This was a frustrating week. Even though my classes this term are really interesting and I’m learning a bunch, trying to schedule around them to actually do research seemed extra difficult this week.
First, we got not frog embryos either Tuesday or Wednesday. This basically meant no new experiments because right now there’s almost nothing I can do without embryos.
Second, my Western Blot (a technique to detect protein in your sample) failed. Western Blots are notoriously obnoxious and difficult to do well. And I at least have an idea of what went wrong. But I spent hours on that this week, so it’s frustrating to have to do it all over again next week.
Third, my cultures (spinal cord neurons plated on a slide and stained with immunocytochemistry) got contaminated, so they were covered with bacteria (which might have been okay except that the bacteria autofluoresced [meaning they glowed green even though they shouldn’t have] so I couldn’t get any pictures that were good enough to extract useful information from.
But this is all part of science. It happens. And at least for everything that went wrong, we identified the possible problem and will fix it for next week.
And this is also why it’s nice to have things outside lab to look forward to. So tonight I have a Hip Hop dance class that I’ve been looking forward to for a few weeks! And I’ll be teaching a West Coast Swing lesson next Wednesday, so I can plan that more this weekend. It can be nice to have an excuse to just call it quits for the weekend and say, “You know what, I’ll get back to that on Monday.” And when I come back to it, I will hopefully be newly energized. I already have a plan of attack and should be able to get everything done (which actually means I’ll get at most half of it done, but yay for progress!).
And it wasn’t as if the whole week was lost. I learned how to do a Western Blot, so repeating it will be much faster. I’ve figured out a better approach to my culture experiments, so that should be far more successful. And I’m much better at handling the frogs (though I still feel bad for taking them out of their cozy tanks, but boy am I glad I don’t work with mice).
This weekend is also a recruiting weekend for my program! We have about 12 (I think?) people here interviewing, and it’s kind of nice after this week to spend time telling people about all the things I love about the program and my lab and being in grad school. It helps remind me that even though part of me wishes I had stayed home all week watching Netflix, I actually really enjoy what I do and am really excited to get back to it, full steam ahead, next week.
TGIF, and I hope your weekend is as good as mine is shaping up to be!