Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Just a quick post to apologise for the unplanned hiatus.

I am still alive. Semester 1 didn't finish me off.

I will post something substantial in the somewhat near-ish future.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Let Me Write That Down...

Semester One has started and once again the university has seen it fit to change the structure of the teaching timetable. I am certain that this is twice in two years. The last change was a removal of a teaching week. That was stress inducing as the corresponding amount of content wasn't removed. Now, the study breaks are counted as part of the teaching weeks rather than skipped. It does sound like there's a longer semester but there isn't. It's akin to buying your favourite chocolate bar in new packaging to find that the nett weight has reduced slightly but you're still paying the same price. Although in this case, fees have increased.

But here's my semester, (hang onto something, it sounds hectic but it isn't really)...
  • I'm enrolled in one unit that is being delivered as a series of seminars so every three weeks or so I turn up for two days of intensive lectures, labs and tests.
  • I'm President of the Postgrad Student Association with fortnightly meetings.
  • I'm the Postgrad Rep on the Student Guild with fortnightly meetings.
  • I'm in a working party defining and tweaking policies for the Academic Council.
  • I am a lab demonstrator for two first year Chemistry units.
  • I am a tutor for one of these Chemistry units, although I may have two tutorial groups. 
  • I am a lab demonstrator for a group of Masters students at another university once a fortnight.
  • I am also volunteering at a local high school in a class one hour a week.
I've taken to writing things down in order to remember them and turning up.

Things Pertaining to My Previous Post
  • I'm feeling much more positive now. I have decided to give myself a break from benchwork and have taken up a variety of roles before I attempt working in a lab.
  • I am submitting something in writing detailing my supervisor's treatment of me. I want something on record.
  • And to everyone that e-mailed me, thank you so much. Your support has been invaluable. There aren't enough words to thank you enough.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How Are You?

This is how I'm feeling. I say I'm fine but I'm not. "I'm fine" is my automatic response when things have developed into a personal hell.

I'm fragile and I'm broken.

If you took one look at me, you wouldn't recognise me. I barely do when I look in the mirror. I know that 99.9999995% of the population have it tougher than me but yet I'm barely holding things together.

If you want to know what stress looks like, take a look at me now. This very moment. Though don't talk to me. I'm liable to burst into tears and I wouldn't know if I'd be able to stop crying.

I am supposed to be feeling upbeat with Chinese New Year celebrations tonight and I'm hoping I will be. After all I am spending it with family and it's been a while since the "clan" has been together in such great numbers. This isn't the way how I pictured the start to the new year. I have four hours to snap out of this.

I am a Chemist who doesn't want to be in a lab anymore. This is killing me inside. I'm hoping that a change of scenery will solve this. Otherwise, really, what the hell am I meant to do? I worked so hard to get my undergrad degree and harder still with my current course. I don't know how not to be a scientist. I've always been a scientist. And until recently, I always wanted to be a scientist in a lab with shiny instruments with mega-cool set-ups running the funky experiments.

I know I shouldn't define myself with my job. But it's who I am primarily. Strip away the rabid chocoholic and sun-drinking/loving girl and I am a scientist. That's the inner core. That's why my bedroom has always been scattered with science journals. Gossip and celebrity magazines never made it through the door. And also why the things on display in my room or the little toys I have are relevant to some particular branch of science.

I am a scientist but the idea of science is beginning to make me feel ill.

I am thoroughly shattered.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Well it's been a while since the last update. I don't quite know where to begin. A lot has happened. Not for the better, well some of it anyway.

I've given up on being an academic...again. Though this time it's a hell of a mess. For someone who is supposed to be intelligent, it's amazing how many stupid situations I find myself in.

Let's start with the work. Currently I am on stress leave for a week, complete with medical certificate. I even lost my voice due to the stress of it all. I only got it back today. Why all the stress? My supervisor within the first 17 days of the year 2008 has threatened to cut my hours twice. And on the 17th day told me to go find another job when I asked him as to when he was going to make his decision about my hours.

The thing is, he can't do this. I checked with HR and under my contract he can't actually do any of this. He can't change my hours without my agreement. And he can't force me into it either. In addition to this if he wants to terminate my contract, he needs to do so in writing. And besides this he's been acting unprofessionally up to this point. There's been a series of delays due to a combination of his mismanagement and events beyond my control. Though it's all my fault apparently.

However, I have initiated the grievance process at work. Next step is mediation. HR have insisted on it and it's the only reason why I'm doing it. I have no faith in it and I am in the process of writing my resignation letter which will quite openly detail the reasons as to why I am quitting. It may mean that I won't ever get employed again by the university but I simply do not care. My supervisor cannot continue on with his bullying behaviour. He seems to think that I should be thankful for my job there. I'm not anymore. I mean, crying about once a week has gotten old now.

So that's work.

Study, well I'm not sure where it stands at the moment. I have to re-sit an exam due to my supervisor being unwilling to give me time off to study. (Yeah, I've been having a crap of a time at work since November!) Well after several mix-ups and what not, it seems that my exam has been delayed until further notice. It's annoying to say the least given that Semester One is mere weeks away. So I'll be preparing for an exam AND taking a unit as well and working in a new job somewhere.


So that's study in a nutshell.


Well I've met someone. Ok, maybe I met him a few months ago and went into denial for a bit there. Not sure how he put up with that or coped with comments of, "Never ever will that happen" and "We're just friends."

Anyway...ok...small admission to make. Just sometimes I do get a little mopey because I don't get to see him much. He's a smart boy madly writing away finishing his PhD thesis. I know it's too much for me to expect him to fit me in somewhere in his normal schedule. In one circle of friends there's an inside joke that he's a mythical boyfriend since they hear tales of a wonderful person but no one has ever seen him. But then I think of my schedule and it's crazy in itself. Gym on certain nights, meeting up with friends on others, study on another and what not. But some stuff I've gotten into just to keep my mind off things so I can just stay sane.

So that's the love life if that's what it's called.

And with that, it's the end of this update.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

It seems to be the thing to do at the moment, making resolutions and new starts with a brand spanking new year that hasn't been coloured in with mistakes and embarrassments. We even get an extra day this year. Yay!

Let's see, in no particular order of importance...
  • Finish off studying at uni and qualify for graduation.
  • Apply and score a job in industry and feel confident about heading back into the real world once more.
  • Lose the kilos that I gained while recovering from a lower back mishap.
  • Travel overseas before starting new job, where is the question and it depends on the budget and how much time but I am doing this one!!
  • Sky dive, tempted to do this on my birthday but I'm at work so perhaps the day after or maybe the week considering that I'll probably be wanting to recover on the ground after celebrating.
  • Get a SCUBA diving certificate, (advanced open water), and have an expensive sport as a hobby. Yay!
  • Dive on Ningaloo Reef and hopefully swim with whale sharks.
So we'll see how well I go on this. ^_^

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Life in Perspective

Yesterday, I volunteered at a charity Christmas lunch. It is some thing that I do regularly. I remember signing up for it when I found myself at a loose end one year. I didn't know what to expect at first but I found it very rewarding despite having some initial doubts.

This year I was given a role where I felt that I was of practical use. I was a Steward and my task was to hand out meals and drinks to people. While it was hot and at times stuffy in the tent, I loved meeting people and seeing the results first hand.

Then I had a Christmas Magic moment that caught me by surprise. A couple arrived late to the lunch and were desperate to meet up with some long lost friends. They had arranged to meet at the lunch. And while I did want them to find their friends, it was an impossible task as a large amount of people had arrived and I wasn't sure where or how to start. I offered to show them to a table and while doing so, one of their friends approached. It was serendipitous to say the least. I felt warm inside witnessing their reunion.

Then we fast forward to today. I spent some of my time at a hospital where a family friend is dying. I felt utterly useless and I didn't really know what to say or do. It became especially difficult when she addressed me as her daughter when her daughter had left the room to speak with the nurse manager. I'm ashamed to admit that I left at the first opportunity and did some shopping. That was an improvement on my first instinct to head to the nearest pub for a quiet drink.

I did make a promise to myself today though. No matter what happens academically, I need to live a life filled with people who I care about and love. Because at the end of it, nothing else really matters.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Reasons to Date a Chemist

  • We might name a molecule after you.
  • Chemists know how to handle HOT items!
  • Chemists have all the right elements.
  • Guaranteed to experience great chemistry.
  • Chemists have all the solutions.
  • Chemists are used to exchanging fluids.
  • We are constantly learning and improving our techniques.
  • We have no problems resorting to gadgets and gizmos to get the job done.
  • We are used to pulling all nighters.
  • Who else better to experiment with, than a chemist?
  • We do it periodically on the table.
  • It's a mystery what we wear under our lab coats.
  • We like to experiment.
  • We always wear protection.
  • We have chemistry.
  • Chemists can handle chain reactions, with multiple stages.
  • Chemists know the difference between "organic" and "orgasmic".