Better chance at winning the lottery?

On Friday I finally submitted two of my fellowship applications, one for France and one for London. It felt like I was re-submitting my thesis again.  I really thought that I was not worried about anything but Friday just proved I am.  And then riding my bike home I realised that I probably have a better chance at winning the lottery… There is just not much you can do once the thing is submitted and I find hard to even read it once it has been sent off since I am worried I might find a big error somewhere. So I don’t and  just file it away under Fellowships.

I did get a little bit of good news,  yesterday I got an email from FRM (french medical foundation) that my application was not complete they needed the titles of my papers. However these IDIOTS do not only make the application just in FRENCH they also put a character limit on everything and although I do not have a crazy amount of papers I had to delete the first few ones to make everything fit, however the girl did mention to my boss that I have alot of publications compared to other applicants.

And about 1hr ago I got news from the other french fellowship, that because I am already working as a Postdoc they won’t register my application since they only want first timers to get the money.  So I am back to the lottery… I am supposed to hear about one London fellowship this week, only if I make it through the first round and then you have an interview and then they decide. Looking at their website and the info about other successful applicants I realise that I don’t really have much of a chance there. Especially since I am FEMALE and somehow as a girl you have a lesser chance of getting these funds, while they did a few studies and are supporting women in science, to get the grant you have to have published more papers and of higher impact factors than the guys that apply.. Sounds totally weird, but it might be that it is the way we write applications or the projects that women are interested in?? Who KNOWS

Easter this weekend, but I will be working not a big deal since it is going to rain anyway and I did not have any plans to go home. Will be going in 2 weeks for my highschool reunion, so curious to see what that is going to be like.

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Be careful what you wish for

Yesterday I was on the phone with my mum and I heard myself say: “I am so busy it is crazy, these past weeks I have worked everyday for at least 12 hrs” And I I realised that I finally got what I had been wishing for, in the first few months in France all I wanted was to do work, be in the lab, be writing, thinking everything.. Well it seems that it has finally arrived!! The past few weeks have been HECTIC and while I complain and complain and feel very sorry for myself,  I am loving it!! (AND there is no more driving involved, just a lot of running up and down stairs).   Besides running experiments, I am also still applying for fellowships and while one of my last papers from my PhD was accepted without ANY changes  the other one got reviewed by someone who obviously has no life and I literally have 7 (single spaced) pages of changes to make.. My new very busy schedule also stresses me out of course.. Not really the being busy part , but more that I don’t seem to have time to anything else and there is still so much more to do.  I am totally understanding the stress of GRANT writing..

I submitted one fellowship for London and one for France.  At the end of this month 2 more are due.  I have no idea how I will do this time around especially on the French one!! I LOVE the Frenchies, really but their application (open to any post-doc) was in FRENCH, their guidelines: FRENCH also, even part of the application has to be written in FRENCH… On the other hand since I had help from the frenchies in my lab I might have a better chance of filling in the form correctly and wiped out the competition, not by the greatness of my project, but the fact that I managed to complete the whole thing. Oh and then there is this other totally weird thing:  ALL the French based fellowships want you to send them copies of the application by mail.  I mean what is wrong with submitting it on the INTERWEB???? Enough complaining, though I need to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.  It would totally SUCK being out of work by SEPTEMBER, especially since I have yet to figure out whether or not I can get dole money from the French government..

I am off to PARIS for a few days (2 days actually, and it is the weekend and eventhough I have this weekend off I am still really BUSY), hoping to come back with LOADS of Pictures!!

Driving

The past week I spent at a new lab, the one slightly outside Tours and it was GREAT!!! The people, the work and the FOOD…

The first hurdle I had to overcome was to get into the car and drive there, not just any car.. my bosses’ car… So at lunch she handed me the papers and I asked her once again for directions. I could barely eat my food since I was so nervous having to drive.  I have had my license for about 10 years, but I have not driven much at all since I never owned a car and always lived in the city and would therefor always walk/ride/take public transport.  And I HATE driving, mainly because it makes me so nervous and that is b/c I never drive..  Trembling I got into the car and was just thanking my lucky stars that no one I knew was around when suddenly two PhD students from the lab jumped in front of the car!! Of course I stalled  the stupid thing and nearly crashed into another car while backing out of the parking place.. But I was finally on my way,  I drove extremely slow and probably pissed off a few Frenchies, but better safe than sorry. I made it to the lab in one piece and thank god for a super big parking space!!! Driving back was less stressful until I lost my way getting back to uni, I had only printed directions to go from uni to the new lab, not how to get back and there are many 1 way streets!!

The next day I got to drive Elsa’s car, it is a very cute but very old Fiat. Now that I knew the way I was a little less nervous + I was really excited to finally be doing some real work! On the high way the car failed to go into fifth gear,  so once again I drove way under the speed limit (I was committed to drive faster though). The way back was a bit more nightmarish.. After driving off the parking lot I had to stop at the intersection and suddenly the car just stopped and no matter what I did it refused to start, I was having a panic attack complete with flapping arms.. The guy behind me got into my car and got it started after 10 min of trying. I thanked him profusely and kept my fingers crossed that the car would hold up until Tours! It did and now it suddenly went  into 5th gear too.  This time I had to drive the car back to Elsa’s house, meaning I had to go through the city.   Yep, here is the second panic attack in 30 min. Driving on the highway is a lot easier than driving through busy streets with people and other cars  (I also hate driving when there are other cars on the road).  And not only did I have to drive to the city I also had no idea how to get to her place since I only ever ride my bike there or walk.  Handsfree on the phone I am screaming to her where I am and what I need to do next.. It is 5 PM there are cars, buses and people everywhere..  I keep hanging up as soon as I am driving and calling back when I am at the lights.  I finally start recognizing things and make my way to her street.. then I call again cause her street only has parking if you know how to parallel park  and that is definitely NOT me.   I get out of the car shaking and laughing nervously.. Elsa is peeing her pants cause I look like such an idiot!   I just run to the shop and buy beers, cause I really needed that beer!!

I ended up driving once more, this time no drama’s just the usual stress.. and that day I finally found out the bus times and bus stop and got on the bus. While it means that I have to be at the bus stop at 7.40 ( in stead of leaving at 8.30) I really do prefer it!! So from now on I will just hop on the bus.