Friday July 15th

Summer midpoint evaluations cont’d

I got the results from my evaluations

  • I passed for my summer research. Super cool! I’ve been enjoying working on the project. I believe that there is some swag that was shipped, too. I can’t guarantee it will be there when I arrive but I hope so? I’m kind of a nomad this summer, so it’s really the safest place for now.
  • I also had another evaluation today, too, and that was great, too, so I’m happy. I’ve been really working hard on these projects as best as I can, and have been enjoying the mentorship and growth. I feel like I’m being set up to succeed and am really just enjoying everything.
  • I also spoke with my advisors this week, too, which was pretty cool, caught up with some mentors, visited a friend at the Google NY office, and did a podcast.
  • I also participated in a mentorship session, listened to some talks at a conference, and generally had a great week.
  • I learned a bit about how to navigate things in Academia, to advocate for myself and to weigh tradeoffs this week. And that was an experience.
  • I also learned that not everyone you expect can be or is your supporter. For some people in Academia, their relationship with you is solely transactional, and that is all you should hope to get. Not everyone informs support in terms of advocacy or sponsorship of a person, and not everyone does it for you. Advocacy meaning that if someone does you harm, they will step in and call it out. Sponsorship meaning that the person goes around singing your praises, foretelling your great contributions and potential in research. Some students don’t even have sponsors. They are seen as lab workhorses whose job is to deliver, and promotion is something they will have to seek out on their own once they complete their degree.
  • This can be a difficult thing to bear if you are the kind of person who needs to be told you are doing a good job; not having a sponsor. Because it means you’re basically spending most of your time working and not being given much (if at all) positive feedback about how you are progressing. However, if you mess up, you’ll definitely be told. So how do you deal with those differences in advising?
  • My faculty friend showed me the 9 PIs comic this week. I keep laughing reading it. The lore is that you’re not supposed to tell people which ones they are, and if you know which ones you are, don’t say it out loud to other people. But oh boy, can I already categorize some professors!
  • And I’m learning to accept that and to navigate that. I don’t think that those people are necessarily people one should stay away from, but rather, one should understand the bounds of what they can and cannot provide, and what the limits of the relationship with them should be. And those boundaries should be set and clear. I think that one of the most heartbreaking things for a student to discover is if they believe that someone (a mentor, peer, etc) is their advocate, because that is how they defined support, but that was not the case. Different people define the degree to which they can provide these things, and just because as a student you expect that this is how it will be provided doesn’t mean that it always will.
  • As one of my mentors discussed with me a while ago, you should be mindful of the energy you dispense as affected by where you get your validation. So maybe you get validation about things that you do from one group (say group 1) and not another (say group 2). Maybe the first will never be able to provide that for you, so don’t waste your energy on group 1 with respect to that; maybe group 1 can support you in some other way. Instead, find that support in the appropriate community for what you need.

People have been taking me out to dinners / food things

  • New York city is foodie town. I have not yet made it to Brooklyn, but I absolutely must at some point. That’s a goal. I mean, the food that I am seeking is not the healthiest, but it’s food from home, so yes, I will eat that.

Something a bit different: 22 reasons to do an internship in NYC.

  • Okay, this is really an excuse to talk about food. I’m going to do some run downs of some food.

  • The food is pretty diverse here, both in terms of what you can find, and in terms of price. You can find some pretty neat finds! My friend took me out to dinner, and right next door was a really nice dessert place, so we sat outside and chatted, and ate dessert. The guy behind the counter told me that these had a dash of alcohol in them, though. I made it home safely, so definitely just a dash.

  • I didn’t realize until I got here how many friends I have in NYC. They take me out to dinner sometimes! Very different from my $1 pizza days!

  • I got to try out a bunch of different foods!

  • With amazing presentations

  • Definitely things I would not order on my own.

  • I learned that this is a “floatea”; in this case, it’s taro tea with boba at the base, and taro ice cream on top, with a ginger snap stuck in. When I first got mine, it started melting immediately, I spilled a tiny bit, and a guy smiled and told me “you gotta be fast!”. Almost immediately, his female friend told him he needed a napkin to wipe his entire face because he had floatea all over his face, which is hilarious. NYC is a lot of fun during the summer.

  • Oh, this was a purple yam souffle. It’s so good! They also serve it with red bean ice cream!

  • They put gold foil or something on top of the boba. This place is usually pretty packed and they make the brown sugar in front of you. It’s a sight to behold!

  • This was a walk back from visiting my friend. I have been to one of the restaurants in Los Angeles with one of my dearest friends there, who is basically like family.

  • Crossing the street after visiting my mentor and friend.

  • Very colourful.

  • taro ice cream with mochi topping

  • panna cotta best shared with a friend! This is from a vegan restaurant, Coletta.

  • a pot of mussels; being taught to eat the European way with a long-time friend!

  • These are Petits Choux with red bean ice cream, green tea and vanilla ice cream! I regularly frequent this tea place!

  • A group of us went out for Chinese food in Chinatown. A mix of broccoli beef, garlic chicken, pork, mapo tofu, eggplant and mushroom, sweet and sour shrimp, etc. I took this before two more dishes arrived, too! We were so full afterwards!

  • But we still made it to Kung Fu Tea! In Chinatown. This is the Taro Slush with mango popping boba.

  • These are mochi donuts. One is a Matcha one, and the other is the Onyx donut, which has chocolate!

This summer

  • This summer has made me realize a few things. I can be authentic here; I feel free here. I can be myself here, and it’s been such a relief, a weight off of my shoulders. Also, I love research, and I’ve been quite fortunate that my time this summer has been full of research opportunities, collaborations, and just very fun. I’m hopeful and excited and feel very happy about a lot of things this summer. Oh, and sometimes really late at night, I have been watching “Suits”. I feel like it’s such a great series to watch in this city (I am not usually one to watch a lot of shows, but I figured this would be a good time to try watching it). Sometimes, when I am on the way to work, I imagine I will run into Louis, which makes me smile.
  • In short, this summer I’ve legitimately felt like I’ve worked hard and played hard. And made a bunch of friends, shared a bunch of memories, and just had a blast. I can’t say too much more, only that I’m excited for classes upcoming in Fall, but I’m also happy there is still a big chunk of summer left to continue to work hard and to enjoy.

And that’s it

Written on July 15, 2022