A week of experiments
Most times work can be a trickle, we get one or two subjects a week and that’s all. 6-8 hours in the entire week dedicated to collecting data and the rest of the time I’m free to process data, work on other things I need to do, basically live day to day like I didn’t live in a lab. Most of the time. Sometimes it’s a flood, like this week and next, then I’m reminded that I definitely need to work.
This week I have back to back experiments basically every day. Wednesday is the exception, but that’s because I’m in the hospital getting ready for my surgery. I mentioned at the beginning of the pandemic that it would have to be bad for me to land in the VA hospital again, well it’s not great. So it sort of had to happen. Funny enough, that keeps me on track, two surgeries every year for the past 4 years. It feels excessive at this point, but hey eventually it has to be finished… right?
Anyway some days we have experiments from before the sun comes up to well after the sun goes down. Three experiments a day is rare, but we couldn’t do three a day for the experiments we have since setup and teardown takes forever so we literally can’t fit more than two in a day and even then it means I’m not going to get a break until we finish it.
The odd thing is that we would prefer to have a steady stream, but everyone tends to clump together with the times they are available. It’s an odd thing since it isn’t like we’re scheduling on holidays or days that would be more convenient for people in the general sense. I mean, we don’t have a break this week, everyone’s working, school is still in session, there are no holidays (that I’m aware of), but everyone seemed to have some free time this week so they get scheduled.
That also means I have to work my schedule around it all. I have classes and other things that I need to attend to, I can’t just brush it all off for the week so I have to fit it in with the times between experiments, get in extra early to set up, then go to class online, then experiment right after. Saves me a trip to work and saves me having to struggle getting it all setup before my class. It also gives me a quick moment to… you know write about it all like this.
I find getting the chance to write a little daily about what’s going on keeps me sane and more importantly it gives me a chance to work through things. Point of today’s post, writing is cheaper than a counselor… kidding!
For real though, the takeaway is simple, when working on your PhD you learn to manage your time better, or you end up drowning in work, sometimes both no matter how well you plan and prepare you find yourself buried in work, it happens. Keep looking forward and you’ll get through it. Or at least that’s what I tell myself!