Tuesday, October 19, 2010

out with the old . . .

now what?
there's a blank space on the wall next to me where my board prep calendar used to taunt me daily with its assigned subjects to review and PREP questions to complete. i certainly did NOT kill myself studying for the exam, but it did take up a fair amount of mental energy daily -- energy that i am excited to repurpose for other things!

you know, things like:

loading up a virtual shopping cart with sale merchandise (and then promptly closing the window):

writing aspirational lists . . .

and baking fall treats . . .

oh wait, i guess i was already doing all of these things! to be honest, i really didn't sacrifice fun/relaxation while prepping for the exam. instead, what has been missing is focus on the rest of my work-life, including:

learning pediatric endocrinology. every time i took notes on yet another chapter of laughing your way (by the way, IF (and only if) i passed, i highly recommend this book), i was spending that time not reading about precocious puberty, vitamin D deficiency, new diabetes research, or the like. i am excited to start studying these topics which (thankfully) are way more interesting to me than yet another review of crazily-named syndromes or developmental milestones.


writing grants. i will be applying for at least two grants this year that are due in december. i am determined not to let this ruin my fall, but i am definitely having some trouble being productive. this assignment looms so large (and intimidating) to me that i am having difficulty breaking it into manageable tasks. however, it's not really all that long-range of a project anymore!

my goal today is to make a new calendar -- this one devoted to these new challenges as outlined above. i really want to break this into manageable pieces that do not consume me and that allow room for fun.

any tips for breaking up a large and intimidating project? scientists: any grant-writing advice!? as always, i'd love to read what you all have to offer . . . i'm always so impressed with your wisdom and insight.



workout: 5 mile victory run after the test! pace = ??? maybe 9ish?

celebration dinner: after a brief stop at city beverage to toast being done with my former residency-mates, josh and i headed to lantern to celebrate over a wonderful dinner.

i did not take photos (it was incredibly dark!) but as usual, the execution of their asian fusion menu was flawless -- from the pork-and-crab spring roll appetizer to my lettuce wraps entrée to the local grape, caramel, and hazelnut sundae we shared for dessert (as amazing as it sounds). josh and i noted that very little has changed at the west franklin street standby since we first tried it ~8 years ago -- but in this case, if it ain't broke . . .

peds board prep: is OVER! hopefully, forever.


  1. Congratulations on being done, Sarah! I'm sure you passed with flying colors. Glad you were able to celebrate!

  2. Awesome job and congrats! A grape caramel and hazlenut sundae? That sounds pretty yummy to me! Where did you get that pretty journal that you wrote your list in?

  3. Hey Sarah,

    Part of my job is grantwriting, so I completely relate to how you're feeling. It is always a daunting task, no matter how many times you do it. My best advice would be to think creatively. Without knowing the details of your grants, I can't really offer anything more specific, but remember that the people who make the decision read A LOT of these, so the more you can think outside of the box (while staying in the guidelines, its tricky... believe me) the better chance you have of securing the funding. A trick I also use is writing for an individual person. Create a composite of the person you imagine reading your grant and write to them. Good luck!

  4. SusanMc10:14 AM

    I can't help you with grant writing, but I am looking forward to reading comments, as this is a skill I want to learn too, just wanted to say congrats on getting the test behind you! Whew!

  5. No real help here with grant writing, although my bosses are in the process of writing a mega grant (one that will pay a large portion of our salaries) and they are beyond stressed out.

    The only grants I have to write are puny travel grants to go to conferences (which I'm actually supposed to be doing right now!).

    Congrats on being done with boards.

  6. Congratulations on being done!!!

  7. A belated congratulations on being done!! So sorry I have not checked in sooner - it was kind of a hectic few days, but so so so glad you are done with the studying :)

  8. Your hydrologist/anthro friend5:00 PM

    Congrats on clearing that hurdle!

    Not a grant writer but 75% of my job involves reading dry technical reports and proposed work plans for big environmental cleanups. Keep the writing clear, graphs and charts help if there is a way for you to use them.

    Best advice for breaking down big projects is try to do blocks of it everyday. Sometimes an hour is enough but I think my best critical reading and writing is done a few hours at a time unpredictably. As in, sometimes after a few brush throughs ideas/concepts will start "clicking" and I'll start plowing through it. Some of that "clicking" comes when I realize that there is a deadline and it is time to do it now.

    If I have the luxury of time, if I can't get into writing/reviewing within a half hour or so, I'll put it down and move on to something else. Sometimes its as easy as working in a different place, usually
    away from email in a closed conference room.

    Hope that helps. I LOVE all of your charts and lists.

  9. I have to write a grant application by January as well, so this is my plan:

    I’ll spend four hours a day on grant writing for the next 3 months. I’ll focus on literature review for a month or more. It’s important to know the research area so that I can identify literature/research gaps and form research questions. Then it’s easier to convince people about the importance and the relevance of the study. Then I’ll spend a couple of weeks identify and writing the methods, a couple of weeks finding the appropriate measurements and the appropriate statistical analysis and the last month I’ll work on the whole application. Polish it, make sure the main points are clear and think and try to address as many details of the study as possible. Even details on how to recruit sample, sample size, how I secure that the study won’t harm the participants etc. The most difficult part for me is that one person from the panel is a lay person, so I really have to stop using my complicated explanations and technical terms and also another person is a neurologist that I have to convince that psychology is important for his job and not a complete waste of time!

    Hope this is of some help, although I know you’re from a different discipline so things may be completely different for you.

    Best of luck

  10. Anonymous6:51 PM

    Oh my gosh, congrats on being finished with the test! I hope you got to have your relaxing lunch during those crazy eight hours.

    A board next to your desk with studying for each day... I'm sure I would have loved writing it out, but I can't imagine I would ever follow through with it. :-p Enjoy continuing your fun and relaxation! I am continuously impressed with your ability to fit it all in while you're so busy with studying and working.

  11. trang7:14 PM

    I am definitely eyeing that shadowsleeve cardigan as well. Lovin that yellow-mustard color for fall. It's been on sale forever and maybe next week the price will be reduced. Here's to hoping and congrats on finishing the test!

  12. atilla9:23 PM


  13. Rachel MacCoss10:53 AM


    And, for the record, between your baking, running, and handwriting...it is obvious why you and Emily are such great buds! =)

  14. Good luck with your big projects. I think breaking them up into parts and just starting always helps.

    Oh, and because I know you love virtual shopping, if you happen to find any mustard/yellow peep toe shoes and cardigans will you let me know ... it's wedding attire.

    Haven't commented in awhile. To be honest, I deleted my entire google reader and started over. Today I realized you were missing.


  15. as someone who has written just one grant... just start. once i started doing it, it wasn't as bad as i thought it would be. especially because you can start with the easier sections (for me, things like the practical applications of your research, or potential benefits/harm to participants) and do the hard part (aka, lit review) once you are more into it. then again, i'm in psych, so may be different for me.

    good luck!!! and congrats on being done with the test too!