A little back story:
When I was in undergrad, I dont think I totally understood how 'grad school' worked. I was like 'How the hell do kids pick labs? How do you KNOW what you want to do? How do you decide on a thesis? I might love virology, but how do you decide 'I wanna spend 5 years studying the evolution of the vpu viroporin in Subtype C HIV-1'???
I didnt know that most students entering graduate school (well, at least at my uni) rotate through a few labs during the first year of school to decide where they fit the best, and which kinds of research they really enjoy. Then the principle investigator of that lab helps you decide what your project should be, and the more you learn, the more questions and potential solutions just start coming to you naturally.
Well, I ended up not needing to rotate-- Bossman decided I was worth keeping around :P But we still have rotating students coming into the laboratory.
Unless he does something really bad, I want to keep our current one.
Because hes good luck*.
I have been banging my head against the wall at work for the past 8 months trying to get an assay to work. It MUST work for me to move forward with my experiments. So I try changing one little thing, hope the assay works, it doesnt. Change something else, hope the assay workds, it doesnt. Try something else. Something else. Something else... I also didnt realize in undergrad how frequently shit just doesnt work in the lab... *sigh*
So today I walked into the flow cytometry facility, fully expecting my latest attempt to fail. Im not exaggerating-- though I am usually obnoxiously optimistic, this particular assay was killing me.
I put on the samples that always work. "Oooh yay. They worked. Fantastic. Hey... they worked a little better..." and I fought like mad not to get my hopes up. Put on a sample that never worked... It was perfect. PERFECT. Put on a few more samples that never worked... BEAUTIFUL.
I cried a little.
Ran like a little kid up to the lab, clutching my data, screaming at my committee members as I ran past their offices "I HAVE DAAAATA!! I HAVE DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATAAAAAAA!!!!"
Bright red and a little sweaty, I slammed my results on Bossmans desk. "THREE great pieces of data today!!!!" he beamed back.
Our post doc got some great data today, as did the new rotating grad student.
Now, I didnt think rotating grad students little project worked. I had done the exact same procedure, another grad student in the lab has done the exact same procedure, post doc has done the exact same procedure, and we all just got a hand full of positive colonies.
Rotating grad student had a whole plate, hundreds of colonies, so in my head I was thinking "Aw, poor kid got all wild-type. Oh well, he can try again." NUH UH! Dude got ALLLLLL properly mutated plasmids!
The new rotating grad student is lucky.
If he decides to go to another lab, Im sawing off his foot.
*I told you all Im wooish. Dont you try to act surprised!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
A little back story: