A busy and varied few days – 15th Oct 2015

The last two days have been really busy outside the lab but also really productive in the lab 🙂

Yesterday I arrived at 8:30am and got a little lab work set up (although not much if I’m honest) before leaving at 9:45am to go and give a talk! The College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology (CMBSP) held their induction morning for all the new PhD students in the college and I went and gave a short 10-15min talk to them about what to expect. I used slides but didn’t prepare a script, I just tried to make clear how important it is to have things other than the PhD in your life, as well as the fact that it’s a marathon not a sprint. Working all hours under the sun in your first year isn’t going to get you a PhD any sooner. I stayed to hear some of the other speakers and for the coffee session afterwards in case anyone had any questions they wanted to ask me.

I was back to the lab by about 11:30am and thought I had about an hour before a meeting at 1:30pm, but that meeting was cancelled! This gave me an extra hour in the lab before a demonstrator briefing at 2:30pm. I managed to get some lab work running (PCRs, running gels and DNA extraction) and I also had some lunch in there somewhere.

At 2:30pm I went to a 30min demonstrator briefing for the next days practical and then went back to the lab until 5pm. I pretty much spent the day in the lab (bar that slightly unproductive chunk of the day before I went off to the induction). As I thought I’d be busy for most of the day I managed to tag my undergrad into a DNA extraction lesson with the 2 other undergrads in our lab. This meant he was hopefully learning a new skill despite me not being there. At 5pm I went off to Pilates and it was definitely one of those pushing the time limit days, I ended up doing a very quick scurry arose campus to the gym (but don’t worry I made it in time 🙂 ). After Pilates I did my usual pop back to the lab for 30mins (due to those pesky train times), but I can’t tell you I was productive. As I’d barely sat at my computer all day I caught up on twitter instead 😛 .

On to today. I was demonstrating in the morning and the afternoon! So another busy day away from my lab bench. I arrived at 8:30am and surprisingly I got a lot done again. PCRs run on gels, cleaned up and put into the next step of the process, as well as confirming the mutants I’d made earlier in the week were real (BONUS!) 🙂 . That meant at the end of the day I plated them out so tomorrow I can analyse them and see what knocking out this particular gene does (or doesn’t do). Between 11-12 and 1-4pm I was demonstrating on the second year genetics unit. This weeks practical was the busiest one, so I was fully prepared for us to be in the teaching lab until the scheduled finish time of 5pm, BUT apparently we have a superstar year group who worked really well, didn’t accidentally throw the wrong thing in the bin and got everything done in good time. Finishing at 4pm meant that, just like yesterday, I had an unexpected extra hour that, just like yesterday, I spent in the lab. Today I didn’t plan anything for my undergrad as I knew I wouldn’t be around. Not having to worry about him and having a few unexpected hours back mean I’m feeling a little ahead of the game (which is a rare feeling so I’m enjoying it while it lasts 🙂 ). I stayed working in the lab until 6pm, and again pushed the limits of time. I nearly forgot to plate out some strains for tomorrow and realised at oooh 5:58pm, I managed to get all 4 plated and was out the door by 6:03pm (the latest I can leave and still make the train).

Definitely a busy few days, in the lab and out. I even managed to read a paper today! I’m going to ride this wave of productivity for as long as it hangs around (I’m sure it has something to do with the boss being on holiday, so it’s probably going to come to an abrupt end on Monday). Until tomorrow everyone, when I really will try hard to write a Friday post 😛 .

P.S. I completely forgot to get a picture in my blue demonstrators lab coat, will try next week.

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