April 10th: Short research update
March 28th: Talking to Bijoy
Today, I judged the GA state science and engineering fair at UGA as a senior tier I judge. See note here. Afterward, I went to the Kushner lab and visited Bijoy. He has a beard now! It was truly good to see him. I walked in and said hi and he grinned and said, "Who is this??" He had me sit down and actually TALKED to me nearly ten minutes. I think that's the longest I've ever talked to him. And he actually seemed like he didn't mind and looked thoroughly happy I came by. I was really happy by all that. He asked about how grad school was.
What Bijoy said
It was really a thoroughly fascinating conversation - to me - the things he said - because of what they implied. He seemed to say/imply when I said that I really loved Emory that you could make or do anything out of where you were, if you were the right kind of student, and Emory was a good place, and that'd I'd made a good decision. I told him about my RNA problem. He said the water and/or containers were often the most trouble, but that I would figure it out, he was sure. When you went to a new place, you started over, but things always righted themselves in the end. He said that I was a fighter. I felt really honored about how well he thought of me. I wrote this post, because I wanted to remember that.
He asked what I wanted to do when I got a pH.D. - I think - I can't remember how it came up - but I said, if I was lucky, I'd be in his position - a research scientist! He said, no, no! If I was lucky, I'd be in a far better position than HIM - "You want to have your own lab! Your own students!" I can't remember if he said "I should" or that "I'd want" that. I do? No, Bijoy and I see luck differently, I think. I'm very simple. And I still want the same thing. I don't have "grandiose plans." He spoke of one student of the Kushner lab who had gone on to be a director at somewhere famous up north, and another, that got a post-doc at such a place, but was given an assistant professorship instead when she arrived. He said/implied that only time would tell what would happen with me.
Simple can be grandiose in its own way, can't it?
But can't simple plans and hopes be grandiose in their own way? Can't someone relish being a simple farmer or a baker, working in excellence? Not everyone wants to be the President. Can't I do good science wherever I am, even if Emory isn't as famous as MIT? I think I can. Nothing is wasted that is used well. And I intend to try. Just because I don't want to leave doesn't mean I don't want to do just as good science as if I were at Caltech. For truly, it's not the place that matters - at least - no one has yet convinced me of that. If Khalid cannot or will not let me stay, I'll probably drift away to industry, not a PI's job. I don't think I would ever want that. We'll see what the Lord wants when the time comes. As Bijoy reminded me, just look at one day at a time - let the future worry about itself. He seemed to imply I might think differently when the time came. He'll probably be surprised.
UGA: Nostalgia about hard but good times make me love my life now
It was good to talk to him. I really enjoyed it. He asked after my brother and parents and I told him what little I could. Going to UGA, riding the good ol' Orbit buses to get to the life science building - was extraordinarily nostalgic. I never felt a part of UGA when I was there. I just felt as if I were sojourning. But so much important life happened while I was there. And I found myself remembering how incredibly stressed I was - how much work I had had - how much I worked myself into the floor every day and didn't think anything of it. And it made me realize that the stress I have now is truly nothing at all. It snapped it into proper perspective for me - the act of being there - somehow. It connected me to my old life again and I could smell it's aroma and taste it's flavor. The fear. The stress. The striving. The learning. The curiosity. The wondering. Good times. Hard. Very hard. But good times.
March 27th: RNA is sad and Yuan's sweetness
I'm blogging while my gel image finishes up. I got a late start today, but it was a good day. I was given a different perspective on the Lord and life and things feel significantly improved. I'll talk more about that later. Forgot to pack a lunch, so I ate a twisted burrito from the new "Twisted Taco" place in Cox Hall. Ate half of it for lunch and half for dinner.
Yuan is my favorite sweet person
Yuan asked me today, "You know how much I love you, right?" That made my day. She made me feel so loved and happy! She's always saying sweet things. I asked her to pray my gel would be pretty and she prayed on the spot, "Lord, help Jessica's gel to be the most beautiful gel ever!" *hugs Yuan* She's the best.
My poor RNA is very sad
Well, it's an ok pretty gel but it seems all my RNA is VERY unhappy and degraded. Hmm. I've got to sort this out. Where is this degradation coming from I wonder? I will have to start a systematic search.
FIN: What's up next
Tomorrow, I go to judge the GA state science fair at UGA. I'll probably drop in on the Kushner lab and Bijoy afterward and see how everyone is doing over there. I've still got those bus routes in my head.
That's all for now!
March 24th: Less Terrified and So Much Got Done Today
Today, Yue gave her defense - a grad student jointly in the Salaita lab and one from physics. I thought it was good, but I wished I could have understood more of it. The graphs did not make much sense to me. I'm not sure I knew what the units meant in relation to everything. She had a lot of acknowledgements, which I enjoyed listening to.
Feeling Less Terrified, As My Experiments Snapped Into a Better Perspective
Today, I feel less terrified. I thank John for praying about that and anyone else who did. I was thinking about my research while I did orgo lab, and how the orgo students had to pick the right developing solvents for their TLC by trial and error - and this was how real science worked. Can I be that surprised that such is mine as well? No, not really. That made things seem more down-to-earth to me in a way I could comprehend, and I was like - oh - I get it. It didn't seem quite so bad to me then. Let's hope this feeling stays. I was completely terrified all of last week. I think this week is an improvement so far.
Working on the Library Paper
I managed to get the comments for the reviews of papers done for the library course and even read two short articles today! That is impressive, considering how busy I was - I have no idea how that happened. I'm just thankful. I'll be working on my paper as furiously as I can until the 7th when it's due. Right now, all I care about is trying to do my research experiments and that paper - that's it - nothing else matters much to me. I'm zoned in.
Orgo TA Lab and my Stubborn Students
Also, right now, I'm very tired. My students were making chalcones today. One pair used the wrong reagents and couldn't get the precipitate that they were looking for. They asked if they could PLS do their reaction again, because it was bugging them to DEATH that they knew what was wrong and hadn't gotten the product. So I let them - though I didn't like staying late - I was so impressed with their perseverance - now that's a scientist! And they did get their product in the end - a whole lot of it. Also, I got to make more TLC spotters - melting pipettes with the blow torch - and that will never get old.
The Tea Man
Oh - I did meet Dr. Scarborough washing all these cups on the 5th floor and he said he was "preparing for the day of tea," which made me laugh. He says on Tuesday, there's always tea starting around noon. I think I'll take him up on his offer to come get some. His tea is great! And that's all for today.