Falalalalalalalala, the calm before the 2016 storm

The festive season is definitely upon us. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays everyone. I am back in Canada for the holidays but before I go on to sip my mulled wine and munch on mince pies, I will take some time to write about the last month of PhD life. Enjoy the dark picture of the main library in George Square where students were frantically studying for their December exams. I still cannot get over how early it gets dark!

December lab work
December is a difficult month for experiments, especially for someone like me who goes home for the holidays. Everything has to be planned perfectly so you can still get everything done, but also so that you don’t start new experiments that you can’t finish before you’re off on holiday. A lot of people have that part of the equation down pat. The harder part is trying to orchestrate everything so flawlessly so that you have experiments to come back to in January. It can take a long time to get things up and running again, so if you can arrange to have cells/flies/slides/tissue waiting for you upon your return, do it! That way while everyone is still attempting to get their act together in January, you will be able to use all the lab equipment that you normally have to wait your turn for i.e. PCR machine, shaker, hood, microscope… Well that is my plan anyway, hopefully the lab fairy doesn’t spoil anything.

New Year Resolutions

-Finish projects!
I have compiled a list of all the experiments I need to do and there are a lot (about 8 projects). I am starting a new project in January, because when I was optimising my transfections last month, I found some unexpected but promising results. Before I focus all my attention onto this new exciting project that is going to require a lot of background reading and cloning plasmids, I want to finish gathering data for all my other projects! I need to be very efficient and productive in this new year.

-Stay on top of things
I must admit that my hard drive currently contains at least 3 data sets comprising about 50 timetraces and some fixed-cell immunofluorescence staining that have yet to be analysed. I know, I have fallen behind in my analysis! To be honest, I am behind in all my reading as well… I have a pile of papers on my desk that I need to read and summarise. But that will all change in 2016. I will do my analysis in the comfort of my own home before going back to the lab. And I will start this after I finish watching all my Christmas movies hehe (not quite productive procrastination, let’s call it a well-deserved break).

-Do more yoga
In order to be as productive as possible, you need to be in top shape, physically and mentally. It calms me. Have you ever lied in savasana for 5 minutes listening to your own breath in time with gongs? It is wonderfully relaxing.

-Start writing my thesis
GULP. Yes I mentioned the t-word. The word that can make even the toughest PhD student quiver in their lab coat. Because I have so many projects going on, I should definitely start compiling what I have. Well, the results section. At least the figures. Okay what if I just settle on a colour scheme?

 

On that note and with the wonderful smell of Christmas pasties filling up my kitchen, I’m off to do more baking! I wish you all a successful and happy 2016!