If you build it, they will come? Okay not quite, but if you can buy it you need to make it. That seems to be the theme for the next few weeks as we’re getting ready to start several different experiments and the scope of them is massive. Not so much the experiments themselves, but everything that is going into them and everything we are going to get out of them.
So yesterday I mentioned that we are about to start several experiments that are a sort of test run for another set of experiments. That isn’t to say we’re slacking, because we are not! Because if we’re going to do experiments like this we will be publishing and we will be doing the work right. But practice makes perfect, or at least less horrible, so for that reason the experiments we’re starting next week will be a practice for the “real” experiments that are coming latter.
The difference being what exactly the experiment entails, both times we will be racing the clock, but this time we have slightly more freedom for what we want to do. Since both experiments will revolve around an idea I had, a “big idea” as it were, we need to have everything ready and any errors we run into this round will need to be thoroughly worked out for the next set of experiments.
But even after the meeting today to clarify what we’re doing, we’re all still flailing a bit trying to get a good schedule worked out and to get the equipment ready. That’s where I come in, since big idea is mine I’m the one in charge of making the equipment. Because we need specially made equipment for big idea and I’m really the only one who can do the things needed to make the equipment.
First, how the hell did that happen? I’ve always been “crafty” I guess, but I never really thought those skills would translate to work, much less the stuff I’m doing now. So it goes.
After our first meeting yesterday, and especially after the meeting today, I’ve realized I need double the equipment I made. Did I mention it took weeks to make the stuff I have now? Because it did. Now I have less than a week to get everything together and hope for the best basically. It’s going to be a rush, but when isn’t it a rush? I mean I’m always rushing, everything is being balanced on a knife edge and somehow in all this chaos we make things work.
As it stands, we’re borrowing equipment from other labs and I’ve got the parts and things I need to make the equipment that I need to make on my end… mostly, still working out some of the details. It will be up to me to make sure everything syncs together and that everything goes smoothly. Who the hell put me in charge of all this is anyone’s guess, but I feel bad for that guy!
Okay that guy’s hospital-PI and even though I’m not a postdoc he treats me like one. Hell really he treats me like a PI, which is nice and terrifying at the same time. If he has an idea I don’t agree with I can tell him flat out he’s being stupid and he has no problem doing the same to me. It’s a good relationship, but it also means that there’s a lot of pressure on my end to make sure that what I tell him is correct. I mean it’s a lot of responsibility and with responsibility comes stress, but you also get freedom to do things the way you want. So here we are and we’re doing these big experiments more or less the way I want to do them.
Because we’re doing these experiments and it’s my responsibility to make everything, I’ve been hard at work with the soldering iron and fancy magnifying arm (I hate straining my eyes to do fine soldering work) making sure everything is ready. I still have a LOOOOOONG way to go between now and when we start, but I’m hoping to have it done, or “done enough” by the time we get started.
Somewhat of a side note (since my whole blog is a side note), I’ve basically been ignoring my school work at this point trying to get everything ready. Which is fine since I don’t have the equipment for my experiments yet and I’ve decided to ignore them until I get the equipment. It’s somewhat good timing I guess since I’m in a holding pattern right now due to the lack of equipment and from the email exchange with the company we’re getting it from, we probably won’t have the stuff to the middle of next month, basically eating all the wiggle room I had in my proposal, but who needs a safety net?
I’ve talked about this in the past, but making things is how I got to this point really. Between my super cool robot, the years of prosthetics designing, and now big idea, I’ve basically made my way to the place I’m at, literally. Despite all the freaking out I’m doing, I’m also really just amazed that you can get a job being creative essentially. I guess all engineering jobs in the general sense are creative jobs, but I still feel like I’ve tricked someone along the way to be paid to do the stuff I enjoy doing.
I also think that a lot of the time our only limits are our imaginations. I mean physics is a thing, but that’s where creative problem solving comes in to play. Or as I like to say, if you can dream it, you can make it. Not a bad rule to live by when I’ve managed to get to this point. Granted, I’m still lacking my PhD, but progress is progress. And in the meantime I get to make all sorts of cool things, so I’m going to take advantage of the time I have.
Because if you can’t find greatness, you may as well make it yourself… or something like that.