Sunday, March 31, 2013

Road to PhD: Looking and researching schools

It's been exactly one month, two weeks, and three days since I arrived here in the Philippines from South Korea. And the whole time, I was just staying here in the house. It's already a long vacation. Time is precious and I need a job now. I need to do something while planning for something big for my future. I am in dire need of a job but it seems like what I'm looking for is not interested in me. I already applied in six job openings in IRRI, the place where I used to work. I was interviewed in the first one but only up to that stage; didn't hear anything for the next three; found out that someone was already picked for the fifth; and still waiting up to now for the sixth. I even went there to personally talk to some scientists, the first said he could only offer me a temporary position and suggested to look for other regular positions first, the second one was like, "Nah, just give me your contact info and we'll just inform you if there's an opening." It was depressing and I feel like IRRI doesn't want to have me back anymore. And then suddenly, I realized I'm that type of person who goes/stays from one place to another and doesn't usually go back. That's kind of my "silent rule". If I work back in IRRI, it's like I'm breaking it. But I have no choice. All I need right now is to have a job, earn some money, and save for my future endeavor.

This afternoon, instead of finding jobs in the internet, I spent my time researching different graduate schools in the US - that, ladies and gentlemen, is my future endeavor. Of course, attending a university in the United States of America entails a lot of preparation. First and foremost, I need to secure good scores for GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Then the other requirements, such as transcript of records, diploma, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, personal statement, application form, etc. I am eyeing a place with---of course, safety is the number one priority; then climate, with mild winters and cool summers; an environment conducive for studying with a less stressful student life; and good funding for research. I would like to study stem cells and California is highly supporting stem cell research. Two universities in mind - Stanford and UC Berkeley. Stanford, no doubt, has good Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine PhD program with astounding faculty. UC Berkeley on the other hand, well I am actually targeting Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) program. I was reading and getting all information in their MCB program and I felt like it's more homey because I majored in cell and molecular biology during my undergraduate years. UC Berkeley's MCB tackles different aspects under cell and molecular biology but, at the same time, it also gives an opportunity to study stem cells (though not as specialized as Stanford's Stem Cell Program). Anyway, just browsing and reading the site, it's really making me happy and giving me hope. Here's a video of what graduate education's like at UC Berkeley.

Well, it's still a long way to go. A lot of preparation should be made. And I'm still looking at other programs and universities, you know, just to be sure, just to compare. I even tried looking at Harvard! Gosh! But as of now, I can say there's a lukso ng dugo (sense of connection) with UC Berkeley. Let's see what will happen.

Ooops, but before all that, I really need to get a job. Sixth job opening, please be kind to me... And I better start reviewing for GRE and TOEFL.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm Back!

Due to some sort of miracle, I can once again post pictures here! YEY!

Back in December, I was having problems with insufficient storage and decided to just make a new blog. But now that everything's good again -and thanks to Blogger's Import and Export features- I am back ready to kick in and do some action, err, posting!

Hello world! =)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mamma Mia

Glee's rendition of Mamma Mia is 
(And oh, Rachel Berry's voice and delivery is definitely impeccable!)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reflections of A Job Hunter

I just got back from my job hunting in LB a few days ago. I first did a little bit of catching up with my former boss. It was nice talking to her and, I must say, she's one of the most down to earth scientists I've ever known. And then I had an interview with one scientist. Thank God I was able to answer his questions correctly even though I was nervous deep inside. He could only give me a temporary position due to funding restrictions so he suggested to check other groups first. I emailed another scientist (and I am really hoping to work under her supervision). I also talked to another one but his field is quite far from mine, so there's really not much to expect.

Geez! If there's one thing I learned from this experience, it's that it's definitely not easy to look for a job, especially here in the Philippines. A post graduate diploma doesn't guarantee one to get the job he deserves in as easy as ABC. But there's still hope. I may not get the job that I want now, but I know someday, the time will come where I'll be in a place and position which I rightfully deserve.

Having a sense of accomplishment is an important aspect of life. I think whatever circumstance you're into, it's important to have a sense of accomplishment even in small things. And of course, it all starts in taking some baby steps. Little by little, you'll eventually get to where you dream of going. All it takes is initiative, courage, and determination. (And with that, my baby steps would be starting to have a list of goals again.)

  1. Finish revising the paper and send it to Professor tonight or until Tuesday afternoon.
  2. Have a notebook to list my weekly goals and accomplishments.
  3. Start looking for some scholarships and list the requirements.
  4. Check the GRE, MCAT, and TOEFL sites.
  5. Email the HR.

image sources: 1 2

Friday, March 1, 2013

Graduation Day

I was browsing through all my files and realized that I haven't posted much from Dec 2012 up to the present. During that time, I was very busy finishing my experiments and thesis manuscript but, now, I have a lot of time to be active again in the blogosphere. So yeah, to start off, I want to share the product of all the hard work, cramming, cups of lattes, and sleepless nights in the laboratory.

Last December 18, my university had its Graduation Ceremony for International Students. All the foreign students from the undergraduate and graduate schools came together to celebrate the fruit of their labor.

It's been a wonderful and challenging two-year journey for me. I am very thankful to Kyungpook National University for providing scholarships to students in different parts of the world; to all the professors that I had who shared their knowledge and who patiently taught in English even if it's difficult for them; to my professor/supervisor for accepting me in his laboratory, for helping me and guiding me in the experiments, for understanding me whenever I commit mistakes, and for letting me stand in my feet again after a fall; to my senior who also helped me in the experiments; to our lab's undergraduates with whom I get to talk to during lab dinners and breaks, particulary to that one undergraduate with whom I had several chit chats; to my fellow Filipino KNU scholars, who shared all the ups and downs of studying and living in a foreign land. One big shout out, "WE FINALLY DID IT!" and of course, to my family (Mama, Papa, Lola, and brother) for all the love, support, and for simply being there for me wherever life takes me.

New haircut, Aztec Healing Clay, and Empties

Hi everyone! Just a little update. I've never gotten a haircut since I left the Philippines last July. It's been 7 months alrea...