Surprise summer project!
I’m super excited! My Co-PI sent me an email late yesterday asking me if I had time to help with an experiment. I absolutely love my Co-PI’s lab and all the stuff they do (throw back to this post), so of course I wanted a project! Well I read over the proposal and what he wanted me to do and let’s just say that I am in for a fun summer. I cannot wait to get started, since I can’t go over the details about what I’ll be doing, I think I’ll talk about the consequences.
Summer is my time. I mean that in the sense that it gives me a chance to recover from working with my head down and not exactly prioritizing my mental health. It’s a balancing act and I’ve gotten pretty good at it after years of doing horribly. It was bad for a while, like try to kill myself, live out of my car, thinking of dropping out because I couldn’t handle life bad. It got worse before it got better, but one of the most important things I’ve learned about myself is that I need to work with my mental health limits not fight them.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything productive over the summer, just the opposite. I split my time in half roughly, half for me and half for work. Sometimes it’s more like 70/30 where 70% of the time is for me. Last summer for example I did a lot of woodworking and over the winter break I made a lot of progress in finishing that project (here for example).
Since I put myself in front and my research secondary, you would think that I wouldn’t take on a new project like this. However, the project is something I’m excited about, won’t take a significant amount of time, and I can do a lot of it (writing/data processing) at home, which is great for my mental health. So let’s talk about the project!
In my Co-PI’s lab we have a quick and dirty experiments board. Experiments that are fast to do, but we can’t find time for them in our normal routine. Summer is a good time to get these projects done and the one I was offered was the one I had been most excited about. There is an invasive component to the project, which means that not only will I get to do experiments that I like, I get to do experiments during surgery!
It won’t be the first time my Co-PI has gotten me into the OR (here was the first), but it will be the first time we are going in specifically to do an experiment and not just for learning. The most time consuming part of the experiment will be the coordinating and the writing. Since I don’t do the coordinating (did I mention I love working in a clinical setting?) I only have to worry about being there when we’re scheduled to be and the writing of the paper.
This will be my first, first author paper in my Co-PI’s lab so that will be an exciting result. With my fellowship coming to a close (assuming it doesn’t get extended) this will be a nice way to wrap things up. Thankfully (and maybe we can talk about this tomorrow since I have an update there too) it sounds like my fellowship will be extended another two years, maybe. My Co-PI has come to rely heavily on me and we work well together so as long as my main-PI agrees I’ll get to continue my fun adventures in the clinical setting.