Wednesday, September 08, 2004

self-indulgent psychobabble

well, i can already see that all that nervous tension and buildup i was experiencing before my first day was pretty silly in retrospect. at the same time, i'm still feeling a little bit uneasy about adjusting to my new environment/life in phd world.

the fact that i have so much 'new-people-new-places' anxiety strikes me as a little odd, because i really am an outgoing person; i've even taken the meyers-briggs personality inventory (the one that gives you 4 letters supposedly defining who you are) about a million times and i always come out as "ESTJ" (extroverted, sensing, thinking, judging). i like people. not all people, of course, but i'm generally upbeat at a party and i feel energized when i'm in a group, even if i didn't feel like going out to begin with.

but when the people all know each other already and i am supposed to learn all of their names . . .

and when i'm all the sudden working in a new building being shown where everything is kept and i'm supposed to remember it . . .

these things are hard for me. i don't pick up new tasks quickly, which sucks. it is also sort of counterintuitive (if you know me) because overall, i tend to be a person who operates on a faster life-cadence rather than slow - i walk relatively fast (for my height), talk fast, and tend to think and make decisions quickly; i am usually one of the first few people out of exams and there is no correlation with how well or poorly i performed. give me a time to show up somewhere, and i'm about 10 times more likely to be early than late.

but try to teach me how to do something, and i'm probably going to ask you to show me again. and again. and again. and again. and then, would you watch me while i tried it? oops. oh, you meant like that? no? could you show me again?

then i get frustrated, and no one is happy. i think this is partly why i was dreading my start in lab - because during the slow introductory period, i am going to be completely reliant on others to show me how to do pretty much everything. as soon as i got there, i set my lack of experience firmly on the table -- "listen, all-i-know-how-to-do-is-operate-on-rats-and-do-radio-immuno-assays-and-i've-never-even-touched-a-cell-culture" was my introductory disclaimer -- because i know my slow learning curve will seem even more hopeless if my teachers assume that i have some actual experience doing things. which i don't.

oh my god, i just read it and this entry is very depressing, but the first day actually really wasn't so bad. everyone was nice (although i forget 75% of the new names i learned already) and the phd student who has agreed to show me the ropes has been very patient. i feel guilty taking up so much of his time, but i hope i can repay my debt by helping some other clueless 1st-year some day.

my project: purifying an adenovirus vector that expresses siRNAs specific for the glucagon receptor (the vector has already been made, thank god) and transfecting INS-1 cell lines with it. i will then be optimizing the "dose" of virus by quantifying the knock-down of the glucagon receptor, and seeing what kinds of effects are seen with respect to glucose-sensitive-insulin-secretion (which these cells are typically capable of).

i don't know how to do any of these things yet, but it sounds good, huh?

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in other news, i'm back to watching The Real World on mtv. i can't do science all day, you know. i was very impressed with josh's gaydar, as he predicted that kuramo was gay. i wish that horrible slutty girl's name didn't have to be sarah, because i hate her already. and i knew her boobs had to be fake. ugh!