Monthly Archives: July 2012

Me, checking out UC Berkeley:

This is what it’s like.


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First Day

Well, I survived day 1! Today wasn’t exactly a challenge scientifically, since I haven’t started any experiments yet, but it had plenty of other exciting challenges. These included reading procedural documents, filling out forms, trekking back and forth around campus for various things, and managing to get attacked by my own lunch.

Also, I learned how NOT to make friends with the people who work at the transit station…

I’m a little tired this evening, but still excited. Today’s real challenge was dealing with the nerves, and gaining the confidence I need to be successful here. For a while now I’ve been really preoccupied with the fact that many of my fellow students are much more prepared for this program than I am. However, today I realized that it doesn’t help me at all to dwell on this. So today’s watchwords for success are these (borrowed from another grad student): The only way I’m leaving this place without my Ph.D. is if they kick me out. In that spirit, I’m going to strive every day to give them a reason to do no such thing!

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I made it safe and sound to California last night. Tomorrow is my first day at the school (and I’ve got some serious reading to do tonight!), but for now I am relaxing in the town of Walnut Creek. The drive was long, but lovely. I’m glad that I opted for the longer, but more scenic route. Next time I’ll try to include some exciting info on the work I will be doing, but for now I’m just going to include some photos from the journey. You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view of the same picture.

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Movin’ right along.

New Blog:

This is the first step on a brand new journey! One sure to be filled with excitement, new experiences and a good measure of anxiety. I’ve promised (to a fair number of folks) that I will keep in touch, letting people know how things are going in my life. This new blog is my best attempt at that. Tomorrow I journey to the strange and wondrous land that is California. This is also my attempt to organize my thoughts, share my conquests and woes, and seek help when I need it. I’ve called this blog “The Ring Stand” because in chemistry, a ring stand is a piece of equipment that provides safety and support for an experiment. The next 5 years of my life in Berkeley are going to be something of a major experiment in my life. It is my hope that this blog, and the community of friends that read it, will also serve to support me as I travel on paths yet untrodden and through perils unknown. Anyway, enough with the introductions, save to say that you should feel free to leave comments on any of my posts (especially if I’m being ridiculous and you want to point that out!)

The Road Ahead:

The most pressing business in my life right now is the journey of the next few days. Here’s the gameplan:

Day 0 (today): panic, start blog, say goodbye to friends and family

Day 1: Drive to Eugene, OR via I-5 (about a 5 hour drive)

Day 2: Take the scenic US 101 from Eugene to Walnut Creek, CA (about 11 hours)

When I arrive, I’ll be staying with the wonderful Clarke family while I wait to start my lease at an apartment in Berkeley. I want to publicly acknowledge how awesome their hospitality is, and how thankful I am to have a place to stay when I arrive.

The most important factor of my road trip though, is the awesome tunes I get to listen to on the way. Thanks to all my friends who recommended songs for my ultimate journey to California playlist! I’ve got about 3 hours of music planned, so if anyone has any last minute song suggestions, please send them to me via facebook!


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