Posted by: unlikelygrad | April 30, 2011

hidden treasure trove

This week I was so eager to procrastinate that I cleaned my desk. As I have written about before, I am a neat freak in lab but not at all in my office. To give you an idea about how seldom I clean my desk, one corner of the desktop was occupied by a box of unsorted stuff–that I brought with me from last year’s office!

I have to be very eager to procrastinate in order to actually clean my desk. And this week I really, really was–so much so that I not only sorted through the contents of the “mystery box”, but also (1) organized the desk drawers and (2) straightened up my book shelf.

Part of the latter task involved labeling all of my binders. Most of these are white binders holding old class notes–so all look alike. I didn’t take the time to make “nice” labels for them, but stuck scraps of paper on the spines so they were identifiable.

And then I found a black binder. “Hmmm, I wonder what this is?” I said as I opened it. It contained a bunch of printouts of journal articles. I recognized several…but as I continued to flip through, I started seeing articles that were frequently referenced in my field, but which I’d never read (because my school doesn’t have subscriptions to those journals). Next I found articles notated in an unfamiliar handwriting: “read and summarized.” Then I found a list of “articles to read”–many of which I’d seen referenced before…

And then it hit me. Somehow I’d gotten a hold of former student A’s reference binder. I don’t know where it came from or who put it on my shelf, but somehow I have all of these amazing articles that I thought I wouldn’t be able to read. (How did he get copies of them, I wondered?)

I now have reading material for several weeks…and an impressive background bibiography (compared to what I had before)…which is good, because I think I’m actually starting to get publishable data(!) so I may need to start writing a paper soon…

I am so, so, so glad that I cleaned my bookshelf!

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