Life after grad school…

… isn’t all that different. Yet. I’m sure it will change a lot once I actually start work in The Real World, but for now, I’m still going to be spending most of my days in the lab doing a lot of the same things. Only now, people occasionally call me “Dr.”, which is strange because it’s true.

With my parents and my advisor after receiving my diploma

With my parents and my advisor post-diploma

I consider myself very fortunate to have a fantastic job lined up, but not everyone is so lucky:

It's a tough time to graduate

It's a tough time to graduate

Still, everyone seemed happy:

w00t! Graduation!!

w00t! Graduation!!

I’m not much for presents, but I’m very excited about the two very useful graduation gifts I received – a snazzy Canon SD 1200 from Chris (I’ve been camera-less for a couple years; expect to see many more photos on this blog starting now) and a KitchenAid stand mixer from some pretty awesome friends (no more blisters from mixing dough by hand!):

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Then, as expected, I took the next week off. My family was in town, so we went on a hike in Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, which is nestled on the west side of the Santa Cruz mountains between Hwy 92, Hwy 1, and Skyline. We took the Whittemore Gulch trail up to the North Ridge trail because it sounded like it would offer diverse terrain along with great views in a reasonable hike (~ 4.5 mi roundtrip), and, indeed, it did not disappoint.

View towards the Pacific from the North Ridge trail

View towards the Pacific from the North Ridge trail

My mom especially wanted to see banana slugs. Well, it must have been just after spawning season, because we saw more banana slugs than we could count, from babies an inch long to adults almost as long as my forearm. We even saw one actively chomping away at some green leaves. There were also a couple snakes, mice, butterflies, and plenty of wildflowers to keep our senses engaged.

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On Tuesday, we drove up to Napa for an afternoon of wine tasting, visiting Folie a Deux/Napa Cellars, Saddleback Cellars, and Mumm Napa, where we bought two bottles of a unique sparkling Pinot Noir. Despite having lived here for 5 years, I’d never gone to Napa before this trip.

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Chris and I headed off to visit his parents in Ashland (just over the border in Oregon) the next day. We took the scenic route out of Napa but spent most of the drive on I-5. I’d driven north on I-5 once before (to Seattle) but for some reason didn’t remember Mt. Shasta. I must have been sleeping because Shasta isn’t a mountain you quickly forget!

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We spent two and a half days in Ashland, walking around town, chilling with some furry friends, hiking, and watching a lot of shows. Ashland is known for its lively theater scene, and we saw no fewer than three shows while we were there, each at a different venue: “Don Quixote”, “The Music Man”, and “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”. All were quite good, and each was funnier than the last. “Spelling Bee” was at the Cabaret; being a dinner theater in a converted church, it was a very intimate setting with the tiny stage right up against the first row of tables and a lot of engagement with the audience. “Don Quixote” was held in the Elizabethan theater, which recalls the theaters from Shakespeare’s time.

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On our last full day there, we hiked to the summit of Pilot Rock with Chris’s parents. Despite being in their 60’s, they outhiked and outclimbed me both to the top and back to the bottom, scrambling up and down over the rocks like mountain goats. I hope I have half that energy and courage when I’m their age!

View of the summit from the trailhead

View of Pilot Rock from the trailhead

The view over the valley from near the top

The view from near the top

At the base of the summit

The base of the summit

Not for the faint of heart

Not for the faint of heart

On top of the world

On top of the world

Stopping to smell the flowers

Stopping to smell the flowers...

Lots of flowers

... lots of flowers

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And there it is — the thrill of victory and the view from the top is why we risk life and limb (ok, maybe only I felt that way…) to get up there.

Now it’s back to the grind for another week, and then I’m off for another week for a tournament near Boston, visiting friends in Boston and on Bainbridge Island, WA, and then another tournament near Seattle. Expect copious photodocumentation now that I have a camera I can take with me everywhere!

6 Responses to Life after grad school…

  1. MTB says:

    Congrats, Dr. Boid! It has been too long since we’ve caught up…

    • shwu says:

      Indeed, indeed! There’s talk of going to Chicago Heavyweights this year… either way, we should catch up soon!

  2. Jose says:

    Sound like a lot fun. I’ll be graduating in October. I wish I get a KitchenAid gadget! lol

  3. Bernhard says:

    Hey, congratulations from one of your anonymous readers ;)

  4. Kev says:

    Hey Boidy! Congratulations on getting that camera and putting it to some good use! (oh, and congrats on the whole doctor thing too :)

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