Mild thesis panic – Monday 9th Nov

Hi everyone, I’m back after my little hiatus, it felt really nice to have a guilt free week last week, but now I’m back and ready to tell you all about my day. I won’t bore you with all the details of last week but overall it was fairly productive, I ran an experiment that I thought had gone horribly until I counted the plates the next day and realised it was a big, fat success 🙂 .

What became really apparent to me over the last week was that we seem to be speeding through November and soon it’ll be Christmas! I’ve set myself some things that I really want to get done before the Christmas break rolls around but at the moment I’m not confident I’ll actually get it all done, but we’ll see. The undergraduates break up for Christmas on the 11th Dec, which gives me one undergraduate-less week (yes I’ve already checked out the term dates to know when I’ll be free of lab supervision responsibilities) before Christmas. At the moment my undergraduate is still taking up a lot of my time, he really struggles to be independent in any way, which by this point is less than ideal. This morning we sat down together with the boss, firstly so he could see how it’s going and secondly so he could provide a fresh explanation for things I don’t seem to be able to make understandable. I think the boss is now aware of how patient I’m being…

Moving onto how my actual day went today. I arrived at 9:15am after my Monday morning swim. I was in the lab for an hour on Saturday setting some things up so I rescued those from the PCR machine and poured myself some gels to have a look at the results. I was in the lab until around 10:15am, when I made a detour to the bosses office to ask if he was free this morning to go through results with my undergrad, he was more than happy to make time. While I waited for my undergrad to finish what he was doing I checked my gels and also did a little literature searching that I’ve been meaning to do. That’s right, some actual reading went down this morning (spurred on by some mild thesis induced weekend panic). Occasionally thesis panic strikes me out of no where, so rather than let it ruin my weekend I made a Monday morning plan of action to get it under control. That plan included some reading so I could more forward logically. The boss was very happy, he loves it when I actually find time to read, he often points out how I should be studying more as I am, in fact, a student. Thesis panic quelled for now, and a possible new experiment on the horizon, once I’ve figured out how to actually execute it. I also have several more papers to read and shove into my referencing software (I’m using Mendeley).

weekend lab selfie - I only popped in for an hour (I needed some undergraduate free time to work)
Weekend lab selfie – I only popped in for an hour (I needed some undergraduate free time to work) after my Pilates class on Saturday morning. 

Between about 11:45am-12:30pm I met with the boss and my undergrad. We went through what he’s done so far and, once I suggested it to him, made a list of what to do next. As it was 12:30pm I decided it was about time for lunch (away from my desk) which lasted for about 40mins. When I came back to the lab about 1:20pm (after a quick email/twitter check) I was confronted with an undergrad who’d discovered he’d not left himself enough time, I spent the next 10mins finishing up his experiment so he could go off to where he needed to be.

I stayed in the lab for the next 3ish hours although it went very quickly! I set up a digest, a PCR and, when the digest was complete, a sequencing plate. I crossed a lot of jobs off my to do list, although not quite everything.

Between 4:30-5:30pm I did some protein BLASTing. I’m check the genome of the bacteria I work on for other candidate genes that could be involved in my system. Our lab meeting last Friday was extremely helpful as one of the post-docs presented a similar system that has a few extra genes, I went looking to see if there are any similar genes (at the protein level) in my bacteria. So far I haven’t found any extras, which either means I need to look harder, or my list is already complete. I haven’t finished working through my list and making mutants just yet (not to mention double mutants), so it could be either option. After getting a little admin done I went home at 6pm.

I’d call today fairly solid, I got a decent amount of lab and admin work done, as well as a meeting with the boss that I can probably write up as my required monthly meeting. Tomorrow I’ll be at PubhD Leicester which means I’ll post again on Wednesday, until then everyone thanks for reading :).

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