Today was a big day!

I got word that the NIH gave a large chunk of money on my behalf to the folks who own my student loans. I got on the web site and confirmed it. I am now several thousand dollars less in debt! What a happy day!

Now to put this in perspective, I’ve only reduced my total debt by about 4.5% but this will add up to more over time as they keep contributing money each quarter. In two years it’ll be more like 33%, and if can convince the NIH to keep doing this for another 2 years after that, it should end up paying off about two thirds of my student loan debt.

In fact, the research business ain’t so bad at the moment, though it is very stressful. I have a big talk to give in about 2 weeks. Unfortunately I’ve discovered another major flaw in my data set, so all my analyses are suspect. This is really too bad because I thought I had some really nice results. But I have a professor who warns us to ‘never get too attached to your data’; I guess I should take heed.

The thing that’s stressing me out is that the talk is for the American College of Rheumatology meeting in Washington, D.C. This is the big yearly meeting of American rheumatology and many if not most rheumatologists go to it, especially those doing any kind of research. It would be really nice to have everything fixed by then! What if I don’t? Do I just go ahead and present what I’ve got? The results are already going to be different from the abstract I submitted. Do I withdraw? Aggghhh!
I also should be hearing about whether my paper (a different topic) was accepted in the very near future. The publisher’s web site says it’s back from peer review, so I’m just waiting for the editors to decide whether they want to use it or not.

Soon I must get to work on the research I should have started 6 months ago. I have a proposal to get through the IRB (Institutional Review Board) and the earlier I get it in, the sooner I can start crunching data.

So, lots going on here, but the direction is generally a positive one. I just have to keep it that way. A grant coming my way in the next few months would do the trick nicely. Then I could be sure of a salary next year.

God I need a vacation!