Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It's Called Learning

It's okay to be clueless. It's called learning,

Walking into this class I was clueless. I have an incredible background knowledge bank, with 0 applications. Sure I had heard the words "Hill coefficient, plasmid, cell culture, etc," but in practice I was no where. So lab day 1, I walked in and thought how incredibly in over my head I was. However, through some magic I survived Mod 1 and here we all are.

What was I clueless about?
To try to be a little more specific than everything, here are the major things I have learned.

Protocols are awesome. When you're utterly clueless, if you have a protocol, it's all good. It's a bioengineering recipe. So long as you follow that, you can survive every day of lab, and there is that much less stress. This rule also applied to my UROP, which I have been also needed guidance here and there, and the protocols are key.

Reading scientific papers doesn't have to suck. I learned that you can't just half-read the paper, and not really think it through. As long as you digest the abstract of the paper, the rest will make a lot of sense. But if you just ignore the things that don't make sense, the rest of the paper won't either. As long as the paper isn't specifically required, then you probably can find one that interests you, which makes it all the better.

The homework assignments are extremely helpful. Not a single one has been a waste of time so far, all of them needed down the road. So it is incredibly important to not lose them when you get it back. I briefly misplaced my methods draft edits, and that caused a world of panic for the rewrite. However, the assignments do an amazing job of breaking up the work, so when it came to the final summary, it wasn't all that bad.

Teammates and partners. If there is one way to really get work done, it's by not being alone. The best resource to have is someone in the exact same situation as you. My lab partner, Yasemin, and two other WF'ers, Ada and Ann, all had the same mutation for Mod 1. This was incredibly nice for doing the final summary, as we could easily bounce ideas off of eachother as far as what is useful and what the results mean. Also, sometimes a partner may have gotten better data than you- and that can make your report 100x better.

The classic: Procrastination. There are a million forms of it, and I have yet to find a good form. From doing laundry, to watching a TV show, justifying your reason for not doing the assignments is terrible. I am currently watching House on netflix. Terrible decision, and I made it on my way back from class- the classic just one episode. However, here are two nice quotes I got from it, one should be how ethics is clarified for bioengineers, the second was clearly related to this blog post because of the shoutout to a centrifuge.

"As long as you're trying to be good, you can do whatever you want"
"It's a really sad thing; an uncalibrated centrifuge"

Anyways, if I were to get the assignments done first- I would probably feel a lot better about watching House. However, I have yet to learn this amazing decision making process, so maybe that can be an improvement for Mod 2, or Mod 3... or whenever I get around to it.

And since everyone seems to have some picture to include, here's what google had to say about "funny science"

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