2.26.15, Thursday, Crazy day of trying to print our lab posters
Friday / Weekend Activities: We tour students! We got our new student mentoree assignments this afternoon. Students arrive around 3:30 for the poster session, which I'm helping set up. Before then, I'll be drafting a protocol for Sam to do an experiment that afternoon and working on studying virology and writing up thoughts to review an article Khalid gave to me to review. There's a fancy dinner in the evening for the new students that we will all attend. Then, there is bowling, for faculty and students. On Saturday, there are more events for faculty / students until mid-afternoon. Afterward, I will be finishing the review thoughts, working on a presentation for next Tuesday in lab meeting and *attempting* to work on Evangelista's physical chemistry cume, due Monday. That is what I'll be up to for a while!
2.25.15, Wednesday, Finished the Salaita Lab Poster! Jad visits us!
Tonight, I'm peeking into SW:TOR and the Legion website - my old gaming buddies. I really miss them so wanted to say hi. I'm smiling right now, happy to have waved / highfived some of them in the digital world. I never forget about them.
2.23.15, Monday, Constructing new DNA substrates
Tomorrow, there is lab meeting and I'll be setting up an experiment for my student Sam to work on while I finish putting together a poster for our lab for recruitment weekend this Friday / Saturday.
The seminar this evening was about self-healing and deconstructing materials - how to make materials that would repair themselves when they were put under stress. On the way home, I listened to Dominic O'Brien's memory book "Quantum Memory," and he talked about how to remember names / faces. Fantastic! It sounded doable. I can't wait to practice!
2.8.15, Sunday, I found my cartoon alter ego
2.4.15, Wednesday, Our RNA isn't degraded!!
Sam ran a gel by himself. While I studied, my student Sam worked on running an SDS-PAGE gel to check RNA degradation. He did it all! At 5 pm while the gel was running, my mind was so numb from virus studying that I gave up and instead talked to him about future experiments, showed him how to order DNA on IDT website, and got his thoughts designing a new DNA / RNA substrate for our enzyme. That was *way* more fun.
Good result!! Finally, we imaged the gel in Rollins on the Typhoon instrument. TO MY EVERLASTING JOY - THE RNA IS NOT DEGRADED!! *Praise the Lord* *collapse to knees in thanks* I've spent a month trying to figure out the why of RNA degradation before, and I was expecting a bad result, but this experiment worked so beautifully. It showed us exactly which buffer was degrading our RNA. And we didn't even have any RNA inhibitors in the mix! I cannot express my happiness.
Virology test tomorrow. Wish me luck!
What is going on in near future? On Friday, Sam and I talk with Khalid about our work. After test, I'm designing the new substrate for our enzyme to see if it's more efficient. Meanwhile, I'll slowly be working my way into trying to figure out mammalian cell expression - a new field for me.
2.3.15, Tuesday, Schedule for the rest of grad school
I am tired of panicking, and trying to do too many things at once. I'm SO mad, in fact, that I've decided enough is enough, and to lay down the law. The following below is a checklist for daily, weekly and Fridays that I've PINNED ABOVE MY COMPUTER. If I don't finish it, I don't go home. It's a simple thing, really.
I've done this kind of thing in fits and starts before. Some of these I actually do consistently. Now I just need to put them all together and be consistent. My main problem has been that I forget what I had decided. Now I won't forget. For the rest of grad school, I will do these things. It's gotten serious. If the flexible times don't work for the daily items, I will schedule them specifically. It is important. One cannot try to read 5-6 papers at the same time. You just have to be REALLY CONSISTENT. Slow and steady wins the race. Well. Here goes. BAM! UNSTOPPABLE TANK MODE!
8 – 9 AM VIROLOGY, 15 MIN BOOK / 45 MIN NOTES (replace on Friday with reading background info for experimental techniques being used or reading an instrument manual - i.e. know the why behind the protocol. After spring semester, this slot will be taken up by a textbook of choice - probably next is Cell Bio.)
DAILY PAPER – DID YOU READ IT? (Grad student Daniel Stabley told me as a 1st year that the top 10% of grad students will read a paper a day. I want to be in that top percent.)
AMINO ACIDS – 10 MIN STUDY (I've almost mastered the amino acids structures. This study is to make sure it stays that way, and I continually remember their abbreviations and pKa's.)
FEEDLY – 10 MIN SKIM (I'm now following the RSS feed of a large number of journals. By skimming them, I can keep up with topics / subjects that are published. This skill is said to be absolutely essential for all grad students / professors to keep up with their fields.)
MONDAY 4 PM SEMINAR (Just so I don't go brainless and forget this required seminar.)
REVIEW NOTES AFTER CLASS, T/TH (Always smart. Was something I did in college. Why not now?)
TAKE THE CUME (Two more points left to go!)
DID YOU READ A PAPER OUTSIDE FIELD? (I want to read broadly.)
UPDATE TABLE OF CONTENTS (I have a table of contents for my lab notebook, with comments, and page numbers listing important points. I've kept doing this since I've started so far, per the advice of a post-doc friend.)
REVIEW PAPERS READ – 30 MIN (This is so that I don't forget what I read during the week.)
2.2.15, Monday, Re-grouping
Since I've kind of been stymied on both fronts - trying to do mammalian expression and E.coli expression with my new protein, the new plan is to design a different substrate that I can test on my original enzyme, to see if it is any more active. While I'm doing that, I will be reading up on how to do the protein expressions. This way, I can be doing something AND reading, which I think is important.
So from last week I learned that it's important not to work in "panic mode." I was getting stressed out over not being able to get stuff done, but it's not worth it. I'm still working back in some sleep, so this short post is all I can write tonight. Until next time!