How Long is Acceptable for Holiday Vacation?

Dear Dora: How Long is Acceptable for Holiday Vacation? Dear Dora,

I am a new PhD student and I relocated several states away from my home to attend graduate school. I am looking forward to going home for the holidays but I am unsure of how long is appropriate to be away from the office. I am not going home for Thanksgiving but I would like to take as much time as I can to enjoy my family during the Christmas season. What are the expectations/norms for graduate student time off around the holidays? Is there an ‘unspoken rule’ that even if we are home for the holidays that we should still be working?

Thank you,

First-year PhD student

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My Postdoc Story: World Traveler

My Postdoc StoryWhile nearly all of us face challenges during our postdoctoral years, we often feel alone in our struggles. In this series, we hope to share encouraging and uplifting stories of how other scientists were able to turn their situation around and move forward, despite a non-ideal situation. Like snowflakes, fingerprints, and nightmares, every postdoctoral experience is unique, so today we share the Postdoc Story of another successful scientist.

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Graduate School: How Long is Too Long?

Dear Dora,

How long is *too* long to be in grad school? There’s a 9th year in our department and it scares the life out of me. What do you think? 

-Alexa, second-year graduate student

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What is the Perfect Backup Plan?

Has your computer lately slowed down considerably? Or did you hear weird noises emerging from your hard drive? Are you surfing a lot on the web? Well, if you answer all those questions with a resounding ‘yes’, then hard drive failure will be the inevitable consequence in a couple of weeks. And I know there is this constant nagging feeling that something is missing. Something important. Something you always wanted to do. Yes! A backup. But how do you start and what is the best backup strategy? In this article I’ll talk about a couple of options that you have to backup your data and finally enjoy peace of mind.

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Small Brains, Big Ideas: Inspiring Latin American Scientists

As graduate students, it can be tempting to fall into the role of “seen and not heard”, believing that our larger contribution to science will have to wait until our name has a more commanding title to it. But two entrepreneurial scientists prove that with initiative, vision and determination, changing the face of science is possible at any time.

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Is A Parasitic Postdoc Trying to Steal Your Project?

Dear Dora,

It has been a few months since I started my first postdoc after finishing my PhD in a different field. Initially I used to discuss my experiments with a senior postdoc on the project (who works part time) to help with the interpretation of the results. However, now after a few months of catching up with the literature I seem to have a handle of the project and my experiments are working very well. I openly share my experiments and thoughts for future experiments. But during meetings and in private discussions with our PI this postdoc has labelled my work as “our work” and has been passing off my ideas as his own.

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When Your Favorite Custom Cosmetics Disappear…Never Fear

Dear FlyGirl,

My favorite lip color is discontinued! Why?!? This has happened a few times actually. I looked on Ebay, but couldn’t find it. Do you have any other suggestions on how to find or replicate the color?

Thank you,

Penny

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Ref Lockout Homemade Thai Takeout

Thai meatball ingredients

National Football League refs may have been hungry this year but they settled their beef last week, returning to the field and ending weeks of lock out frustration for fans, coaches and players. The stalemate culminated in the final moments of Sunday’s Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks game where a scab ref’s mistake meant misfortune for Packers’ safety M. D. Jennings. Jennings was not only robbed of a clear interception, but adding insult to injury, the Seahawks’ intended receiver, Golden Tate, was given credit for the catch on a missed penalty call resulting in a touchdown and Seattle winning it 14-12. (VIDEO: Worst NFL call ever?)

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Is the NIH Minimum Salary Binding for All?

Dear Dora,

Does the NIH minimum salary for postdocs only apply to people who are funded on NIH grants, or is it a general benchmark? I think I’m being paid below the NIH minimum, but I’m not on an NIH grant so I don’t know if there’s any course of action to take to increase my salary.

RO, Postdoctoral Fellow

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My Postdoc Story: Research and Application Scientist, Anonymous

While nearly all of us face challenges during our postdoctoral years, we often feel alone in our struggles. In this series, we hope to share encouraging and uplifting stories of how other scientists were able to turn their situation around and move forward, despite a non-ideal situation. Like snowflakes, fingerprints, and nightmares, every postdoctoral experience is unique, so today we share the Postdoc Story of another successful scientist.

[Continue Reading…]

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