Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dr. Li's Lab Week 4

Week 4 was an interesting and long week (even the morning radio DJs mentioned the longevity). It began with my more positive, relaxed attitude from the prior weekend. Matt was here for dinner Monday night, which was great. As he left, I went to the gym and back to lab, keeping me distracted from his departed.
Tuesday was a reading and result analysis day. Tuesday evening I went to my fabulous yoga class, ad then made enchiladas for some good girlfriend time.

Wednesday was my early 5:30am day. This is where the week got rough. The PhD student I am working with has another apprentice, an undergraduate. We were both there bright and early and as I was ready to start helping, I was informed that this week I was on my own. Now I am not a morning person and I was not expecting this, so it shocked my relaxed attitude. I explained that I did not feel ready to do this part on ym own yet, and she obliged. She also mentioned that Dr. Li expects me to be working independently now, especially beacuse of the undergraduate apprentice. I understood and took copious protocol notes to prepare for next week. The 3 of us working together was slow, and I wa slate for my amazing ethics training at 8 am at the vet school building.

When I got back to work later that day, I still felt abandoned and as if my PhD mentor was disappointed in me. For this week I worked almost completely alone and tried to be more asceptic and thorough. My RNA purities were excellent for my wild type cells, but not good enough for my IRAK-1 knockout cells. Not sure how I feel about this, was there a contamination in those, did I actually improve from last week-- those are the questions. I also was disappointed because I would be repeating this experiment again next week and this was my third try. It is becoming mundane repeating the same experiment over and over with little result.

So Thursday was sort of my "funk" day where I wallowed in self-pity and attempted motivation in reading articles. Friday I spoke with my mentor Dr. Li, told him my purity issues and showed him my results so far. He wasn't angry, disappointed at all. He was intrigued and excited for more results come Monday. He explained that a phenomena is showing itself and that we would be okay to show something on my poster for the conference.

I am not totally sure I believe him, or that I will not be completely rushing and overwhelmed through the process, but it made my week end on a brighter note. I also explained exactly how I felt to my PhD student mentor. She told me she thought I was ready for Wednesday, and knew Dr. Li would be pleased and understanding of my progress (or lack there of). She also complimented how far I have come. It felt good for us to discuss what happened and end the week upbeat!

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