Monday, April 18, 2016

Struggle for The Perfect Day

I made myself one promise when I started my Mod 2 report: I would not be working on my research article on Monday, the day it was due.

It was actually during a moment that I was procrastinating by checking the weather forecast on my phone. My app had indicated with a bright sun and blue skies that Monday would be 70 degrees. Immediately I had pictured myself laying outside, soaking up the rays from the sun and completely enjoying the warm breeze. 

However, the thought of sunbathing abruptly triggered my memory of the 20.109 lecture that mentioned NER was a DNA repair pathway responsible for repairing thymine dimers which were induced by UV radiation from the sun. 

This also reminded me my 20.109 Mod 2 report, the assignment that I was currently procrastinating, was due on Monday at 5 pm sharp. 

My picturesque vision of blue skies with fluffy white clouds and the warmth of the sun kissing my skin had morphed into a cruel image of a defeated version of myself, hunched in front of my laptop screen, fingertips slowly tapping across the keyboard, and staring begrudgingly out the window at the bright, sunny landscape that my other classmates occupied. 


No, that was not going to be me. I was not going to spend such an amazingly beautiful day inside of the Stata center, sipping weak vendor machine coffee, and feeling completely miserable and stressed about my Mod 2 report. This was the promise I made to myself. 

So, I began the heavy work on my paper starting last Thursday. I raced through the methods, polished my introduction, and even finished my least favorite part to write for a paper, the abstract. It seemed like everything was moving along smoothly. I had some figures and a couple of results subsections finished from previous homework assignments and I really enjoyed writing the discussion section from the Mod 1 protein summary (disclaimer, I no longer enjoy writing the discussion section). 

The next three days I would spend a grand total of about 32 hours creating figures, manipulating data, calculating statistical significance, calculating statistical significance again, and again, deciding what results I wanted to mention, what conclusions I wanted to discuss. Most of these hours were spent either in Lobdell of the student center with a large Dunkin' Donuts coffee or sitting at the hightop of the Stata cafe sipping a free coffee courtesy of whoever sets up free coffee on the weekends. 

Of course, there were a few bumps in my journey to complete my paper in time: volleyball game (it was super fun!), 7.05 pset (waiting until Thursday night is a bad idea. 0 out of 10, do not recommend.), personal struggles (resulted in a night of sobbing with an awesome friend), and people who didn't have respect for those who actually have work over the long weekend and decided to turn off the lights and watch a movie without having the courtesy to ask if it was okay (if you can't tell, I'm quite salty about this). 

However, after a couple long nights of isolating myself to the mini lounge, this beautifully awful paper was finished at 1:30  am on Sunday night (Yes, I know it's technically Monday, but by my standards, the next day doesn't start until 2 am.). 

I wish I could tell you that Monday was 70 degrees. I wish I could also tell you that I spent my lovely open day outside, playing frisbee or laying in the grass. However, the reality was that the high was 62 degrees and that I had spent 5 1/2 hours in lab (but I really enjoy lab so it was totally cool). 

Despite not achieving the perfect Monday I had wanted, I had reached my goal of finishing my paper early and the amount of relief I had felt from that accomplishment was enough to make up for my not-so-perfect Monday. 

I would like to thank two people in particular for helping me get through this: Leslie McClain and Jose Rosa. 

Leslie had answered every single question I asked her (even the one when I asked her to let me into 56-302 when I was actually a whole day early for office hours). Thank you so much Leslie for always making yourself available and answering my emails even though you were probably super busy!

Jose is a friend of mine and he spent a couple of nights with me in the mini lounge, allowing me not to go insane from my self inflicted isolation. Although I know it was mostly because he was bored, I still appreciate the fact that he stopped by, asked how my progress was on my paper, and if there was anything he could do to help. 


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