We're a little crazy, about science!

A busy weekend ahead

This feels a lot like my workstation… Art by: Erlson Neba

As per usual it feels like there’s a lot going on and I’m getting nowhere. It’s an interesting feeling, but I’m sure we’ve all been there. Since there’s a lot of things, I’m once again grouping them into a single post so I have something of substance instead of several very short posts over the span of the next couple of days. What’s going on this weekend you may ask, well just the (hopefully) final version of my dissertation proposal, some data analysis for an experiment we’ve been working on, and a bunch of prep work for all the things happening next week.

If there’s one theme around here, it’s planning. Planning has saved me so many times, even when the plan goes directly to the garbage, at least there WAS a plan. As one of my labmates said the other day, I have too many PI’s and I agree. No clue how we got to this point, but here we are. By Monday I need to have a LOT of things done and since time is a factor, I want to plan a bit before I dive in.

The main contender for eating all of my time this weekend is my dissertation proposal. I’m still looking for clarification regarding my IRB status at the hospital, since the work will be done entirely at school, I’m not 100% convinced it’s needed. Still, even with that up in the air, the proposal can move forward and I really don’t want to find out the hospital IRB doesn’t need to be involved and still be hanging around waiting to defend my proposal. Instead I’m going to be making the final (hopefully) modifications to my proposal.

The initial draft was done two weeks ago, but school-PI finally got back to me with the modifications he wanted to see earlier this week. I’ve set a self-imposed deadline to have this done by Monday so I can move on to the next phase of things and getting my committee scheduled is going to be a pain. It could be weeks or longer before they all have time in their schedule to be present for my proposal defense, even if we do the proposal virtually. So the edits need to be done quick so I can start arranging the time. Even if I need to wait for the IRB, I won’t have any other requirements holding me back from data collection once this is done.

Next I have an actual deadline coming up that I need to hit. Or rather hospital-PI has a deadline and it’s my job to make sure we hit it. He’s giving a presentation to a group regarding the data I’m currently working with and he needs some good looking data to show them. By good looking I mean finished looking plots instead of the random plots we’ve been making to see if we have anything so far. That was part of yesterday’s post (here) and for those of you who follow along it will be no surprise to you that I’m still debating about which figure to use.

Honestly at this point I may just start cycling through a few that I like and see which tells the story better. After we finished our last experiment today hospital-PI and I discussed exactly the story we’re telling. I personally think it’s important to have a good grasp on what we want to tell people about the data we’ve collected so I can find a good format for the data to help tell that story. There are other things we can do with the data we’ve collected and we spent some time discussing that as well, but for the most part the story for this presentation is surprisingly straightforward. Meaning the figures I’m making probably (probably!!!) don’t need to be too fancy, but I still would like to make sure it looks like I put an effort into producing them at least.

Since all of this is due Monday and tomorrow I have other obligations, I basically have one day to get all this done (and probably a little tonight). In short it will be either a very late night tomorrow and Sunday, or an even later night Sunday. Tackling some of this today will help, but the bulk of the work is the data analysis and that takes time. The writing will go quickly relatively speaking, but that’s still time I need to set aside for the work and you need to be in the right headspace to write or you’ll end up with garbage. At least that’s been my experience anyway.

Now who’s idea was it to do a PhD and a full-time job?

2 responses

  1. You’ll finish everything you really need to, I’m sure. I hope it isn’t too painful.

    I’ve had shades of the same feeling at work lately (doing a lot, getting nowhere). I think it’s some combination of my work queue filling with new things before I’ve finished the old ones, and having a large number of small tasks on my plate. Frequent context-switching supposedly makes people less efficient, and failure to account for that might be making me underestimate how well I’m really doing (“those jobs were small, so I should have finished them faster!”).

    I’ve been wondering about your house. Did you hire someone to finish repairs, or do you still have a hole in your garage ceiling?

    Liked by 1 person

    March 25, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    • Thanks, I’m sure I’ll get it done too, it’s just a matter of how quickly. I think what you describe is right, having to switch between so many projects makes it feel like there’s been no forward progress no matter how much gets done.

      Unfortunately the house is still in pieces. The bottom 1/4 of the bathroom wall (on the bathroom facing side) and the ceiling of the garage still are wide open. Between all the recent expenses (gutter, laptop, car, just to name a few haha) it will be a project I either need to save some to get done or just suck it up, buy the materials, and fix it myself. Drywalling isn’t hard, I’ve done a lot of it, it’s just time consuming. Which as you know, not a lot of that at the moment either. It will get done eventually though!

      Liked by 1 person

      March 26, 2022 at 9:59 am

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