John 13:7, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
And these two verses characterize this week quite well. The first is one of my favorites. The second the Lord gave to me today.
I feel as if in the beginning of this week, I was kind of mad at God, but didn’t realize it, and just tried to do experiments furiously. I was really wanting to see what kind of activity my new protein had.
Also, my parents have mostly stopped being mad. Their “protect the Jessica” radar has been lowered, since I haven’t done or said anything else strange in a while and nothing bad has happened to me. That’s good. This is pretty typical for my mom, in particular. She tends to go off on tirades and then calms down – she did that a lot when I dated John.
Monday: lots of calculations, meeting, and Yuan stressed
Kornelia came back! That was really exciting.
The Friday subgroup meeting got partially moved to Monday at 4 p.m. Yuan told me, so I went to listen to the end of it. I didn’t have a chance last Friday. It was rather interesting, but Khalid looked distinctly stressed, which worried me, since I didn’t know precisely why, but I was sure it related to me somehow.
Later that evening, Yuan was having a nervous breakdown about her project. She’s leaving at the end of the week to go back home to China to visit her family for a month.
I’ve been keeping an eye on her. She was worrying me. She had told me months ago that she was going to work seven days a week constantly, 24/7, to “do the impossible” for Dr. Salaita. From what I’d seen, she seemed to be sticking to that hectic schedule.
When I saw her sleeping at her desk one day, I got really worried. But, from what she told me, she was getting up and going to bed at decent enough times to at least get seven hours of sleep, so then, I felt a little better.
But on Monday, she was really stressed out and said that Khalid always only cared about good results and not the effort. I said no one was always anything, but she exclaimed that he always was this way. Then she said she was sorry for saying this, and clung to me, saying how worried she was, that Khalid should have met with me that day at 4 p.m. instead of having subgroup meeting, and what if he did that on purpose? “I want you to join the lab SO much!”
I think she was terrified that he was mad at me, and was avoiding me on purpose, and was planning on not letting me join. I just don’t think that’s the case, from what I’ve seen.
I assured her that Khalid was not mad. I talked to him Wednesday and things were fine. And I’d talked to him last Saturday, so there was no need for him to talk to me again today. And I said, I was definitely joining the lab, no matter what, because I was extremely sure the Lord wanted me to be here. That’s totally true. It really doesn’t matter what happens anywhere else, what Khalid does, or what I have going on with me.
And I told her that when I rotate out, she could come find me at any time and ask me anything she wanted and we could still be a team. Nothing had to change. She looked slightly comforted.
We clung to each other, I prayed for her, and she prayed for me and for Khalid to have more ‘inner peace,’ which I thought was sweet, and I seconded. I pray for that a lot.
The first greatly annoys me, because it’s just not true. Yes, he might come off that way sometimes, but he does care about his students, not just their data. I’ve seen what it looks like for professors/people not to care, and I know the difference. I told Yuan this.
Bijoy is a case in point, but that complaint can’t even fit him perfectly. He cares about the people he teaches – I just think he doesn’t express it very well. And at least Khalid is happy when you get good results! For Bijoy, even if one attained perfection, he generally acted as if that was nothing to be celebrated, because that’s what you should have gotten. Anything less than that he frowned upon. He offered 0 positive feedback and large amounts of negative feedback any time any kind of error or mistake was made, which was incredibly stressful.
The most positive thing he said in two years was 2-3 times when he tilted his head, looked at a sheet of my data and said, “This data is ‘good.’” I was always so incredibly shocked and so very proud like you wouldn’t believe each time he said that – but I didn’t react – because he would have thought that was strange.
I still love Bijoy, because he really is a nice person and one of the best scientists I know. He really wanted me to do a good job and learn, and didn’t *want* to stress me out. In the end, he said he thought I’d make a good scientist wherever I went and tried to give me helpful advice. Compared to him, Khalid is completely wonderful and really does care about his students. It’s incredibly obvious.
Complaining of any kind just really annoys me. It brings down the whole lab, doesn’t accomplish anything, and just makes everyone depressed. Who wants that? And besides, there are SOOO many more good things about Khalid than there are things to complain about! Bosses always want more than people can deliver, I think. That’s why you have to work for the Lord first, not people.
Ephesians 6:5-7, “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,”
Having just said I hate complaining, I hope I’m not being too hypocritical ‘complaining’ about Bijoy. Sometimes, I think saying neutral facts about him sound like complaints. I try to give him as many pluses as minuses. And really and truly, I think if the Lord hadn’t given me a boss like him, I’d not have some of the faults worked out of me that needed working out. I think the Lord knew what He was doing. It just was hard at the time.
Tuesday: lab meeting day
Weiwei was presenting his Janus particle papers, which were quite fascinating. It’s too bad that I didn’t get a chance to read them first. I’m pretty sure they could be useful for something. I really wish there was a better way to study their surface structure. I was wondering if one could do it with lasers and their resonance energies being different on the surface, depending on what was bound, or something, but I really don’t know. That’s not an area I’ve studied at all.
Carol got up and talked about this SUPER COOL new flow cytometry instrument that Emory has acquired!! That was almost more interesting than the Janus particle papers! I’ve read a lot of papers where they used flow cytometry as an integral part of their data and I could foresee needing to use it in some cases. Now, I know that if I need to, I actually can! What a relief! It makes me really excited. It’s a super fancy instrument that collects obscene amounts of data, counting cells one at a time.
Lastly, Yoshie talked about her Germany trip and all the Nobel Laureates she got to talk to, their advice and the things they said – which was completely fascinating. I hope I get to go to Germany someday.
During the lab meeting, I ate *two* bagels. I made sure there were four blueberry ones in there. Blueberry is the best. Next time I buy bagels, I’ll make sure to get just two of the regular cream cheese tubs. Everyone including me likes that one the best anyway. I got regular and blueberry this time. But the blueberry was *too* blueberry-ish tasting. Too sweet.
After lab meeting
Wednesday: frustration and more frustration
Yuan stressing out
A few hours later, I was really surprised that Khalid actually called the lab and asked to talk to her the next day! She seemed a bit stressed about *that* and I was really vexed, because it was my fault and unnecessary for her to be worried, so I confessed to her what I did.
She was amazed and asked what did I say?? So I told her, and said he probably didn’t want to bother her about her project not working perfectly, but just wanted to talk about something not stressful. She said, “oh,” looked truly surprised, and said, “Sometimes, it seems like no one cares about us.” I said, Well see! It’s not true. Khalid does care about you. I can tell the difference when people do and they don’t. Lots of people care about you. She looked much happier and gave me a hug saying thanks so much. I hope she felt better. She seemed to.
I tried to run my reaction on a 4-20% gradient gel that I got from Whitehead. When I bought it at the kiosk in there, I happened to see that the lady’s restroom had lotion by the sink! What a great idea. Why doesn’t every bathroom have that, I wonder? It seemed to be a bathroom ladies really cared about.
I went to Whitehead again to image my gel around 8 p.m. only to discover the door was locked! I was horrified! I will have to make sure this never happens again and I get a proper key to it.
I circled the building to no avail. I peaked in some lab windows and tried to knock on them, hoping someone would notice and let me in. I prayed the Lord would let me in furiously. I wasn’t about to give up on the whole day’s work. Fortunately, He brought a student walking into the building that let me in.
Unfortunately, the gel data was inconclusive and not that great. I don’t think I was getting good separation on this weird gel. I knew it was a long shot. I just wish I hadn’t been so stupid as to risk buying them. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The Whitehead kiosk does not let you just buy one. You have to buy the whole box.
Mad at everything
I was mad at everything and nothing – mad that my data was inconclusive, mad that I couldn’t seem to accomplish anything, mad that I had let John down again and not managed to leave lab until after 10 p.m. for the third straight day in a row, mad at the Lord for being confusing, mad that I had to rotate out soon, worried about Khalid, mad that I wasn’t reading enough literature, mad at myself for being stupid, or ignorant or not good enough, smart enough, fast enough – whatever – yes, just mad at everything. I was so mad, I didn’t even go back in to lab to get my stuff. I just left it all there and went home.
I asked John to pray for me and he did. I went to bed really depressed. I think I was also just really tired. That doesn’t help.
Thursday: return to peacefulness
I also hadn’t been reading that much Scripture and just been frantically working, and I could really tell the difference. I felt so terribly empty.
So I spent a good while talking to the Lord in the morning and He filled my emptiness. I felt so much better – more calm, more at peace, more satisfied. He also showed me that I was being mad at Him, and I repented of that. He talked to me a lot and was so very comforting.
The last Scripture He gave me was, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13:7 He told me I had to trust Him with what He was doing, and not get so frustrated I didn’t know what His plan was. I get frustrated really quickly if I don’t understand what God’s doing sometimes.
After that, the whole day was so much better. I cleaned my entire lab bench really thoroughly with Nanopure water, then ethanol, then RNase zap until it was just so beautiful looking and organized, and I sighed in happiness.
I wrote all my grad weekly reports I had been neglecting.
I ended up pouring two gels (which still got bubbles) and setup a whole other ligation reaction, even with a positive control attempt, and accomplishing much more than I had the previous three days by being all frantic and trying to work really fast, and in a much shorter amount of time. Really weird. God is good to me.
While we walked to Panera, she was talking a lot about my other rotations and maybe I should do my first rotation in the Salaita lab again, and all kinds of other combinations I hadn’t thought of – but it was causing me to have a stress attack. I really didn’t want to think about all that.
The sandwich was really good and we had some good just nothing conversation. I felt as if I didn’t say much though. I was in a somewhat quiet, pensive mood. I told her I was sorry I didn’t talk much and she said what? She thought I talked the perfect amount! I’m glad she didn’t seem to notice.
I was feeling really panicked when we were coming back and really stressed – just a general stress that I couldn’t really identify. I decided it was because I didn’t want her to leave, I didn’t want to rotate out – I *really* can’t describe how much I don’t want to rotate out – I try not to think about it, but whenever I do, I feel on the verge of falling apart. It shouldn’t be a big deal. But next February may as well be an eternity, for how it seems right now. Besides, all these presentations are coming up I have to do and classes will be starting. Grrr.
I always tend to have a nervous breakdown before semesters start anyway. I have no idea how it will go. It feels like I’m starting college for the first time out of homeschool again, untried and untested, and wondering if I’ll be able to do it or not. Once it starts, I’ll probably be ok.
I asked her to pray for me and she did, gave me a hug and asked the Lord to bring me back to the lab, because she didn’t want me to rotate out either. She’s very sweet. She told me that I had to learn to be more balanced working, which is true. I intend to work on this. Otherwise, I’ll just crash and burn or something.
I got my gels poured, another ligation reaction started, including an experimental positive control setup that I hope works – all done by 6:50 p.m.! I was so happy.
Yvonne came back to lab in the evening with really short hair! I hope she didn’t cut her hair just because I told her not to when she was telling me this morning how much she wanted to cut it and get a new look. I have no idea why so many girls like to do that kind of thing. I would never cut my hair for any money in the world. Lots of people have tried to get me to and failed. Now they just don’t bother.
Random Comments about Dr. Salaita
He seems pretty stressed to me. Of course, I pray for him all the time. He’s not in lab much these days, because he’s busy writing and doing things. It’s lonely when professors aren’t there. I’ve always felt like that. Nina says she knows what I mean. It’s just feels comfier when they’re in their offices. All feels right with the world. I don’t know why.
It’s amusing to me that just now when he’s most busy, is also when I’m most wanting to talk to him – it doesn’t really matter about what either. I feel as if I have a “desire to talk to Khalid” meter that gets filled upon talking and decreases the longer I don’t. These days it drops so much faster than usual, meaning that really, I’m always wanting to talk to him, whether I have something to say or not. Though in general, this has always been true. It’s just gotten a lot worse lately. I can’t really decide. It’s gotten a lot worse, but I’ve also gotten so much more peaceful than I was, so that maybe it balances out.
I think perhaps I’m feeling like this because I’m freaking out about leaving and maybe for lots of reasons – who knows, who knows? Well, one can’t have everything one wants. I’ve gotten to incredibly like Khalid. I always prefer to be around him if I can. I’d even be happy to listen to him talk for hours and not say anything.
Also amusingly, whenever I want to talk to anyone this much, my capacity for speech decreases in direct proportion, so as to make any real conversation impossible. I think I’ve said this before. The only things that come to mind are bare facts that don’t take at all long to say. It’s somewhat hilarious, really.
Today, I felt a lot better in general, because I had prayed about things. I’ve found that whenever I want to talk to anyone like this or am looking forward to something that much, talking or whatever it is never really will satisfy me anyway. It’s the Lord I really need. The other is just a nice bonus.
It’d be really cool if I could find a way someday, when I have no obligations, to monopolize Khalid for 2-3 hours talking about anything – not that I’d do that, because that would be mean – but I feel like, at this point, that much talking is about what it would take to fill my “satisfied with talking” meter. It’s not only amount though. Also, frequency. It’s a complicated system.
Khalid came in to lab today for a bit to ask some people stuff. It was nice to see him, even if I couldn’t talk to him.
I really don’t know how I’m going to survive rotating out. It brings on a meltdown whenever I think about it, so I try not to. I’m going to miss all the lab peoples and especially Khalid so incredibly much, there are no words. Of course I’ll still come up and try to visit, but it’s not the same. I hope Khalid won’t mind if I bother him occasionally, when I’m not officially there anymore. I’ve been plotting plots of ways to stay in some kind of touch. I hope some of them work out.
This weekend, John and I are going to try to go to Gigabytes Cafe and hang out with Daniel Stably, playing Warmachine. They're having a Convergence release event - a new interesting robot-like faction. Also John's brother Matt wants to eat a birthday dinner. His birthday was this past Wednesday. This weekend is already filling up. At least it's with good things. Hopefully on Sunday I can do nothing. That would be nice.