day of reckoning

October 22, 2004

i’m a little nervous because tomorrow i have my first meeting with the lab’s PI. kind of shocking that i haven’t really met with him since i started 7 weeks ago, but he’s been out of town quite a bit. furthermore, all necessary guidance and help really was provided by my gsmg and other members of the lab, so i’m not complaining. it’s just very different than my undergraduate research experience, when i worked side-by-side with my lab’s pi. i couldn’t have avoided him if i tried!and we didn’t call it ‘pi’ back then, it was thesis advisor. but anyway.

i went through my lab notebook and picked out a few key graphs to show. i even wrote out a little flow-sheet of ‘what i accomplished in the last 7 weeks’ in case i get nervous and forget what i did. even though the data i have so far doesn’t appear to amount to much, i went through a lot of time and energy to get it, so i want to make sure it doesn’t look like i only came into lab 3 times and printed out some nice excel charts.

not that i’ve really been busting my ass. come on. who am i kidding? i get here between 8:30 and uh, 10, and i leave at 2-3 most days, because i have to trek over to main campus for classes. i don’t come back afterwards. i have come in on a few weekend days, but only for short bursts (to rescue cells, feed cells, switch cells to low-glucose media – basically, the cells are like a needy pet that doesn’t love me back).

but even with this non-strenuous routine, i have managed to do some experiments, and i have a little bit to show for it. i actually feel like i struck a nice balance between getting things done and being here and not being in my gsmg’s face all the time. plus, i managed to go to all my classes, staying awake for most of them as well. i would say it’s been a good 7 weeks.

it’s amazing how some people practically live here in the lab and others seem to drop in occasionally (these people worry me a little). honestly, i hope to be able to complete my phD without too many 12 — or even 10 — hour workdays. from what i’ve seen here, i think that it’s possible, though it might mean an extra year in the lab, which is a sacrifice i’m willing to make. from my limited observations, organization (especially planning ahead) and focus seem to be the keys to getting done in less time.

i know i’ll be happier if i have time to do other things during my research years. i used to think that i would want a life where i worked all the time, but i don’t feel that way anymore. i can settle for not being a world-renowned anything.

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