Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Picking Myself Up and Brushing Off The Dust: New Day, New Attitude

I think that of all the days I've been here, this has been one of the most difficult morning to get up. I woke up after about half an hour of snoozing until I positioned myself into some stretching positions to help awaken myself. Though I felt no different, I proceeded to take a shower and then breakfast with the group. I tried the oatmeal today, which tasted a lot different from the time when they had no brown sugar and raisins. The morning was going pretty well, other than that fact that I suppose an afternoon would help me get more sleep and all, but in either case, it was go time once again.

Now this title might be misleading in this upcoming paragraph, but just hang on. You'll see how things can get better. I'm not not all that into thinking that you can change your attitude in a heartbeat, but today has showed me that it (somewhat) can. But first, let me go through the lab with you.

It was the same old usual walk up the stairs, into the building, down to the lab floor, and into the lab itself. Jody and Heidi prepped everything as we all put on our appropriate attire- our lab coats, lab glasses, and gloves. I sat down waiting for the next set of protocols to follow (not to be confused with an actual protocol from our notebook; that's something else), knowing that I was already at a heavy timely disadvantage. As soon as she finished overviewing today's procedures, I immediately got to work on what I knew I could do, without thinking about anything else that would stress me out. Jody talked to Kathy, who was very kind to come over and take re-draw my blood for my lab work (Thanks Cathy! I was finally able to start off on a clean slate and I appreciate it very much and thank you for it). We got it all done very briefly and I continued to work on those plasmids from last week, using a matrix (table) to decide which combinations
My second draw of blood. Thank God! Now I can now get to work with
it, and this time, hopefully, obtain an actual result!
of liquids (enzymes, DNA, buffer, H2O) I'd combine. Little did I know that I was following the wrong matrix and abruptly blurted out a couple things out of anger and frustration. I was terribly upset that first thing in the lab on a new day, I was already set on a course to failure and disappointment. I tried to take some breaths here and there, and subsequently found that I wasn't done with my lab work just yet (I never quit on it in the first place, for that matter). I was still able to set myself on a right track with all the combining of the liquids and such; it only took some definite concentration and self-assurance that I could still do this. I managed. It wasn't smooth sailing from then on, though, the following lab just did not carry as much of a burden on me as it did with all prior frustration from mistakes. Anyway, I worked through it and was able to get some multi-tasking in as I began to start up on Protocol 2 (from the notebook) again, which was Monday's work. Looking back, it actually went pretty well, with the exception of being afraid i was going to somehow screw it up once more. Before I knew it, everyone began to leave and I once again knew that it was going to be the same thing today- stay for a minimum of an additional hour just trying to stay afloat in class. In the end, I was able to get towards the last part of the plasmid (liquid combining work) and subsequent electrophoresis work, which everyone else either already finished or was finishing in class). I'll be honest to admit that I minded being last for like the millionth consecutive time, but still I stayed and ended today's lab with preparing to finish two-days-ago work tomorrow as well as some additional time talking to Jody about the Pre-Quiz. Everything seemed to be working out well and I was relieved that I was done for the day (with lab work...).

Getting some work done
Lunch was like it has been this second half of the course or so. I ate some fish, veggies, macaroni and cheese, and a plum, a decent tasting meal. I made it to the dorm where I fall back on the bed and experienced how good it felt to just lie on your back after another day in the lab. Sleeping 8 hours with all the checking-in regulations and picture uploading and inserting is an issue, so a sleepy me knocked out for 20 minutes... which turned into half an hour, which turned to just over an hour of napping. While I was napping, I received a quick motivational text from my sis (I know you're reading this, thank you!), but after waking up and feeling, quite surprisingly, refreshed, my attitude changed. I rolled up to heavy curtain, and let positive vibes flow in. I immediately got to work on my research, which was surprisingly not very difficult to understand. I developed thoughts together and from there, the day has been going smoothly. I'm currently writing this blog to not have to worry about it later tonight, but instead, use it almost as way of expression and alleviating whatever I may have to/want to say about the day and experiences I've encountered thus far. There's definitely that input, but I'm definitely feeling productive right now, and I can happily say that's an accomplishment for me. Up next is more research, dinner, and the workshop which I believe will held by Kisa Takesue. I'm looking forward to it, but I'll have you caught up with how that goes in the next paragraphs after I get through the activities themselves.

So I'm finally back from dinner and the activity. The activity actually took a while. There were about 40 students, much less than I expected, but it went pretty well. We broke off into groups and did a cool icebreakers where each of the 4 groups had to sing along to a part and then come together to combine each of the group's part and make it one song. We then went over an activity where we expressed our concerns here so far regarding being minorities. There were definitely connections as many of us could relate to things here and there. In all, it was interesting, and I was able to speak with Manuel as well as Jessica and Stanley (all rising juniors) regarding applications and their experience. There were some things here and there that I got from them, but then again you can never get enough help and advice before going diving into applications ans the entire college process in general.

While speaking to Manuel, Jessica, and Stanley, Paul, a Summer@Brown student as well, was there too. I had seen him before in one of the time management sessions, but never really talked to him. Since we were both heading to the Keeney, we talked about colleges, including the cohort's visits at the beginning of this trip, and just took the time to have a chill conversation before getting back to work on our finals and such.

After the session with the Partner Scholarship Program
I'm currently in my dorm ending tonight's blog on a better note that some of the previous days. I'm all set for blogging today, so up next on the to do list- STUDYING & WRITING A CONCISE SUMMARY!

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