Monday, March 28, 2016

And the MVP is IPC I62D....

My lab partners and I showed up to the first office hours for Mod 1 with practically nothing put together, which was supposed to be okay, but it just felt like we were the only unprepared ones. I think out of the 2.5 hours we were there we spent 20 mins being skeptical about those orange PB & J cracker sandwiches, 40 min trying to format on Google Slides before giving up and using powerpoint, 40 min talking about planning to talk about writing the project, 20 min looking at terrifying Snapchat face swaps, 20 min deleting the 30 dropbox versions we accidentally saved by editing on separate computers, and 10 min actually writing something useful.  

One of the hardest parts for our group was learning how to write about an experiment that didn’t go the way we hypothesized. We spent a good half hour staring at our implications section with the single bullet “This protein is useless #MVP (most valueless protein)”; writing about failure (that may be a tad harsh) usually isn’t the science you see in journals.  But don't get discouraged if your experiment didn't work the way you expected, results are results and its more important to write about it well than anything else. You could have perfect results and still have a horrible paper or you could make a strong paper out of what you have (I guess you could also have perfect results and a great paper but lets not get crazy) 

Constructing that coherent story out of our data proved to be the most daunting task of the assignment, even more so then getting slides and figures in order, which I churned out in a 4-hour manic caffeine induced writing high. Tying things together and justifying why data was even being shown in the first place was something that got lost in our fury to make sure the font sizes on the axes of the figures were all Arial and the tiny pictures in the schematic were perfectly centered.

I think the difficult part of writing was rewriting homework assignments to make sure they actually fit together properly in the bigger picture. Writing it the first time is hard but finding a new way to write it better is even harder, especially when you get fixated on what you wrote in the first place. Ever wrote a fancy sentence that you’re so proud of you don’t want to change it even if its not exactly accurate? Well that was me, and it took a lot more effort than I care to admit to get started. For Mod 2, I definitely plan to organize thoughts and the general story before getting into specific details, rather than the other way around.

If I had one piece of advice to give it would be: Office hours are your your bestest friend...It's a way to dedicate specific time to write without (too many) distractions and if you have a question instead of struggling with it Noreen or Maxine are sitting right next to you (and there's snacks!). It's also practically guaranteed you won't fall asleep on your computer like me in Barker or Baker or the stud or anywhere else really. 

Because office hours (after the first one) were so productive, we had it put together and ready to go way earlier than for any major assignment in my entire life (an entire day before it was due!). And the feeling of satisfaction for having pulled 0 all-nighters and being confident of what we turned in instead of the usual panic attack at 4:59 pm when the internet breaks (happens every time) was unbeatable.  I know now for Mod 2 (and every other major assignment ever) how much more calm and stress-free life is when you don’t procrastinate- yes it took me 20 years to figure this out but it’s never too late!

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