Welcome to Grad School, the place where motivation goes to die.
Seriously though, I procrastinate. I was never much of a procrastinater before I started my postgraduate studies. Now, crippling indecision and a general malaise caused by my lack of success cause me to while away the morning reading papers on subjects that aren’t really related to mine and drinking endless cups of tea. It’s not uncommon for it to be 12 before I start lab work, even if I’ve been in by 9am. I tell myself that this is fine because I have to read and write some time, but really I’m just putting off the inevitable.
Given that it’s that time of year when both my new undergrads and the new crop of postgrads appear like magic in the department, I thought I might scribble some thoughts about life at the start of Grad School. Call it egotistical, but given some of the rubbish I’ve been through in the last 3 years I feel like I might have a thing or two to share that newbie postgrads could find useful. Continue reading
Some of my friends spent their long August bank holiday weekend in the lab. (Luckily, nobody from my lab – I was in on Tuesday and the place was dead even then!) Some of them took the opportunity to have a bit of a holiday. Me? I went to BABS Harmony College.
No, really. Think “band camp” but for barbershop. Yes, it’s a real thing. Yes, I am aware this sounds like the least cool thing ever – and I’m a scientist. I wasn’t cool to begin with. As it happens, it was just about the most fun I’ve had in the whole of 2012. (Yes, more fun than an impromptu 2 weeks in Copenhagen for work. Yes, more fun than learning twisting somersaults. Trust me, I really enjoyed this).
Anyway, this is a biology blog right – so why am I talking about barbershop?
If you have happened to glance at the About page, you’ll know that when the baking biologist isn’t doing biology or baking, she also sings. What you might not know is that when she sings she gets major stage fright. Those who are not involved in any kind of performing arts might not have ever experienced stage fright. It’s not about being scared. It’s about the racing pulse, the sweating palms, the ringing in your ears as the panic rises…
But on a stage is not the only place the baking biologist gets stage fright: she gets it in the lab too.
When I walk into the lab there is sometimes a little voice that tells me You don’t belong here. It’s one part a Professor with a very dry sense of humour, who was single handedly responsible for me dropping molecular biology after first year (only to decide when I graduated that I wanted to do a genetics PhD….) It is one part a real badgerwaffle of a scientist that I had to work with after graduating, who went as far as telling me to do things wrongly just so he could enjoy watching me screw up. But though there are specific reasons that lab work unnerves me I don’t think I’m alone in finding a molecular biology lab a scary place to be, and I don’t think I’m the only one whose imposter syndrome stretches to the bench. Continue reading
Posted in Biology, Grad school, In the lab, Just me, Science, Singing
Tagged biology, Everyday lab, grad school, science, singing, stage fright
This has been A Good Weekend.
Yesterday morning I did the Cancer Research Race for Life 10k (in just outside 46 minutes, which is 2 minutes faster than my PB, and raised over £100 on the way).
Yesterday evening I did a wholly different kind of outreach: classical singing with school kids.
And this afternoon I learned to barani. (Video below – not me – for those who aren’t into gymnastics)
And tonight I get to record some stuff with my a cappella group. All in all, a very good weekend 🙂 (Except for the bit where I’m sat in my office at work waiting for my ampicillin to defrost so I can put some cells on to culture over night!)
Also, just checked my stats and apparently I have a reader in Iceland?! How random… hi there Icelander!