Saturday, August 25, 2007

Slightly competent

Thus far, I've been feeling somewhat incompetent in the lab. I used to be really, really good in the lab; it was one of the main reasons I kept taking science courses in undergrad after I fulfilled my med school requirements. One summer I even did organic chemistry research, cultivating advanced skills like distilling solutions under vacuum and setting up and working with a Schlenk line. However, over the past three years, I apparently lost those skills. The first time I tried to pipette some media onto a dish of cells, my hands shook and I ended up mixing bubbles into the media. The cells lived, but I was embarrassed. I quickly relearned the basic skills, but I still don't know where things are in the lab. I have to ask where things like 50 ml tubes, 100% ethanol, and cell culture plates are.

Yesterday, I was making up EDTA (a solution that we use to decalcify the bone samples so that we can make slides out of them) when I realized that I was not the weakest person in the lab. We have an orthopedic fellow who is working on his research in the orthopedic surgery lab (I also work in the Reproductive Biology lab - it's a weird combination). He's very nice and clearly very smart, but he really doesn't know his way around a lab. I overheard him asking a grad student what it means to balance a centrifuge, and he confessed to me that he had no idea how to work a pipette. By the time that I was showing him how to use a stir bar and explaining how it works, I felt better. Not because he's struggling, but because it means that this is what the grad students have to put up with. They'd been telling me that I was doing fine, that I wasn't a burden, but I couldn't help feeling like I was slowing other people down with my ignorance. I actually am doing well. I'm not doing well for a Ph.D. student, but I'm doing well for an M.D. student, and that's good enough for me.

The Iris cardigan will probably end up a cardigan. I'm past my waist now with about a ball and a half left, so I think I'll make it. I'm adding some subtle waist shaping as I feel like it, which usually works out pretty well but isn't reproducible. I'm hoping to finish in the next week or so.

In other knitting news, there are currently 2,236 people ahead of me in line for a Ravelry login. I actually visited the site and chose not to get a login when it was brandbrandnew. I am a moron. Now I wait impatiently and hear other bloggers talk about all the time they spend there. I need to get a login while I'm still on research so I have time to play with it. Sigh... At least I'm not one of the 16,160 people behind me.

1 comment:

E/M said...

Competent in the lab, but what about those kitten picture posting skills? Shouldn't we be practicing those?