Friday, 13 June 2014

Time to see what I can do

I'm back in Christchurch, and after a couple of mad days (which I had planned to spend in the lab but ended up spending mostly in coffee houses) I had a productive one yesterday. Half of it was spent psyching myself up to go into the lab. The other half was spent in the lab. Today I returned to the lab to continue.

I don't find lab work difficult. Once obedience and hand-eye coordination was developed, a child
 could be instructed to do what I have done over the past couple of days. But I have a deep fear of beginning molecular work. I think it stems from my undergrad days, when our lecturers taught us statistics and molecular techniques as though they were something horrible that nobody understands, but we had to do them, so let's just get it over and done with. Which is completely untrue - they're both fun and satisfying.

Anyway, my samples are in the thermocycler (a small oven that is programmed to heat, cool, and reheat samples over a couple of hours). Hopefully amplifying the DNA from spiders I have collected. I am thinking this first set of samples won't work, but what I want to see is why they don't work and from there I can go about fixing things.

Now I have my samples, I have unlimited science to do with them. The only limits in fact are my own human-ness: laziness, distractability, stupidity, ignorance, laziness, and laziness. If I work hard enough, and think smartly enough, there isn't really any limit to what I can accomplish in the next 2 years and 4 months. My undergrad degree was not a test of my skills. I was a bit above average the whole time, not because I didn't work hard or was too stupid, but because I had to do all kinds of things that didn't interest me. I had to work harder on the things that were boring, which meant I didn't have time to excel on the fun things. But now I do. This is my project, and I have so much time to work on it, and it has a structure which can be flexible and I am being encouraged to do what I really really want to do anyway - it's like being a horse, and suddenly the racetrack is taken away, and all I have is an open field in front of me to run as hard and fast as I want and discover whether I'm a quarter horse or a Shetland pony.

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