So I just got word that my research fellowship has been renewed for the next year. Unfortunately no raise this time (so given that the rate of inflation is at a high…this is really something of a pay cut)…ugh. Even so, I’m still doing better than most grad students which is nice and I don’t have to TA which is also nice. To make the day that much better, my advisor again hinted that next year will be my last as a graduate student, hopefully its not just wishful thinking on her part. I suppose I will maintain cautious optimism in light of all of the recent events. I’m pretty ready to be done with all of this and move on to something else…I think I need a change. Its almost hard to comprehend that I’ve been here, in this situation, for going on four years and will have just one more in front of me. Not half bad when it comes down to it I suppose. Of course the question then becomes what do I do afterwards…I’ve just recently set about answering that and its harder than I thought. As tied down as I feel here I feel an extraordinary sense of optimism at the possibilities for my future research (which I guess makes me lucky given the state of everything else in this country). My disillusionment with academia has not subsided to any appreciable degree but I am still willing to give it one last shot before throwing in the towel on my youthful optimism and selling my intellectual soul to the highest bidder. Also, I just finished a major project in grant writing that was taking up a good deal of my time which means that actual science can resume at a normal pace, which is good and a welcome respite from days of writing and scientific design work. More on this all later. Patrick OUT!!!