Second grant experiment
Ever have one of those days that is so packed full of stuff to do you don’t think you’ll get a chance to eat? Well today is one of those days for me, I’ll be busy from morning to evening today between my experiment and class I don’t get a break! Since that’s the case, I think we should look at what’s on the agenda for the day in a bit more detail and how I plan on managing my time so that (hopefully) I won’t be late for anything.
Oh hey there, didn’t see you. It’s me, the guy who writes this blog about his PhD journey. Sure, some days are more exciting than others, today for example is busy. I’m not exactly sure that translates to exciting, but it’s what we’re talking about today. Speaking of which, today is the first real day of class for me. Since this is my third year (second year of daily blogging!) I don’t have a whole lot of requirements left for my PhD besides my research, but there is one requirement that I have yet to meet and this class fulfills that requirement. The idea being the sooner I get these things over with the better so that I can focus on research.
That doesn’t mean I’m not doing research, oh no I’m doing research. For those of you just finding me, I’m writing a new grant (I’ve written one and we’re editing it now, but this one has a sooner deadline). It’s an NIH R21 grant and we need to get it done before the middle of next month, which is fast approaching!!!!! To submit it my Co-PI wants to collect some new data from some volunteers and we’ve been basically working on it all month so far.
Yep, today I have class, but I also have an experiment. This will be the second (of 3-5) that needs to happen and the last one took ~5.5 hours total, most of which is setup. The nerve wracking part is that my class, the one that also happens to be today, starts almost immediately afterwards. That means I’ll have minimal time to clean up the room after the experiment ends and will probably be attending class at the hospital (it’s virtual thankfully). In the past I’ve attended my classes at the hospital so it’s not a big issue, but in this case class runs until late in the evening, like 8pm late… yes on a Friday, it was the only time they offered it.
So my day will look something like this, blog (check), process some data ASAP before I go in (uh oh!), setup the room for the experiment, probably perform the experiment by myself since my Co-PI just shared his schedule for the day and it looks worse than mine, hopefully I will be able to clean up the equipment afterwards… maybe?, then rush to attend my online class. There’s no time for a break in any of this, so it’s go, go, go until after class and then I can get a late dinner if I’m lucky.
That’s how things work in my Co-PI’s lab though, somedays (or weeks) we’re so slow I don’t need to do anything, other days we’re scrambling to meet a deadline or get something accomplished. There’s rarely a inbetween. I don’t mind it, clinical research is still my favorite kind of research, we get to move quickly and I don’t typically have to worry about the paperwork, the approvals, things like that, because they are taken care of for me (unlike academic research).
Basically today will be busy, but it will also be productive and not everyday looks like this. Next week should be slightly less busy if I can get the rest of my experiments scheduled quickly, we’re probably going to do two more next week then call it good. This is just a pilot, or really a proof of concept, so we don’t REALLY have to worry too much about statistical power (proving something), we’re just showing that our methods work or appear to work. After the middle of next month it’s back to the first NIH grant I wrote, then I’m supposed to write a third, so hopefully I’ll have time in all of this for something else, probably paper writing! So much writing!!!!!