Posted by: unlikelygrad | September 23, 2010

what I’ve learned 3: I haven’t made enough mistakes yet

If you were to ask me how my research is going, I’d honestly have to say it is going terribly. I can’t seem to get reproducible results; I keep finding things that are interfering with getting proper measurements; nothing works the way it’s supposed to.

It is hard to keep my spirits up under these conditions, even when my advisor tells me this is normal for a lab-newbie. The other day, I had to email former labmate T about something he’d done for his thesis work, and I mentioned what I was going through.

Of course, he replied, everyone goes through that. I’m not sure when things start to turn around, but they do. Sometimes I think you have to make every possible mistake before you can start actually getting results.

So that’s where I am right now–I still haven’t made enough mistakes yet.

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Responses

  1. Sometimes I think you have to make every possible mistake before you can start actually getting results.

    THIS! Did I ever tell you about the time I tried to evaporate aluminum…and pumped everything down and turned up the current…and then remembered I hadn’t put any aluminum in the basket? XD Some mistakes are so stupid you just have to laugh them off.

    • There are definitely things I laugh at. Several times I’ve wondered why I was getting a UV spectrum w/o peaks, and then I realized that I’d forgotten to turn on the lamp…

      It’s the other things that get to me. The things which even my advisor didn’t realize would affect results, that even she isn’t sure how to counter. (Sometimes she has ideas that make things worse.) I’ve spent weeks figuring out this latest one, and field season is rapidly running out.


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