The life of Jen

Updated 1/02/05

I am a thirty-two-year-old female living in San Francisco. Like everyone else in this city, I'm actually from somewhere else. I've been here for a little over six years now. The other places I've lived are (in reverse chronological order): Cambridge, MA; New York City; Chicago; Cambridge, England; Amherst, MA; and Summit, NJ. I grew up in Amherst, it's my home town.

I'm in a Ph.D. program in "Biomedical Sciences." I get paid to go to school, which confuses a lot of people. When I talk about going to "work," I really mean "school." Graduate programs in the sciences involve very little coursework and a lot of time working on one's thesis project in the lab, so that's what I do. Please don't ask me when I'm going to finish, or I will have to beat you to death with a shovel. I don't know. The average time to graduation in my program is about 6-7 years. I'm in my 6th year.

I took a bunch of time off between college and grad school (not really time off, because I was working full time and taking biology classes at Harvard at night). I was a Slavic Languages and Literature major in college, which is kind of misleading, because the only Slavic Language I actually studied was Russian, and even that I've mostly forgotten by now. After college, I started out working for a publishing company, and then managed to land a series of jobs in my current field, working as a lab assistant.

I started this website eight years ago and I've been keeping a journal online since May 1996. A lot of the stuff on this website hasn't been updated in a very long time, but I kind of like it that way. It's a view of what I and the internet both used to be, so I'm always reluctant to take things down or update them. Sort of weird, because I'm not a packrat in real life, but I guess I am online.

Online journals are very popular now, but a lot of people still find this practice strange. I think a lot of them don't realize that my online journal isn't really a personal journal where I write my innermost thoughts. It's something I write with the expectation that my family, friends and co-workers will read it, along with a bunch of strangers.

I have a bunch of other hobbies other than the internet. I run almost every day, I read a lot of books, and listen to a lot of music. I used to also play a lot of (classical) music back in the day, but now I just do that once in a while. I also enjoy frequenting dive bars, tattoo shops, shoe stores, and art museums. I have a boyfriend and a lot of good friends, several of whom have journals of their own.

I have two sisters and two parents, all of whom live in the town where I grew up. I don't get to see them too often, which is my least favorite thing about living on the West Coast. The other stuff I miss out here is mostly food. There are no good bagels or pizza here, it's really sad. But it's a trade-off, because the salads and the Chinese food here are better. Did I mention that I love to eat?

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