We're a little crazy, about science!

The week ahead

It’s time once again to take a look forward and discuss the next week of stuff I get to look forward to as a researcher/student. There’s a lot going on, so I figured we could just condense it all into one post and touch on each thing a little bit. It’s exciting, but it will be an exhausting week. Fingers crossed that things go smoothly, but I’ll let you be the judge about how likely that will be based on the limited information I can share.

I’m excited to announce that this week we’re meeting with the first possible participant for big idea. If all goes well we will have data by the end of the week, the first dataset of many with luck. This has been over half a year of searching for someone, so I’m going in with a limited level of excitement until I know for sure they want to participate and I’ll breathe a little easier once I have the data. Until then, I’m just an anxious ball of mess, but if this goes well I will be in a good spot (or better spot anyway) to get funding for the project. The person helping us recruit participants has been having trouble, but we’re hoping we can screen more soon. If not, then who knows when we’ll get the chance to get our second set of data!

This week we need to finish what I’m calling dual paper. We need to have the draft written and sent out to our collaborators before the end of the week and while the draft is mostly written, there were some figures I needed to make. That’s basically where the weekend went for me, because each of these particular figures takes a lot of time and effort to put together since they are almost completely handcrafted (as in no fancy code to do the work for me… boo). With the figures mostly done I need to discuss with hospital-PI sometime this week about some hang ups I had with the dataset we collected. I can’t go into detail, but there were problems and while I worked around them, he may have a difference of opinions on how to solve it.

Then of course there is our grant proposal. I did mention it’s a busy week… right? Yep, we need to have the grant written and ready to go by Friday. Not a lot of time since I have two very complicated datasets that I need to process between now and then with almost no “free time” to do it in, so we’ll see how that goes. We’ve started writing the proposal and while it’s short, that’s the tricky part. See when a proposal is long you have all the space you want to explain your stuff. When you have a very short proposal you need to be very specific about the language you use. This makes it better in some ways, but it also makes it incredibly difficult to write, especially when there isn’t a ton of time to do it in. We’re hoping to get it done, but we’ll see I guess. There’s still quite a bit of work to do.

We also have a series of experiments we’ll be carrying out over the week, just a few sessions, but that’s still some work that needs to happen. Some of them involve a lot of setup and teardown, so I’m not particularly thrilled about that. Not that I can’t handle the teardown, but prep for experiments like this is difficult and time consuming, especially the first few. If things go smoothly, that would be ideal, but we’re already expecting it to be rough.

Lastly, if that wasn’t enough, I’m also teaching another class this week. It feels like I’m the only one teaching these things anymore and I’m not even in the school lab most weeks. I do enjoy teaching, it’s just one more thing I need to fit into my already incredibly packed schedule. This week I’m teaching my intro to ICA (independent component analysis) course. Luckily I’ve already taught this course, so guess who has all the materials pre-prepared? This guy! While this means minimal prep work for me, it still is a few hours of my time (plus getting ready). Luckily these are all virtual courses, so I don’t need to make a special trip to the lab just to teach them. That would be a problem and the extra drive time would be annoying.

So I did sign up for all of this, so I guess I’ve got to make the best of it. This is why my time management is so important (wrote about that here), if I didn’t plan accordingly and be productive when I feel like I can be productive, it would be a disaster. Also remember to take breaks, got reminded of that recently as well (here!), but so far so good. Just one more week to knock out and one week closer to the big graduation day… hopefully anyway!


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