Into the tempest once more…

Into the tempest once more…

I have a chance to resubmit a dead grant. I have a few weeks to do so. I might have had longer but the truth is, I had given up on both the grant and academia in general. The fight felt humiliating and I couldn’t take any more humiliation. It’s hard to ask for special exceptions without feeling pathetic and broken.

But, y’know, fuck that.

You don’t get if you don’t ask. So I asked. And I got. It’s a chance, nothing more. And looking over the grant I’m revising…damn it’s a complete mess. I over-promised (the biggest sin) and in over-promising I cut data and background that’s absolutely needed for things to come together cohesively.

More than that, I tried at first to write the thing using voice to text software. This turned out to be a terrible idea for an inexperienced software user attempting a first time grant. The program didn’t understand my scientific jargon and I have yet to train myself to speak in the stilted structured science-ese that pervades the literature. I was terrified to admit how far behind this left me, so I hid the disaster until the last minute. By the time I solicited help, everyone helping me was pulling all-nighters along with me.

That should not have happened.

My right (dominant) hand is a mess. It has an impressive amount of titanium hardware bolted into the bones of my wrist from long-ago falls and deep purple-green bruising from recent ones. More to the point, I have spinal lesions that have left my hands numb and clumsy and weak and terrible. For some time I’ve assumed that this is the death knell of a scientific career. “Hands” are a metaphor for good benchwork, and my hands frankly suck. How can I ever leap the hurdle between postdoc and PI when I can barely type and only pipette for brief stretches?

The conclusion I have reached is this: I have no fucking idea.

I am still trying though. When I figure it out, I’ll let you all know.


2 thoughts on “Into the tempest once more…

  1. While you are working on the grant, do not worry about the post doc to PI stuff if you can. One thing at a time, you know?

    I too find the language of science unnatural and rely on my editors an embarrassing amount. And yet, I think I am extra successful at funding because an authentic, interesting voice comes through.

    And isn’t there always some point when the proposal is a hated mess? I am glad you have this chance. Do what you can and send it away! Best of luck!

    • Thank you! I appreciate the advice and you’re absolutely right about taking everything one step at a time. When I’ve come close to giving up, it’s almost always been because I try to think too many steps ahead. It’s weird to think this will never not stop being a fresh learning experience, but it’s also what makes it all so interesting and it’s true for everyone. I appreciate the feedback so much!

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