In Full Swing

Sorry for the blogging hiatus! When I first started, the post-doc who supervises me warned that while days may be a bit slow at first, soon I will be incredibly busy. This has certainly held true, and while occasionally stressful, it means the days have been flying by.

The week of July 4, both of the post-docs I have worked under were on vacation until Friday and left me lists of work to accomplish in their absence. I don’t think they knew that the other was also giving me a full day’s worth of work most days, so I ended up with a lot of time-sensitive experiments to run simultaneously. I had to push one small task back a day, but overall was very proud of the amount I was able to finish both under pressure and completely independently.

Real-time PCR plate, hopefully ready to prove in the technical replicates that I’m definitely not bad at pipetting.

I also gave my first lab meeting presentation last Thursday, where I presented 10 minutes of data I’d been collecting over recent weeks. If I’d been asked to present in the beginning of the summer, I probably would have been extremely nervous. I don’t get stage fright and am used to presenting in classes, but something about showing my data to a group of far more knowledgeable individuals made me nervous about the accuracy of my slide titles, hypothesis framing, and whether to present actual p-values or simply “>” or “<” 0.05. However, over the course of the past seven weeks, I have become good friends with many of my coworkers. In my previous work experiences, I’ve become accustomed to having a coworker or two who I didn’t particularly care to work with, so I was pleasantly shocked to find that I truly get along well with every person in my lab. Our days are filled with long conversations, from debates about experimental design to discussions of the FIFA World Cup games. Even my PI, who could theoretically be very intimidating, has quickly become someone I strongly admire for not only his leadership capabilities but his perspective on life as shared in one of our weekly meetings. My presentation then became no more than a simple conversation about work with some friends.

I will be giving a final presentation for my fellowship program on August 17, which I am a bit nervous for since I have gotten variable results from my experiments and am now trying to determine whether this phenotype is a real thing worth pursuing anymore. My lab has been very supportive, scheduling practice presentations for me closer to that date, so I hope that I will be able to do our hard work justice and represent one of the only Drosophila labs in my program well.

Besides my internship, I have been working furiously on secondary applications for medical school and riding my horse after work. My days at work usually end around 5 and allow me half an hour to grab food before heading off to ride and clean stalls, which I generally finish at 9. By the end of the day, I don’t feel game to write many essays, so I’ve begun to transition to waking up two hours earlier, around 6am, to head to the lab and write until my post-doc shows up. Now let’s hope I’ll keep it up for more than a few days!

One thought on “In Full Swing

  • July 25, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Hi Hailee. Thanks for sharing. No need to apologize for the blogging hiatus! Prioritizing tasks is all a part of the process when balancing work, med school applications, presentations, and a personal life. I am glad to hear that you have had a chance to experience that balance during your fellowship. You seem very comfortable in your work and I am sure you will do very well on your presentation. It is evident that your team wants to be successful as they have worked prep sessions into your routine as you get closer to the big day. Lastly, I think it is wonderful that you have developed a closeness with your teammates. You will spend a lot of time with your coworkers throughout your professional life. Working in a place where you truly value your colleagues is an important cultural aspect to consider at any point of your career. Keep up the great work and I can not wait to hear about your presentation. – Jake


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