We're a little crazy, about science!

Day 358: One small step

Dream big

Sometimes are points in life that you can clearly define as the before and the after. As a child sometimes those points are simple milestones growing up, starting a new school for example or moving to a new town. There is the before and the after. As you get older those points become few and far between. For example, you started a new job. Unless it’s your dream job, you don’t really think of it as one of these points and everything just blurs together. Thus the bar seems to get higher and higher as we age. Today I had one of those points.

It was a small step, but an important one. My excitement was palpable and by the end even my PI was imagining what this meant for us. Two years. It took me two years to take this step and even though I was sleep deprived I was wide awake. The feeling was electric, like my nerves were on fire, but in a good way.

What we did today may not change the world, heck if it turns out I don’t have anything, it may only make me change my degree path. Still, suddenly we went from the before to the after. Setup took hours, my participant was very kind about the whole process. The experiment itself only lasted an hour, but when it was all over and I was left to clean up it felt like we barely got started.

In a lot of ways, we really did just get started. I still have four more subjects to collect data from, but there’s nothing like the first time. This experiment isn’t as glamorous or ambitious as my first, but it is something much more than that, this experiment will bring me validation.

Validation to the leap I took a year ago. While my first experiment should’ve been the last step after several other smaller steps, I went big. Of course this meant that I did not have the evidence to support my claim that the data I presented, in fact, what I thought (hoped) it was, I could only say that it was probably not other common noise sources. However, if I now go back and take those steps and they work out the way I hope, then I already know the ending to the story. Sometimes you tell the story by starting with the ending, well this was one of those stories.

Now I have my first dataset to process. It will inevitably be a whirlwind of emotions and probably a lot of frustration. For right now I can dream about the best case scenarios and plan for the future if this works out the way I want it to work. The data may have other plans for me, but right now, in this moment I’m enjoying the transition from before to after.

It’s that magical place where anything can happen, a place full of potential, a place where my dreams feel so real that if I could just hold on to them tightly they will become more than dreams. I set out wanting to change the world and today was just one small step towards making that dream into a reality.

Could it all come crashing down after I process the data? Maybe, but what’s the point of living if we can’t dream a little?


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