It's been an eventful week, and what follows may not be a logical read, as I'm not feeling logical at the moment.
Organic Chemistry lab was a disaster and a half- we had to restart the experiment, I had an allergic reaction to a compound, and I got a superficial Sulfuric Acid burn. Work throughout the week was pretty ridiculous- dealt with everything from squid parts to poster sessions to a broken autoclave. Ethics was a snooze-fest. That prof had it out to chew on us and then got mad when I tried to ask her a question that was totally on topic, and it wasn't a dumb question. Also found out that I have nasal allergies to pollen and other crap, in addition to the damn sinus infection
Wednesday morning (EARLY!!)
I was wired and there was NO WAY that I was going to bed, so I stayed up late working on reaction mechanisms for an organic chem exam. I had to go to the bathroom around 2.30am because I needed to brush my teeth. On my way to the bathroom, I walked by my countertop and knocked something off of it. My goaltender's reflex kicked in, and I caught the flying object... yay, it didn't break, right?? Wrong! It was my green and white kitchen knife that fell, and I succeeded in stabbing the back of my hand with it.
Smart move, simian...
No stitches necessary, as it was a long and shallow cut.
I had choir practise for our annual campus-wide Mass of the Holy Spirit. I got to practise only to have the choir director call me to the back room because she had something to tell me. That instantly got my anxiety sky high. She told me that the two other tenors weren't going to be able to attend the Mass, and that I would be the tenor section! YIKES. Getting to physics was an adventure, and it was a painful one. I slipped while walking up the stairs, and I went down. Bruised from the middle of my right kneecap to about 4 inches down my leg. Then I hit my head on the railing trying to stand up. can you say headache? And klutz-tastical!!??
I went into the lab to work on some stuff for my research project- mostly just to catch up my lab notebook and clarify a point that my professor had mentioned to me to check out in the grant proposal she had me read over. She then told me all the stuff I wanted to hear and that she wanted a working draft of an abstract to submit to NCUR! Yahoo
Abstract challenge accepted. For those of you who haven't read an abstract, it's basically a very short thesis "paper" describing your research. I'll attach one as a comment from the last NCUR that I wrote and presented on as an example.
Thursday afternoon/early evening:
This was the day of the Mass of the Holy Spirit! Sure enough, I was the only tenor (and the only female tenor in our choir normally). I was really nervous, but one of the professors I know well saw me and said "I think God's got His eye on you this week!" That put me at ease, and the Mass went on without a hitch! I even got complimented for my "robust lower harmony" maybe I should keep singing! After Mass, I ran out of there like a bat out of Hell to go put up my academic poster for the science poster session in the Science and Technology Centre. There was a verbal argument between two of my professors right before I got there, and one of them was angrily asking me why I hadn't been there sooner to put my poster up. Out of breath, gasping, coughing me just said "I was part of the choir for Mass of the Holy Spirit. We missed your presence there." That shut her up right quick, and she was like, "I didn't mean to snap." I put my poster up, then hung around to ask my other research mentor (aka Chemist of Awesome) a couple of questions. My second mentor said I should try the TLC tomorrow, but it was up to my discretion, as she and I would be presenting and might want to escape the lab to avoid getting pestered.
My first thought was "Where's my Ativan? I'm feeling really panicky right now!" Now you may be thinking, "What the heck, Monkey? You're a research student, and yet you're scared to present your findings? and why are you scared to talk to your peers?" I have always hated public speaking because I am painfully shy around large crowds, and the last few times I've had to present I've been chewed apart afterwards for it. It was all I could do to walk up to the science centre, coffee mug in hand, and Ativan in my messenger bag (just in case). I got up to the building, and the Dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences with the Dean of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics were standing there welcoming all those who were there. The Dean of the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics told me to wake up, as I looked really "groggy" to him. I trudged upstairs, where Microbe Woman (my lead PI) caught up with me and introduced me to her family. She had me do a dry run of my presentation to her and her family members, and I was sweating profusely/shaking inwardly all through it, even though it was freezing cold in the building. Once 8am rolled around, a bunch more people started showing up, and I got more and more nervous. Fortunately, not too many people asked me questions, and I knew most of the professors understood that I had been focusing my research on a completely different project than the one I presented on at the poster session. One of my good guy friends on campus commented that I looked "absolutely stunning" in the long skirt/shirt/necklace combination I was wearing. My favourite necklace of all time is sterling silver and is a molecular "sketch" representation of Norepinephrine- one of my messed up neurotransmitters. I set up my Experiment's TLC chamber and solvent, then decided to go looking for food.
After the poster session, showing Microbe Woman and her family what my old project entailed, and a lunch break, I went back into my lab in track pants, dress shoes, and a grubby old T-shirt- not to mention my "Tie-dyed" lab coat (covered in staining agent spills) and had my friend help me spot my TLC plates. After my last time with the TLC, I had only a thin sliver of hope that my crude prostaglandin extracts were going to give me any useable data. I fixed and developed my plates, then placed them in the drying oven to visualise. I took them out after 15 minutes and WHAM! Four and Five spots developed in my spots where I applied unknown samples on each plate! After calculating the Rf values, I found that I had in fact extracted prostglandins! I was bouncing off the walls. Chemist of Awesome came upstairs, and I told her the good news! I called mom and e-mailed Microbe Woman. I was very happy, and I'm still happy 24 hours later!
I made a good impression on some faculty members, my peers, and a person on my University's Board of Trustees (also on the student satisfaction committee)
All in all a crazy week, but it makes sense for me to have a crazy week because I am a crazy, mentally interesting person with the persona of a monkey!
I'll have to finish this saga tomorrow. I am too tired to see straight!