Friday, January 28, 2011

This I'll miss..

I love the snow. I love how it transforms the whole place into this white landscape. And sitting indoors, with hot chai and a nice book, while it is snowing outside. I love the sight of snowflakes flitting to the ground slowly - especially watching it from my huge windows in the lab. I am looking forward to building a snowman this weekend with my niece. This past week I spent two nights in the lab, one of them was during the heavy snowstorm. It was almost surreal to be up all night, seeing the snow fall and by daylight you could see just how much of it had piled up within no time. The snow plough trucks were up and about early, working hard, keeping the road clear of snow, only ending up shoving it all to the sides, boxing the parked cars in. I watched with fascination as a guy dug his car out of the snow today. Poor guy. He was at it for more than an hour. Patiently shoveling the snow off, throwing it across on the road. After a whole hour and more, he had cleared it up enough to get into his car but when he started the car, it wouldn't make it out of there. Finally some passer by helped him out with it. I was so glad someone helped him. And I'm even more glad I don't own a car. :)

In other news I had my talk today. It went well. My labmate, who is a super-efficient machine of sorts, went up before me. Her talk was superbly polished, very very data-heavy and, in my opinion, reflected the work of two post-docs. :) I had nothing to match up to. But I went up and did my thing. Gave my shpeil. I was very upfront about the fact that the machine broke down a month ago and my samples weren't processed. Then I just talked about my other project which is also straggling. A couple people came up to me and said nice job, and I got a few suggestions and questions. So I will be happy with that. I think that in itself is a huge step for me. The fact that I am managing to be happy and not beat myself up into misery about how my lab-mates talk was so much better than mine, chock-ful of data and how I had such little data. Of course I did agonize about all of that in the days leading to the talk, but I'm not going to flog myself over it. I am sure my time will come. And I am glad I went up and gave the talk, despite it being so data-poor, and I am glad I am dealing with it well, unlike last year, when the exact same thing happened and I remember how much self-flogging I indulged in. I remember walking home in the cold pouring rain, tears streaming down my face and hating myself and questioning all my abilities the day before the talk. All I could think of was, that I had quit my 1st post-doc after a year with no data, and then I had spent a year here with no data. I think my self-esteem was terribly battered thanks to leaving the 1st post-doc. This year things are a bit different- first, the whole machine breakdown thing is not my fault. Had it not happened, I'd have some blazing data by now. That is part of what's keeping me up. Of course, if I wanted to, I could get into "But still, what about Project B- you should have worked more on that and had more data on that". I can almost hear a tiny voice in my head say that. But I have managed to make that voice stfu.

This is my last talk at this dept, and I had hoped to wow people with all kinds amazing stuff and the cure to cancer. It was far from that. But, I must say, I have achieved a personal milestone of sorts. Finally learning to rise up and above the "beat the crap out of yourself" syndrome that I was suffering from for the longest time. That is what I'm proud of, and I can strongly feel that I am very consciously beginning to get rid of that attitude, learn to be easy on myself and respect myself. In other words, I have mastered the art of slacking off and not being ashamed of it. :D

6 comments:

nitish said...

Just imagine, that poor stuck schmuck wouldn't have had to wade through snow for 60 min if a certain lab-rat had helped him instead of indulging in voyeurism!

satish said...

good job!

satish said...

btw.. the title is scary. i thought u were thinking of discontinuing this blog.

Calvin said...

Haha....everyone has their scary experiences of lab-works and associated vivas/presentations....

I had my share of real nice ones....at the electrical lab, and my final thesis was on machines...more specifically induction motors....and it was a nightmare....the damn machine never started, and hence didn't have any data for my thesis....ended up serving 2 months extra in the lab to pass :P

And to think of it now, that made up one of my best 'story-worthy' stories from engineering days....

Anonymous said...

This blog is my catharsis! I purge away all my guilt, self-esteem, self-flogging phases by reading your experiences and thoughts.
Thank you, this space means a lot to me.
A

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

LOL @ Nitish. The thought did cross my mind...

satish,
thank you. :) And nahin yaar, no such dramas for now. :)

Calvin,
yeah, the worst experiences kind of make the best stories, yeah?

Anony/A,
You are welcome. I'm glad my ramblings help. :)