17 available positions.

After this, I went and had dinner with the lovely Leah and inimitable 7lifeuncommon7 and had a good chat before returning to my current westerly abode.

I'm tired and sleepless and scattered.

[Cue manic laughter]
ilex
majoru
So... I spent the better part of last week, and a few hours today in what I have dubbed 'Bovine University' (Do they really expect us to swallow this tripe?), AKA Job Search Training (JST). This is a requirement mandated by Centrelink for people on the Newstart benefit, AKA the Dole. In my case, I was tagged for early JST because I have recent and valid qualifications, though most people only need start it after 3 months on the dole without getting a job, and I was doubly fortunate in that I needed only complete 30 hours of mind-numbing busy work, many need to complete 100h.

Anyway. The first day was fine and somewhat educational, the remainder has been simply sitting on virus infested computers, inequipped with basic software many employers require for format reasons (MS Word or Adobe PDF, even though OpenOffice.org is free and you can get a free (though shitty) PDF distiller, too), and looking for jobs. Applying for any that seem applicable, too, to get one's 10-per-fortnight quota up. This has driven me a little mad. I have written probably 20-30 small, short emails to 7lifeuncommon7, much to his chagrin I'm sure.

I'm tempted to do a little literature review in my private time and prepare a report to issue to the job agency I've been attending, because while the guy in charge of the program means well and is qualified, he's going about it in an odd way that doesn't do much for people wanting to attend: for a start, it's too similar to the atmosphere of a school, which I'm sure has contributed to many people becoming disenfranchised and out of work in the first place (lack of comprehensive education).

On the upside, the Mackay job should have been decided Friday, and will hopefully hear about that. I had an interview Thursday for Queensland Government Graduate jobs for 2009 (in any/all departments, I sent in a preference sheet that started with the Dept. Education, Training and the Arts; Queensland Health; the Public Commission; and the Premier's Cabinet) but we got flooded in Thursday, and so it's been rescheduled to this Wednesday at 1510h.

In unrelated news, I'm giving myself a new piercing or two for Xmas. Later today I'm off to renew my driver's licence (I'm on my opens come Friday, wheet!) and go home and do some cleaning and whatnot. Hope everyone is well!

Awesome Hat
ilex
majoru
This would have to be the coolest hat I have seen recently, and I am definitely a purveyor of hats.

A Brief Update
ilex
majoru

  • I am going on Newstart, of Ministry of Plenty fame.

  • I have lost 4kg thanks to eating less, exercising more, depression and incendiary willpower.

  • I have received an email from Mackay, they're conferring in mid-November to discuss making my position full-time. The view is that it's likely, and if so, I'll be packing up my bag of tricks and migrating.

  • I still have a stupid crush.

  • I will be up early tomorrow morning to get to Will's place (beating traffic) to assist with an assignment he's completing, but am not sleeping, 'cause sleeping would be sensible.


So Appropriate...
ilex
majoru
Linky.

Another interview
ilex
majoru
I think today's interview went ok. It seemed very short and formulaic (which can be a good or bad sign I feel) and included such 'technical' gems as:

  • What are RNA and DNA?

  • What are primers and probes?

  • Describe what PCR is.


Just lucky I did year 12 biology!

It turns out too that the reason I was called in out of the blue is that I'd already applied for another similar position within the molecular pathology laboratory, but now a second person was leaving. As we were passing through the lab on the 'grand tour', I saw Lauren: turns out it's her position, her honours paper is going to be published in Science apparently, and she's starting her PhD soon, so good luck to Lauren!

Fingers crossed anyway.

It doesn't rain...
ilex
majoru
...it pours.

So, the job up in Mackay that I'm waiting on the paperwork for is a 0.6 fraction job, aka 3 days a week. It's also quite a way distant and I know no one there. It's a great job, but the situation isn't so great.
I just received a phone call today asking me to come in for an interview Monday (which I will, can't hurt) at Sullivan Nicolaides in Taringa, where I've applied for a few jobs before and had a couple of unsuccessful interviews. This position is a full time molecular pathology position at a scientist level, and so I think it's worth a shot. I need to wait and peruse the paperwork for the MSEO job anyway before actually accepting.

It's all a bit of a mess, and it's making me very stressed and panicky. Moving is shit at the best of times, but so far and so unprepared and with little time. We will see what happens.

I'm out at my parent's place today, having my car fixed (some 300$ worth of fluids and filters and things). Yesterday I went to my GP to follow up an abnormal ALT (Alanine aminotransferase, a liver enzyme) result from one of the studies I've been in, so I got several tests at once (including a PSA (prostate specific antigen) test... I'm at an age to start thinking about my prostate, apparently) and he recommends an abdominal ultrasound to check the state of my liver anyway.

Oh, and if I do end up having a going away party without actually leaving, please don't hate me! [laughs] Doing ordinary things is dull, anyway, and I'd hate to be dull.

Much love, especially to Tam, who I'm messing around unfortunately.

The Controversial Survey
ilex
majoru
 Nabbed from packbat , (always a source of interesting memes).

The Controversial Thingy...Collapse )

Good News
ilex
majoru
I got the job!

Mackay Job Update
ilex
majoru
I got another email this morning:

  • My criminal history check form is not yet in Mackay. Damn Post to pretty white hell. Luckily I had them postmark the envelope so that I'm not made out to be a liar when I said I posted it Friday.


    • Edit: Form received this afternoon and submitted for processing! [wheet]


  • I got a lovely reference from Wallis, who was my supervisor while tutoring at UQ. (Aww, she still loves me!)

  • Still chasing up a reference from Barb, but then she's always incredibly busy. (Barb was a lecturer, tutor and supervisor of education students at UQ while I was doing my degree, and she and I always got on well together. Haven't caught up with her since she moved to Griffith on the Gold Coast, sadly.)


So, that looks positive. I am made glad [nods].

Kate Miller-Heidke
rice boy
majoru
I got Kate Miller-Heidke's album, "Little Eve" today, and I am so in love already. It's so suitable for the current mood, climate and my headspace in general. Listen to it!

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