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Archive for October, 2007

Hi ho, Hi Ho, it's off to School I Go!

October 31st, 2007 at 02:52 am

I'm still here-- I just haven't had anything to add to the Challenge nor have I had anything interesting to post! I did have an interview for a post doc Fellowship-- it went well and I'm hopeful although I won't know the outcome for a few more weeks.

The other morning I was marveling at how over stuffed my backpack seemed! For better or worse, most of the contents were related to my lunch! They included: A thermos full of coffee (why spend time and money running to a coffee shop?), a 32-oz Nalgene filled with water filtered through my home PUR filter (the campus water is off-colored but I can't stand to buy botttled water, especially at the campus vending machine prices), and my sack lunch (comprised of dinner leftovers and fresh fruit). When I plopped all these items on the bathroom scale they weighed 9 lbs! Good thing I have a sturdy backpack and a strong back!

Cash for the Challenge

October 19th, 2007 at 02:41 am

Old Total: $2530.86
+ $20.00 babysitting
------------------------
New Total: $2550.86

Challenge addition

October 17th, 2007 at 11:28 am

Old Total: $2490.86
+ $40.00 babysitting
------------------------
New Total: $2530.86

My first addition to the Challenge in about a month! Starting next week, I'll begin overnight babysitting again, although I have some of my own commitments that will prohibit me from babysitting as much s they'd like me too. Good thing I'm not counting on this money!

DC Do's and Don'ts

October 15th, 2007 at 02:21 am

Lots of traveling, not much time for posting.

I was recently in DC, so I'll list some frugal DC do's and dont's:

Do:
If you need to get into the District from Dulles airport, do check out the schedule for the Washington Metro 5A bus line. Getting to and from Dulles via public transportation used to be nearly impossible, but now for $3 each way you can ride the Express 5A bus to either Rosslyn or L'Enfant Plaza and take Metro to your final destination. If the 5A bus doesn't meet your needs, check out the Washington Flyer bus service and pay $9 for a one-way ($16 RT) ride to West Falls Church Metro.
Don't pay $50+ for a cab!

My second Don't isn't exclusive to DC, but don't go to Maggie Moo's if either your wallet or your waistline is a concern to you! I was in the mood for a little treat, so I strolled in 'ol Maggie's and ordered a small cup of ice cream. The price was $5.33 and the potion was much too large. A smaller portion for a smaller price would have made me much happier. Furthermore, the ice cream was decent, but nothing to moo home about.

Frugal Job Search Ideas

October 7th, 2007 at 02:39 pm

Over the course of the next few weeks I'm going to have several interviews for post-doc positions. In addition, I have 2 poster presentations (a way of presenting your research at scientific conferences) between now and early November. I decided it might be a good idea to have some business cards printed so I could have a handy, clean method of getting my contact information to people.

I had thought about getting cards printed at Kinkos. Mr. Bean had done this, and although the price was reasonable, the quality of the graphic looked poor (probably because Kinkos doesn't have access to a legal, good quality University logo).

Had I done my research earlier, I would have known I could get 50 business cards printed by the University Stationary Shop for $20, but the turn around time takes 12 days-- time which I do not have.

I decided to give printing my own cards a try. I know there are web sites for this, but I wanted the card to look clean and professional, just like the faculty and staff business cards. Advertising on the card would be a big no-no.

For ~$8.00, I purchased a package of 120 Avery Clean Edge Business Cards at my local Big-Box store. I know from previous experience it's best to spend the $1 extra for the clean edge cards-- otherwise your cards will have a tacky perforation along the edge. I grabbed a University logo (albeit probably illegally), from a University web page and then set up my card to look like the other faculty / staff cards. I printed on my home Cannon i560 ink jet. The result is beautiful! The cards look like they were professionally printed. If I didn't mind sharing my identity with the internet, I'd post a photo to show them off.

Mind you, I spent about an hour perfecting the card. The process wasn't totally easy, but I'm happy with the end product. Also, I only need 50 cards, so I can use the leftover blank cards for a future position, or even making place cards for our upcoming Thanksgiving meal (we're hosting this year!)

Another thing I've done to prepare for interviews to to create an online professional portfolio. The University offers free web space to students, so I redeemed mine and created a professional web site with a statement of my research interests, a link to PDF of my CV and graduate coursework, professional references, and a statement of teaching philosophy as well as a downloadable Power Point of a sample lecture. I put the URL for the site on my cards.

The online portfolio was time consuming to create, but hopefully it will help me market myself and have all my materials in one central location. I used Dreamweaver software to create the site (also free in University computer labs), so very little coding skills were needed.

These two items are complete, but I still have a lot to do to get ready!