Guess I took the “procrastinator” title a bit too seriously.
In the last post I was beginning to think about finishing my experiments and writing my thesis. Well… it’s been over seven months since then and all I can say is that I’m no longer thinking about it.
Mid-August was the time for my obligated leave and this of course meant: “start writing and don’t get distracted by the experiments of your peers” (which I must say I often do). It began with due dates my PI set so that I would send drafts of the Introduction and Materials and Methods. I barely finished in time. I realised that experiments weren’t the only distraction. Everything was a distraction. It seemed as if I just didn’t want to finish. But if I think about it, it was/is true. Once I graduate it will be time to make a decision about my future. But more on that on another day.
When I was in the middle of getting the figures ready for me to write the Results part of my thesis I reached a point where I simply couldn’t move forward. Alone at home in front of the keyboard I realised the issue was within me. I had been feeling less than average for a while and I took a dive into a pool of experiments and forgot all about it. Instead of a solution it was a way of keeping my mind occupied so I would avoid thinking there even was a problem. This time away from the bench eventually became the mirror I feared all along and it made me pay attention to issues that had been pushed aside for quite a while now. I’m not sure if I should get into this or not in here, but I’ll just say it was about time I paid a little attention to myself.
With all this going on in my head I didn’t finish in time for the next due dates. Although I feel close to my PI (being young and all) it never occurred to me to talk about personal issues with her. But I wanted to explain that there was a reason for the time it was taking me to finish. And it all went well, said I could take my time but should try to finish soon anyway.
That’s all I’m sharing today. Thanks for reading, I’m not so great narrating but I’m working on it.
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Today I’m just venting. I need a shrink and since both my folks are members of the aforementioned profession I decided it will take a while before I ask for some therapy.
9PM and just left the lab, not the first time by the way. But any scientist who reads this might think what else is new, “been there done that”. Ok not a big deal by itself. Today I got a bit frustrated cause a simple experiment I was trying to do didn’t turn out to be so simple for me. Times like those are the ones that make me reconsider my being here altogether. “How can I be a good scientist if I can’t get this thing right”. I’m great with the theory once I study enough about it. I can find new protocols and aproaches some researcher used in a recent or old paper. I enjoy brainstorming about possible explanations for new results. Maybe I’m not above PhD level, but for an undergrad I fight with a strong fist.
A couple of sunrises ago I started thinking that maybe I spend so much time at the lab (even after I’m done with experiments) because there’s something I don’t want to face at home. Even some weekends I stop by to check on my cells and end up staying for various hours.
I got friends, not many but enough. Some of them are back in my home town, others left to study couple of states away and some are here. I don’t consider myself as a social person even though I am. I’m kind, helpful, considered, thoughtful, etc. I’ve been president and vicepresident of the student body (of my major). I’m what everyone would consider a social person, politically correct and all. Therefore everyone thinks I’m happy about it. What comes down apparently is that it’s not enough for me for some reason. I’m short in romance, got the spirit lack the someone to pour it on.
I keep on searching for something to blame. Once in a while I realize I’m not entirely happy, try analyzing the source of the problem and in the process I just forget and move on for a while.
One thing that pushes me back a bit is that I don’t tolerate failure too well. And being in a field that exposes you to (paper) rejection, failed experiments from time to time and the bad temper of a percentage of your colleages pretty much says you must be thick skinned.
(That was something I wrote last tuesday, now I’m doing much better.)
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