There's a reason I'm not a poet

Posts tagged ‘eureka’

Pressing benches

This Friday is my last day in the lab. Six weeks isn’t a very long time to spend in one, but when planning it I realised there’s a limit to how long I could be unemployed for… The aim of my time here was predominantly exposure: after opting out of research opportunities at uni in favour of things like human evolution and French, I wanted to see what the lab environment entailed, and if it’s something I could envisage myself making up a significant portion of my future career.

As I was only to be here for a short time, there wasn’t much hope of me getting oriented and adequately skilled up in time to do an experiment with results worth publishing. And while I’d probably have been happy enough with that, my supervisor was keen for me to get something demonstrable out of my time here. So, I’ve been doing a paper-based project, trying to write a review paper (/meta-analysis) on some drugs currently in Phase 1 & 2 clinical trials.

Alongside this, I’ve been popping in and out of the laboratory itself, where two new PhD students are being shown the ropes on a couple of experiments. So I’ve been learning said ropes alongside them as well as poking around with a couple of cells: feeding them, changing them, and generally treating them like microscopic babies. Or sea-monkeys!

It’s been fun here, and I’ve had a good bit of craic with the people in the lab. I think I’ve gained a nice amount of exposure to see what life is like in research, and at the different levels of involvement/seniority. It’s also quite fun hearing people having intelligent scientific conversations, as opposed to the intelligent clinical ones I’m more used to from the past few years in the hospital.

While obviously I’ve not experienced the stress induced by The Dreaded Write-Up (which my PhD friends will attest to is real), I imagine it’s something I could ultimately cope with, and so I reckon lab work is something I’d happily get involved in later down the line.

Besides, I wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to have some more sea monkeys.

M

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Mind, body and soul train

Always up for a knees-up, at the weekend I was down in Monaghan for a friend’s wedding. I worked with her in Craigavon when I was starting out as a baby doctor (whereas now I’m a firmly-mature toddler doctor). The girl who was getting married is just the loveliest person, and I was down with a really nice group of people. I was pretty lucky if I’m honest to end up with the cohort of F1s that I did, and was pretty touched to be invited along.

I bloody love weddings; seeing the bride and groom at the front of the chapel/temple/secular gathering area grinning at each other and nervously chatting always brings a smile to my face. Hers was no exception, and her family were all a bit adorable. “Good bears” as she’d describe them.

The other reasons I love weddings are that they’re a giant steed good feed and an excellent opportunity to jig your foot on the dance floor. I got massively into the boogieing as I so often do, and earned the title of “most nimble guest” at the wedding. Obviously I would have preferred most handsome, but you take what you can.
In other news I’ve been working in a Belfast hospital since the start of February, under the General Medicine umbrella. It’s been quite a nice job; the staff, culture and atmosphere are all really friendly and it’s definitely been educationally useful. But I actually just finished there last week, and for the next 6-8 weeks I’ve rejoined the ranks of the unemployed.
The reason for this is that I’ve arranged a placement in a cancer research lab, where I’ll hopefully be getting some exposure and insight into clinical research, with the hope of informing future decisions on how much of a role I would like research to take in my career.

Like with starting any new job, I’m a bit nervous about starting in general, and about not knowing anything at first- as it’s a completely different skill-set from what I’ve been developing these past six years. But with a bit of time/graft/blind luck (delete as appropriate) I’ll hopefully get the hang of it.
Now, it’s time for me to confess something. To get a bit of a weight off my chest. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I feel it’s important to own up to these things.

I… I have a personal trainer.

That’s right, I’m one of Those People. Those middle-class eejits. Next week I’m sure I’ll be talking about the decline in quality of quinoa and complaining that my latte cup isn’t locally-sourced.

It started a month or two ago- I was in the gym flailing around aimlessly as I often do, when a staff member came up to me and asked if I’d be interested in a free personal training session. The first key thing he said was “free”. The second key thing was when he told me his name was Ivan. I couldn’t pass that up- I thought it’d be too funny to say no to a session with Ivan the Terrible.

I went fully expecting to hate it; and find the whole thing both awkward and useless, his guidance of “drink protein shakes and women will love you” to fall on some very deaf (and very gay) ears. But the crafty beggar sussed me out- he worked out that I’m fundamentally lazy, and explicitly said there was a limit to how much I’d be willing to be pushed. He told me that he wouldn’t go overboard cause he knew I wasn’t interested in becoming ridiculously-built. He didn’t mention attracting women once. He scoffed at the idea of protein shakes and said I should just eat real food. And to top it all off he had good chat.

He got me. Read me like a book and now I’m paying extra money to the gym. I’m Chandler from Friends and there’s no way out. Excuse me while I go look for a fair-trade yoga mat.

M