Immediately after finishing submission of paperwork to obtain my doctoral degree I moved from San Antonio, Texas to Huntington, West Virginia where I am a new postdoctoral fellow at Marshall University. The move took a lot of money, driving time, and unpacking (that I’m still working on), but overall, was not too bad. I am happy with my new apartment and the weather here is more similar to weather I grew up with in Illinois, so I am already starting to feel at home.
My first week of my post-doctoral fellowship was very busy, but also very good. I am fortunate that I have a nice, reasonable boss who is already looking out for my future. He is allowing me to take a course on microscopy, something I have wanted to do but had not had the opportunity previously. I am also getting training in lab from the guys working there. They are all nice and helpful.
I feel like I am learning so much already, even though I’ve just begun. So far, I feel like I got very lucky with this new job. It is also very nice to no longer have the pressure of needing to graduate. Working non-stop to graduate last semester was very stressful and exhausting and not always enjoyable. Now, I feel like I can enjoy science again on a regular basis.
Beginning a new job involves paperwork and setting up to get started. I actually came in to the human resources office the week before I began my new job to do a lot of paperwork and learn about benefits (something I have not had from a job before). I also had been filling out paperwork through email with my new boss even before I defended my dissertation in November.
Some of the things I needed for work at Marshall University included: getting a University ID number so I could be put into the system, then getting a University ID card, getting access to the floor and lab room, and then getting a parking permit. Now, I am in the middle of my second week as a post-doctoral fellow and am waiting for a computer for my cubicle and a university email.
I am also currently without health insurance since my student health insurance expired in December and my health insurance at my new job won’t be active until next month, which is less than ideal. So, I’ve already learned that getting started at a new job takes some patience because it is a process involving paperwork and help in getting habituated from many people.
Lucky for me, the lab and professors and administrators that I have met have all been very helpful. I have also spent a good amount of time on the University website searching for information about resources on campus to help myself get familiar with my new workplace.
Alicia Avelar graduated with a degree in Neuroscience in 2017. She finished her dissertation research in the lab of Dr. Michael Beckstead on drug addiction. To read more about her work, click here.