Friday, September 17, 2004

coma kinase

i fell asleep in seminar again today. i can't understand what's keeping me from holding my eyes open for 60 minutes whenever someone stands up and presents anything scientific, but i'm starting to worry.

- is it just that i don't get enough sleep? well, maybe. i have been getting up at 6 to attempt to read biochemistry (and sometimes to write blog entries . . . uh oh) but i typically pass out around 11 or earlier. so that's 7+ hours. maybe i need 8, or more. but i doubt my colleages are getting that much, and when i peek through my half-closed lids during the breaks of my coma, i see them all sitting there, paying rapt attention.

- is it just that i am too inexperienced at watching these seminars to follow along without a gargantuan effort, and the amount of brainpower required to do so fatigues my neural circuitry so badly in the first several minutes that i fall into a semi-conscious stupor? this is possible. but each time i sit down for one of these talks, i tell myself sternly, "you are going to listen and understand." and during the first few minutes, i usually succeed. furthermore, if a paper was given out to to read beforehand, i do make the effort to read it, and typically i can make some sense out of it, though not 100%.

- is it just that the talks are boring, and everyone else is just really weird for being interested? this one worries me. if i truly do find them boring, how am i going to survive in the scientific world? if i ever managed to make it to the level of an academic (or industry) professional, what are other people going to think when i fall asleep during every talk or meeting? i would have to start taking speed or something, and that shit is really bad for you.

well, i don't know. i'm going to prep myself for the next seminar (wednesday) with a cup of coffee and possibly a notebook. if i force myself to take notes, i figure this might help. but i'm going to look like a dork.

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i moved my USMLE-taking appointment to january 18th, so now i have even MORE time to study. i realized that my friend's wedding was 6 days before my old date, and it's several states away. the new date will make winter break a little bit less of a . . . break, but overall it will probably make things less stressful. after all, if i can't learn it in 2.5 months, i'm not going to learn it, ever.

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* explanation of title for non-science people: a kinase is a name for an enzyme that phosphorylates (puts a phosphate group) on something else - another enzyme, or some other molecule, or whatever. in signal transduction presentations, every other word is kinase. there are even "kinase kinases" and the dreaded "kinase kinase kinases." it's more than a little out of hand.