When you’re given a timeline with harsh deadlines, it feels as if all the responsibilities on your back suddenly got heavier. Your to-do list grows. You fit small errands in between other errands that have waiting periods. You plan out every ten minutes of your day to be as time efficient as possible. With so much to juggle, it’s pretty simple to understand how easy it is to f*ck up or to mentally break down.
Over the course of the past few weeks, the lab has been bustling. Everybody has been on edge, working hard and to time’s limit to ensure that they produce the best possible results. Though time efficient and productive, I have noticed that everyone’s spirits are not as lively as they usually are. Sentences were terse and greetings were quick glances. Everyone was just so busy.
And to be completely honest, it kicked me into a go-go-GO mode. In my previous post, I mentioned how I make mental To-Do lists in order to prepare myself for each action and experiment. Though it helped to kick everything into gear, I still found myself burdened. With groans and long exasperated sighs as the lab’s daily music, the days seemed dreadful. “There’s always something to do” one graduate student would remark. And true as that may well be, actions didn’t mean results – or at least good results. This was the most exasperating. It took months to optimize a single protocol – altering and changing as many factors as possible for the perfect assay. There was seemingly nothing to expect because we just did not know what to expect.
Every once in a while, when there’s a lull in our activities when there’s a lull in our mental checklists, we would just sit down and reconvene. As we remind each other why we were sitting there. It’s so easy to forget the reason why we began this long arduous journey. But it was the one thing that put us in the same room together – sheer curiosity. So we sat there as we exuded our negative energy about work. And we sat there as we reminisced about the beauty of science, despite the difficulty of understanding it.