Day 46: Ph.D. Candidate

Photo Jul 30, 7 05 31I am officially a candidate for a PhD in the joint CMU-UPitt computational biology program. What a whirlwind.

This also concludes my “daily photo” postings. In all honesty, I’ve enjoyed these little blurbs; I think it really has helped keep me sane, reserving some small part of my brain for observation outside of the immediate (and significant) stressors associated with preparing a thesis.

My body is calling it quits. Almost immediately after the good news was delivered (“Shannon, I regret to inform you that you passed your proposal exam and will now have to remain in the program and complete your PhD”) my body began shutting down. It took some effort to plow through–there’s still the matter of a paper we’re trying to push out for publication–and for the first couple hours, it worked.

The Lady took me out for a celebratory dinner and dropped me off around 8pm, at which point my body wrested control back from my mind, gave it the middle finger in the process, and prompted passed out within two minutes for nearly an hour.

It took a great deal of convincing to wake up and do some stretching (haven’t foam rolled in 24 hours, oops) and give my Comcast contact a call regarding setting up service at the new apartment (move-in tomorrow!). I’m holding steady, but sleep is a freight train waiting just outside the periphery, and it’s going to run me over the second I relax again.

This feels not unlike pulling an all-nighter. No all-nighters were involved (amazingly!), but here’s the kicker: I haven’t had a true vacation since August of 2012. Without fail, every single “vacation” that fall season came with a massive footnote of work I needed to do during that time, and this past spring was a cavalcade of cacophonous coursework, capstoning, and research (couldn’t think of another “c” word for that). Immediately following the busy spring semester was a jaunt to Knoxville to work with ORNL, and from the second I touched down in Pittsburgh on July 1 it’s been a sprint to this date.

I am, in a word, exhausted. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but it’s been at a price. My advisor, in his infinite awesome, beat me to the punch in saying “I don’t want to see you around here for at least a week” following my thesis proposal. So for the first time in nearly a year, I am taking some–if I may–well-deserved time off from anything and everything work related. I’m staying right here in Pittsburgh, enjoying my new apartment with The Lady, but I’m looking forward to taking in the sights and scenes around me, and delving into some of my neglected personal projects.

And to some quality time with my beautiful fianceé 🙂

With any luck, regular posting will resume soon, here and at my other neglected blogs! Thanks for tuning in!

About Shannon Quinn

Oh hai!
This entry was posted in Academics, Daily Photo, Graduate School, Real Life, Research, The Lady and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Day 46: Ph.D. Candidate

  1. Congrats, good sir (err, I mean Candidate Quinn!)

    No singing happy birthday? Sad panda, we will not be going there for your bachelor party!

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  6. Ashwin Tumne says:

    Wish students like you were around when I was doing my PhD @ Pitt. Spent a long while wrapping my brain around your proposed thesis topic. Just happened to come by your post after googling ‘graph partitioning mahout’. Good luck with the studies!

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