Zeno’s grant proposal

I’ve got one last class I have to complete in order to graduate, though at this point it appears I’ll be technically graduating in the spring of 2013 rather than this semester, just because I don’t think I’ll be able to defend until January. But this class will be done at least, and all will be ready to go.

For this class, we had to write a practice NSF proposal, 10-page limit with an additional 1-page summary. Mine ended up being about 3000 words. This is also the most difficult 3000 words I’ve written in my life. I ended up with a four page reference list containing 36 references, and spent nearly three solid weeks driving myself batty writing it and tweaking it and formatting it and everything else.

So it’s come as a major relief for me to hear that the other grad students all hate their proposals just as much as I hate mine, if not more. This thing was starting to feel like Zeno’s Proposal, where it was physically impossible to ever quite finish it. But hey, if everyone else loathes their proposals, then I’m probably okay, right? Right?

I’m just glad the damn thing is turned in and out of my reach. I can’t imagine having to write these constantly and facing the ugly fact that only 10-25% of them ever get funded. So it’s probably a good thing I’m not staying in academia. One day I’d be found dead at my desk, having cut my own throat with a handful of reference pages cunningly fashioned into a blade.

I celebrated finishing the proposal and turning it in by buying a new desk that I can sit or stand at. Maybe this is how adults do things. Ice cream would have been cheaper and potentially more satisfying.

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