This past week has been a rollercoaster. The week began with my attendance at an absolutely wonderful career development workshop for postdocs at the NIH. The two-day workshop covered basically every issue that provokes anxiety in postdocs (and their significant others); from finding public and private federal funding opportunities , crafting your CV based on the job announcement, mastering the first- and second-round interviews, negotiating your salary, research/teaching time, start-up funds, and lab space, recruiting people to your laboratory, and preparing for your first R (NIH mechanism) application. After leaving the NIH and feeling more confident about overcoming these obstacles, I learned a few hours later that my F32 NRSA application, of which I had spent probably 250 hrs writing, 80 hrs editing, a few hundred more hours thinking about, and was told that it was a “solid application” by the dept chair and other faculty members did not get discussed! Ugh. For those of you not familiar with the timeline of review of NIH applications, all applications are first assigned to three, separate reviewers. Once these reviewers have submitted their scores, 50% of the highest scoring applications undergo a second-round of review in which the average score has the opportunity to be improved or in some cases reduced. “Not discussed” applications represent, moreover, the lower 50% of the applications. Sigh. I’m still scratching my head over wtf happened, but I have an idea that it may have found its way to the “too ambitious for a three year project pile.” We shall see in 4 wks once the reviews are released. Unfortunately, the untimeliness of the review release date will not permit me to submit for the next application cycle which ends April 8 so I have to wait nearly 9 months after my first submission to re-submit. Wonderful. I’m sure many of you who read my blog can empathize.

To cool off steam from this week and to force myself to have a relatively mild working weekend, Montegraphia and I spent this morning and afternoon at Six Flags over Georgia which is only two public transit stops from our apt (and 3 from downtown Atlanta). We rode a lot of rides that used to be at the Six Flags over Ohio which was, oddly enough, about 25 minutes from where I went to graduate school, but closed in the 2000s. Since we have season passes, we plan on spending lots of summer nights riding the Goliath which is a sit-down, free-falling roller coaster due to speeding at 70 mph over massive hills ranging from 200-180 ft. It certainly was metaphorical to my week.