We're a little crazy, about science!

Presentation 1 of 3

Well today was the first of three presentations and it’s been an incredibly busy 24 hours, the crunch time of crunch time. I was stuck late last night working away at this making sure it was ready for the big day and while there was some minor errors on one of my slides, the presentation went off without too much of a hitch and everyone was pretty impressed, at least that’s what I’ve been told. As for me, I need a vacation.

Yesterday (here) I talked about how I thought I had something, or rather I thought I had nothing, found something, then spent almost all week very confused. I wasn’t sure what I was going on and I still can only speculate that I either have something, or I don’t. Which is to say, I’m still in the beginning stages of all this. It wouldn’t be a huge problem, but this was just one of three presentations I’m scheduled to give this month. Yes, this month. It’s been a busy year for me and that’s coming off of last year, which I thought was already maxing me out.

Because I work full-time at the hospital I haven’t set foot into the school lab in a month, maybe longer? I’m not even 100% sure to be honest, but I hadn’t seen school-PI in person in almost twice that time. Since the term started not too long ago, we got some new students and the school lab has grown considerably. We had roughly 5-6 students in the spring of this year and now in the fall, from what I’ve been told, there’s over 35, a major increase.

Some aren’t there for the entire school year, there’re on exchange programs and programs like that only last a term usually, so it’s not like school-PI just took on 20 more projects (since he’s coordinating all of the stuff we do in the lab). But from what I’m told, he’s very proud of all that I’ve accomplished and that, in my mind anyway, is a stark change from the first few years I started in the lab and was convinced he didn’t like me for some reason. But that was probably my own personal baggage more than anything.

All that to say, when I arrived to give my talk today I was expecting a very large crowd. And I don’t want to say I was disappointed, but I was surprised to find that there were only a handful, if that, students when the talk was scheduled to begin. Of course, that rapidly changed and before I knew it the lab was packed and I was giving everyone a rundown of my dissertation project, what I’m calling super secret technique (SST). These are students who are just starting out and coming in from different backgrounds so I gave the “full” style presentation, background, state of the art, etc.

While we had some minor issues with technology (fun times!) everything got resolved and the talk went about as smoothly as it could. I had a lot of very good questions from students about the project and suggestions for other types of projects. One person independently came up with big idea, which was both funny and scary since I need to publish on that first damn it!!!!!! Not that I’m worried about that particular student, but more of the field as a whole.

The data I had to show for the project was far from complete and (unfortunately) far from conclusive, I made what I believe to be a good case for SST and I gave a good roadmap for the next steps to be performed. Which, now that I have one dataset processed and ready for analysis, the rest should (in a perfect world anyway) fall in line very nicely. That will be one of those, wait and see type situations, but from past experience it will not be too difficult to get the rest of the data processed. It’s just getting the code written for the first dataset (first processed dataset that is) that’s the tricky part.

As anyone who’s read any of my posts in the past few days can guess, the lead up to this was incredibly stressful and this post is partially coming so late because I wanted to take a good amount of time to recuperate before I dove back into doing anything that required brain power. Given the surprisingly high misspelled word count I have going for me as I write this, it was a good idea to just take a break for the day.

To add to the good news pile, this is the first of three talks down so I only have two more to worry about and worry about them I will! The second and third are both very important to me (not that the first wasn’t stressful, obviously) so I want to make sure to have as much done for them as possible. The goal for the next two would be to ideally have anywhere from 1/3 to even half of the data processed.

Hitting the halfway mark would be ideal even if I just got even the most basic and rudimentary analysis done because it would help confirm that at least the finding (n = 2 at this point, even though technically it’s really n = 1, n = 1) is valid. It won’t help me determine if what I’ve found is what I think it is (talking vaguely on purpose here, just FYI), but it will establish that this phenomenon exists and is generalizable (see across participants), which is the first step really.

I’ve got two weeks to the next deadline and just a few days until the third, so there’s work to be done for sure. We’ll have to wait and see if I can get it all done though.


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