Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Sciencetale (like a fairytale, but not really)...

Once upon a time, there was a princess wannabe (I really am a princess, they just haven't figured it out yet), who came upon a dragon called Mod 2.

Journal club was the first time I had spoken in front of a large group of people since the summer and the first time I'd ever presented work I hadn't done. It was daunting because at every turn, I wanted to say "I" or "we" because that's what they teach you in high school for the science fair - make sure your judge knows how much of the work was done yourself. Unfortunately for journal club, that was none. It was tough learning what someone else did and trying to get in their minds. I tried testing out my psychic abilities to see if I could figure out their logic and predict what they did next. It appears I didn't make it out of the psychic academy :( 

I read the paper. And I read it again. And again and again and again. (Not again, then I couldn't stand to read more about high-throughput screening, sorry Goglia). I presented. And then it came time to watch the presentation. I had a nice solid break between presenting and watching that I had basically pushed it out of mind. Journal club? What journal club? Things turned out okay in the end - I got some very helpful feedback that'll help make me into a better scientist but I don't think I've recovered from having to watch myself and I really hope that file gets deleted so that posterity can be saved from that D:

Just when I thought Mod 2 couldn't get more intimidating, the report came along...(dun dun dun).
Writing can sometimes be a challenge. Going into my mod 2 report, I felt a lot like Spongebob writing his essay for boating school - I really didn't know where to start. 

I had the homework from class that I put together - a few bits and pieces of the report. But how to put everything together? How was I supposed to make a story? I remember doing the analysis to determine NHEJ repair efficiency and opening the spreadsheet and being lowkey (read: highkey) overwhelmed by the volume of numbers on there. 

I felt like as I wrote my report, the story I wanted to tell kept changing. I'd begin writing about what my results told me and then as I thought about it, it slowly made more sense and then I started thinking about it differently, and before I knew it, I had a NEW best-seller about NHEJ to write. 

So I wrote a nice generic story until I was able to decide what direction I wanted to take with my report. I was also out of town this past weekend for a Camp Kesem retreat which was super packed with activities (which meant using my 2am inspiration to write my report :( ) and then volunteering at the marathon raising money for CK. So before I headed out to the wilderness (which actually turned out to be quite nice), I basically played 20 questions (times like 3) with Maxine, to figure out how to make this report sound good. I wrote a little by each day so when Sunday came around, only some editing and adding a beginning to my paper was left. Office hours helped me a ton! Before, I was very unsure if my story was coherent or made sense to someone besides myself (stream of consciousness??). But, everyone's help allowed me to craft my story such that it flowed well. From the protein engineering summary, I knew how important office hours were and I made sure to make the most of them on this especially busy weekend. And as you would have it...(*drumroll*)

It turned out okay in the end! Sometimes you just have to trust your instinct and not be afraid to get help when you need it! 

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