Monday, May 02, 2005

This site powered by delusions of eventual success

Well, I am on my 4th round of optimizing PCR (finally got a smear and considered that a big improvement over getting NOTHING). Cross your collective e-fingers, everybody!

Meanwhile, and I was pretty relieved about this, my experiment on the weekend kinda worked. I still couldn't bring myself to come in on Sunday, though. I sat around and looked at my data, trying to figure out if it's really what I think it is... I'm probably blinded by optimism again, but I think it supports my hypothesis, my crazy hypothesis, that I came up with about 2 years ago and wasn't crazy enough to actually try testing until now. I figured, what the hell, at this point my whole project is questionable, what have I really got to lose?

So... being potentially right is always good. But it means I have a helluva lotta work to do. And I suspect my advisor will be pissed if I tell her about it. That may have to wait until later.

And, I have to give lab meeting in 3 weeks. No stress there!

I also have to give journal club at the end of this week. Bad enough sitting through journal club. Presenting a paper I didn't pick, I'm not sure I fully understand, on a topic I don't particularly like, will be a special kind of joy.

Lab meeting today was really painful, and I sat there squirming (we all did) at all the blatantly missing controls, wondering if my own work looks that bad to people who aren't working on it?

Anyway I am trying to remind myself that the truly successful are usually people who always envision only the best for themselves.

I also registered for a local meeting for women in science. I have to go to a bachelorette party that same night, so, it will be a very long, very girly day. Not particularly looking forward to that. Could really use some small doses of girliness on a regular basis, rather than all in one lump.

Mostly trying to keep busy in a hands-on sort of way, I am just not in the frame of mind to try working on writing my grant. Somehow that's a whole other level of delusion I just can't get to right now.


At 10:30 PM, Blogger Megan said...

I'm crossing my fingers for you!

I was thinking about you the other day, actually. Sometimes I just go so sick and tired of working with nearly all women and the cattiness and rivalry that is busting at the seams of the building. It's strange, since that's pretty much the opposite of your field. I don't know, I guess I was just wishing more of the women I work with could be more level headed like you (or at least, how I picture you to be).

At 9:20 AM, Blogger Junniper said...

Reading your blog reminds me why I decided to take some time off before going to grad school! My life seems so sedate compared to yours--and I think I like it! (At least for a while). :)

At 9:58 AM, Blogger BotanicalGirl said...

Ugh, I hate PCR optimization. I hope it works out for you.

I also know how you feel about that lab meeting. Ours are frequently squirm-worthy.

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

thanks you guys, for the words of encouragement. i think women in science are generally less catty, although we are probably more professional competitive, than perhaps in other fields. we're definitely less girly on the whole, and i think that helps. i think we're less tripped up by the whole pop culture fascination with how we should look, and we're a lot less likely to revolve our lives around how green the lawn is, or whatever the women on Desperate Housewives worry about.

- aside- our lawn is super green right now, because it's full of clover, and all the neighborhood cats like to poop there (and we're too lazy to shovel it). yes, we are the white trash of our neighborhood. and no, we don't own our house. -

there is still plenty of that backstabbing bullshit i encountered in elementary school, but people are more likely to gossip that you don't work hard enough or that you're a slut than that your shoes don't go with your pants, or whatever. at least, that's been my experience.

then again, i also don't care that much what people think, so long as they keep it to themselves.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

" all the blatantly missing controls, wondering if my own work looks that bad...the truly successful are usually people who always envision only the best for themselves."

Yeah, so long as "envision" is interchangeable with "pretend." Often the truly successful pretend that blatantly missing controls are unnecessary and that blatantly invalid or inaccurate measurements are legit and the world believes them. I don't know if my tour through academia was unlucky or yours has been sheltered. Actually I know only a couple instances of outright deceit and cover up, but such incidents stand out when you imagine you're working in some kind of priesthood.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

'the world' does not believe the people who leave out controls and make inaccurate measurements. You only have to convince 4 people that your paper is good enough to publish: 1) the editor and 2-4) the reviewers.

What 'the world' does later is just look at the list of publications, rather than read them. They don't pretend, to use your word, to be convinced. They don't bother.

and, uhh.... sheltered? Have you READ my blog? You don't get this cynical being sheltered. Just to share a little, in case you've missed it:

Thesis advisor went AWOL the year I was defending, long story.
First postdoc advisor was a sexist jerk who retracted one of his other postdocs' papers a year after it came out, just because he could.
I ended up leaving the guy's lab because he didn't want to let me publish any papers.

In some ways I think it would be better if people viewed it as a clergy type of commitment. Maybe then they would view it as a responsibility and a privilege and something requiring real commitment and values.


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