We're a little crazy, about science!

Experiment juggling

We’re off to a busy week, not that the previous few weeks haven’t been busy mind you! Since I started my dissertation data collection it’s been non-stop, but there’s a lot of other things going on too. In fact, I’ve got experiments on both ends, the hospital side and the school side, so the next few weeks will be just a touch busy! I just got word today that we’re starting another set of experiments and we now have additional experiments later on next month, and by next month I mean next week.

Where did this month go?! It feels like we just started and now we’re at the end and September is right around the corner. Well at least things are moving forward, even if they are going slower than I would like them to. Frankly, I’m just happy to be making progress, it’s been tough just sitting here watching the months go by as my dissertation sat on the back burner. The data had to get collected eventually though, so here we are.

First, let’s talk about the school side of things. As we last left off, the plan was basically two experiments every saturday until completion and some on Friday if I can squeeze it in. This week, due to hospital commitments, that won’t happen. Next week however I think I’ll be able to get one experiment done. I just confirmed earlier today that I will have two people for this Saturday bringing my total to 7 out of 10 needed. I’m hoping that the following week I can collect one on Friday and two on Saturday meaning aim 1 data is finished.

That’s the hope anyway and we know how things go when you’re running on hope (spoiler, it doesn’t). So worst case I’ll collect two datasets next week and one the following, which will push back my data collection by a week, but whatever at least I’ll have it all done. I still need to identify people to perform the experiment, I’ve already exhausted all the school lab side of things, so I’m going to attempt to wrangle some people from the hospital side, maybe, hopefully.

I haven’t even gotten to take a look at my data yet, I know it’s good data since I can see it live as we’re recording it (it looks like squiggles frankly), but I don’t know if it’s doing what I’m hoping it’s doing, so that’s the trick. I’ll have a good month and a half to answer that question though, and while that sounds like a lot of time, it’s really a month and a half of some Fridays and weekends. So not a lot of time.

On the hospital side things aren’t getting any easier. We’ve got a long running set of experiments that we’re working on and I just had a meeting with hospital-PI who let me know that we’re getting a few new participants. The time commitment each week on the project is roughly 10-15 hours and that’s going to almost double with the next participant being added to the list. If you’re wondering when I find time to eat and sleep, don’t worry I’m trying to find that answer myself.

We also have some long experiments coming in the next few weeks, which is why I’m trying to get all the data for my dissertation now. Last time we did these experiments I was in literal pain for like a week and couldn’t sleep well because of it. I’ve been working on ways to mitigate that, since it was mostly a muscle issue and I’m hoping that won’t be the case this time around, but planning and preparing helps. Still, those experiments will happen on Fridays (vaguely, they haven’t gotten on the schedule, but the day has been locked down I think) and I will be dead at least for the next day so dissertation data collection would not be able to happen those weekends.

Thankfully with how fast I’ve managed to get the data, I think we’re on track to be done before those experiments kick off. Basically right now I just need to figure out schedule stuff, try to figure out when I can block out time to work on different projects, and hopefully find time to just relax a bit. Thankfully tomorrow will be a slow(er) day for me so I’ll get a minute to breathe a bit.

So way back when I mentioned that I never could figure out how people manage to work and go to school at the same time? I still feel like it is impressive that people can do that. It feels like I’m barely hanging on and I’ve only been at it for a year now (almost exactly, hey!) so not too long. I will be graduating soon anyway so it’s only temporary.

At least that’s the lie I’m telling myself.


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