Brain (possibly) saves the day

With a nod towards what a good start 2015 is currently giving yours truly, I attended an interview for a research position at one of the few research institutes in the state. Right at the end when the panel of interviewers asked if I had any questions, I was itching to ask a pretty controversial one:

What is the centre’s position on gender equality with regards to career development?

Notably, the panel was all-female except for the lead interviewer who is also currently the acting-CEO of the centre.

However, my brain reminded that I need a job so it won’t rot in redundancy so I thought…:

Thanks, Fat Amy

Thanks, Fat Amy

2015

Hello 2015!

There’s this huge gap between my last post and this and much have happened. I graduated (yay!) and I came to terms with what was a bout of depression. 2014 was such a bumpy year, starting out on a high and ending with much relief that I am still alive.

No, I wasn’t exaggerating. I was in one heck of a valley and crawling out of it took a lot of effort and help. If you are a friend reading this and feeling surprised, don’t worry. Apparently I masked it all pretty well. This is where I thank God for those few friends who recognise it for what it was, gave good advice and was just there. Your phone calls, Skype sessions and WhatsApp messages pulled me through. Extra points to the one who is an actual psychology major and was the only one who took a step back from religion and went, “Be sad, be angry, don’t hold back on raging at God. IT IS OKAY,”. It helped.

If there is anyone out there who is battling depression and anxiety, or know of anyone who is, Eve, a junior of mine back in school wrote an insightful blog post about her own experience. It covers, “…what it is and who is affected, ways to spot the problem, how it is treated and dealt with, and what will happen afterwards,”. If you are certain you are fine and have the honour of not having troubled friends, read it anyway~ Because prevention is better than cure etc. and knowing what it is makes you a better person (e.g. you won’t tell a depressed person that s/he is a disappointment and/or s/he is not doing enough).

I started 2015 on a very cautious note. It’s going to be an uncertain year. I don’t know which direction I’m heading – work in the industry or pursue academia (PhD?) – but I am working towards it being a progressive and productive one. Hopefully.

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return. — Maya Angelou

“Approved for Award”

*Insert squeal here*

*Insert squeal here*

This took a long time coming (approximately a year?). Not because I had to extend my research or writing, but because of an external reviewer who didn’t fulfill his responsibilities and couldn’t be bothered to inform anyone about it.

Nevertheless, today is a very happy day. I heave a sigh of relief and contentment. :)

Making friends with biostatistics

Biostatistics is not my strong suit. I struggled with it during my undergrad years and only with much persistence and patience from my biostats lecturer did I manage to get a pass. For my dissertation, I think my supervisor was aware that I had an aversion towards biostats so we kinda skirted around it. Thank goodness the research committee responsible for passing my viva deemed my results and discussion sufficient enough to let it slide without any quantitative analysis.

For my M.Sc. thesis however, one of my reviewers pointed out how I had more than enough data to do simple statistics. Alas, my university did not have SPSS which I was used to so I had to do most of my calculations manually via Excel. As I have mentioned in my first sentence, I am a biostats n00b so thank God for YouTube and awesome instructors sharing on there!

Besides Shannon and Smith & Wilson, I also used Margalef which was easy enough without having to look it up on the tube.

Much later on, I was pointed towards PAST, a freeware “with functions for data manipulation, plotting, univariate and multivariate statistics, ecological analysis, time series and spatial analysis, morphometrics and stratigraphy”. It is easier compared to SPSS and all it took to calculate the more commonly used biodiversity indices was just a click of the mouse. It is also able to do multivariate tests like ANOSIM and SIMPER which was initially suggested by the aforementioned reviewer but I had no way of doing. Now, I can! All that is needed is to read up the manual to find out how I should arrange my data so that this awesome software can calculate for me. :D

New pages

I have added new pages at the top to show work I have done. I do realise that what I have is very amateur in comparison with more established science communicators and fellow scientists but I do hope that as time goes by, there will be visible improvement in the quality.

In the event prospective collaborators are to stumble across this blog, HI! I have yet to publish a paper in a good journal but I am working on it. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the research work(s) I have done.