Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Well-rounded Success!

And scientific fail?

So, today so far has been the day for well-roundedness. This is manifest in two ways:

1) I did an aerial for the first time ever! Admittedly, I had a bit of a boost from a mat, but I am still thrilled about it. I have never done aerials before (not even in my previous life as a competitive acrobat), and I did something like seven of them. Hooray!

2) NSF results came back; (I got honorable mention, hence "and scientific fail?"; I know it's not actually scientific fail, because Honorable Mention is still good and all that, but... still.) I was reading through my rating sheets, and the very first one included the following (italics mine): "Perhaps most importantly, her application demonstrates that she has extraordinary written communication skills. Her personal statement and statement about her research experience are very professionally written and novel - perhaps she should write a novel in her spare time!"

I find this especially funny for three reasons: first, my other rating sheets are dry and straightforward where this one is chatty. Second, I don't understand the jump from "you can write a good personal statement" to "you should write a novel" -- there are a lot of people who are incredibly good at short-form and essays (i.e. personal statements) and can't or don't want to write novels. The hint at the novel hits really close to home; almost as though this person actually knew that I actually wrote novels in my spare time, and wanted to share the inside joke. (Google search unlikely -- I checked and my name turns up nothing on me for the first five pages.) Third, this isn't the first time I have sent out an application consisting of a personal statement and a research proposal only to get back a comment along the lines of "you should make sure to keep writing non-science."

Validation of hobby choices, anyone? I sort of want to print it out and tack it on the wall by my desk. Man.


ayn said...

Re: personal statement --> novel?!, I think they were mostly enjoying a pun on the word novel.

But that said, hooray for well-rounded education! And I always thought/think you are good at communicating your ideas about science (and other topics, of course), so I'm glad you get recognition for it. =)

Ryan said...

a well-rounded hurrah!

Cthonathon said...

Science fiction is littered with people who rose to the top of both fields simultaneously, from Asimov (whose non-fiction introductory textbooks are exceptional) to Sagan (Contact remains my favorite S/F novel). Ever thought of joining their ranks?

Elizabeth said...

@Ayn: I'm certain that the pun was what they were going for. But I'm sad that you burst my bubble anyway.

@Cthonathon: You flatter, sir. That requires me being able to write something other than a mediocre novel, or do something other than passable science. Which, as of yet, has not happened. I'm still working at both, of course.