Ah, some science. Finally.
I really needed something to rekindle my passion for science (I know, the story of my life and blog…). This trip truly did it, though I was a tad lonely through it all.
I’ve never been to New Orleans, so why not go during a large science conference a few weeks before Mardi Gras? (Note: Mardi Gras begins in January here. Did not know that.)
This was the longest I’ve been away from Lily, and it was much harder for me than I had anticipated. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed sleeping through the night and time by myself (introvert, remember?), but I missed her. I missed her smiles and hugs, and I missed her beautiful voice. I felt like I was missing a milestone or two.
But the whole trip was important for my science and career. I’ll never say never with regards to becoming a SAHM, but I know how much I love science, and how much I crave being able to use the gift of science that God gave me. So for the time being, I’m pursuing science.
The best part about the Biophysical Society is how focused they are on career development. I LOVE that. You can often get lost in these conferences in the scientific talks, and somehow be persuaded that only academic jobs are available. Not at this conference. I learned about how to brand myself, change my resume for non-academic jobs, and how marketable my skills actually are (NMR for the win!!!). I truly focused on career development during this conference, and I’m so glad I did because I’m feeling more motivated to pursue a non-academic career.
But the science … it wasn’t spectacular. But the conversations were. And that’s truly what science is all about. Let me be honest for a moment. I hate networking and talking to random strangers. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. I imagine introducing myself to someone, feeling awkward, and getting rejected – much like how I imagine speed dating. (There was a speed-networking event at the conference, which I proceeded to skip…). But I was determined to get out of my comfort zone. So I introduced myself to some speakers, had a conversation, engaged in the poster session…
And I met people…
I met the the guy who LOVES my paper from the NIH (!!!!).
I met our collaborator who wants to be involved.
I met the scientist that challenged everything I had done, and I defended it, gracefully.
I met my PI’s colleague from graduate school without needing an introduction.
I actually networked without it being “networking.” That was the best part. The science was meh. But the people were great.
I also got some “me” time in. A massage and facial. A walk along the riverfront. Dinners with fresh seafood and good cocktails. Yes, please, and thank you, New Orleans.