Why am I here?

As much as I may pretend otherwise, I am first and foremost a researcher. A thought crosses my mind, and off I go. I read constantly about everything. The internet gives me the power to learn a bit more about any information that is presented to me. The breadth of this information is crazy! I can find out so much about so many different things.

Of course, this isn’t anything new to anyone who lives in the here and now.

The tricky part is when there isn’t much written about whatever topic is being researched. Which leads us to the point of this blog. I have not always come across many blogs that deal with the personal things in which I am always interested. I maintain a rather large feedly account, and while there are some gems that discuss lots of relevant things, I can’t always find more than 3-5 perspectives on the issue of the moment.

And that’s the goal of this blog. I want to write about my experiences in graduate school as they happen, just in case I can provide something helpful to even one student that has the same concerns I do.

So some of the things I struggle with:

  • What am I going to do after graduate school? Should I just master out?
  • When should I think about having children?
  • Am I committed to having a science career?
  • How can I be a better mentor/teacher?
  • Are┬átunnel-vision interests really a problem?

Hopefully I can meet some people with similar challenges and they will share some tips. And maybe I can figure out the answers to some of these questions.

Time management for the supervisory role

Its not so easy when you have to manage someone else’s time effectively. I have spent the last several years learning how to manage myself. How many hours of sleep I need, what types of food help me think, and how long it takes me to complete certain tasks. Years I tell you. This knowledge did not come cheaply. Many mistakes and even a few missed obligations (of course prioritizing is a close cousin here), but I can now accomplish tasks in a timely manner without too much fuss.

Enter my new mentee, a junior undergrad. She seems bright, and seems to have lots of potential. However, she is lacking a bit of background for our lab. We have worked through a couple of protocols and she has generated some acceptable data, and so we have moved onto the next experiments.

My current challenge working with the student is planning out how long experiments will take. She has a limited schedule around her classes, and we cannot bite off more than she can chew since she only works every other day. This morning an experiment that should have taken 45-60 minutes (for a distracted graduate student) took her almost two hours. I don’t know how to handle this, except to keep optimistically planning experiments and try to minimize waste. Anyone have any strategies to help with this quandary?