A day of no PhDing – Tues 17th Nov

I arrived this morning at 8am, today I was giving one of the lab meetings (there are usually 2 of us) and I didn’t have any slides ready yet. I then spent the next 50mins chatting, about lab/science , but still, not actually doing what I was meant to be doing. Oh well, I managed to get some slides pulled together before the meeting at 10am. 

10-11am was lab meeting time, and that went well. Sometimes not very many of the grown ups (aka academics) can make the meetings, it might clash with lectures for example, but today 3/4 of them were there! Lab meetings are valuable whether the grown ups can make it or not, the input from the post-docs can actually be the most helpful as they’re also working in the lab with you. Today though it was nice to have the boss and my second supervisor there. I got to share my current working hypothesis on one aspect of my project and both the grown ups and the post-docs approved :). They made some suggestions based on what I presented and I sat down with the boss straight after the meeting to quickly check a few things. Based on that I made a plan of action and between 11:30-12:15pm I designed and ordered some primers to make some new mutants. 

At 12:15pm I went for lunch (away from my desk) with a friend from the lab. On Sunday I cooked myself a batch of veggie curry, which gives me a lovely warm lunch to look forward to every day this week :). After lunch I only had 15min before a meeting at 1pm so I didn’t really do anything except check emails/twitter/BBC news.

At 1pm I went to a meeting about the marking associated with the unit I’ve just finished demonstrating on. The university are in the process of introducing online marking, and this year it’s being rolled out to the second year units. The online marking is *challenging*, I personally find it very difficult to mark lab reports using the system but hopefully it’ll be easier now I’ve had some practice with it. The reason for today’s meeting was that this is the first time this unit is being marked this way so there were some logistical things to talk about.

A excellent choice of hobnobs, tea and coffee at the thesis forum. If you can’t get hobnobs wherever you live in the world I’m very sorry that you’re missing out on one of the best biscuits out there.

At 2pm I went off to the library to give my talk at the thesis forum (video to hopefully follow once it’s been posted). The forum officially started at 2:30pm but tea and biscuits were put on for a little bit of socialising for half and hour beforehand. I was the second speaker and tried to give my tips for STEM students approaching the first year probation review which included (if you’re interested):

  • Taking a copy of the report to the meeting with you
  • Getting to know your panel by meeting with them outside of them assessing you (e.g. working on other projects)
  • Using the writing process as a chance to spend time away from the lab (without feeling guilty)

The thesis forum had two other speakers, and at the end we did a little Q&A session so that finished at 4pm. I stayed to speak to the organisers for a little bit and was back to the lab by 4:15pm. I used the next 45mins to adjust a spreadsheet I’d been sent after the marking meeting earlier and then sent it back ready to be used.

I wasn’t going to get any lab work done unless I stayed very late, so I left at 5pm to catch the train home. A distinct lack of any lab work (or even any PhD work) today, but lots of worthwhile things done, including securing myself a job demonstrating on this unit again next year :). Hopefully tomorrow I’ll actually have some lab work to tell you about, until then everyone, thank you for reading.

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