We've all been there...you did everything right, you measured twice, you were extra careful, you even skipped lunch...and then when you go to get your result (reveal, render, whatever it is) there is nothing. Or worst, there is something but you cannot use it.
Let me introduce myself, my name is Carolina I am officially on my 4th year of PhD on an institution where the average for completion is 5, so it is not that bad. A PhD in Biological Science, lots of "wet lab" everyday and not as much data as I would like. But that is part of the trade.
However, it being part of your daily life doesn't make it easier, just like traffic (I hate driving I might add). And today is one of those days when stuff didn't work...well, actually, didn't fully work. I tell myself that I can just repeat the experiment and I think I know what went wrong (that is half of the battle in this field); however I can't shake off that feeling of disappointment.
Something that not a lot of people tell you when going into academia, and in particular biological research, is that most of the time things just don't work and that the amount of time/effort you put in won't be direct to the amount of results or even useful data that you will get out.
It sounds a bit depressing I realize; if you have read PhD Comics and other similar pages, you will see I am not the only one giving you this bleak image of what it is to do a PhD. But the truth is that is not depressing once you accept it. Is just the way it is. The real issue once you see this is whether what you get out if is worth it and that is rather a personal opinion.
In my case, I love the lab: I like seeing my cells and my project has a lot of confocal microscopy which is always fun (when it works)...also immunoprecipitations, which are considerably less fun, but more rewarding when they decide to cooperate. So the lab work itself I like. Sharing my project? I like it, quite a bit I must say. Even though I hate giving lectures or talks to big audiences, I am happy when presenting a poster, discussing results. I even like reading articles...not all the time, mind you, some are so dense that even if they are in my subject I dread reading them. There are a lot of scientific articles that you would think the point of sharing your results was lost in the way to the printer. That might be just me.
But I find it important to stretch the fact that it is hard. If you love what you are doing it will be less hard off course, without meaning that it will be easy. Every summer student that I've had since I started my graduate studies has had a similar speech from me, and the main reason is that I would've liked someone to tell me. Not warn me, mind you, it is not a warning, it is just a fact. I would've still continue my studies, that I know. The only thing that would've probably changed is that I would've decided sooner that I wasn't going to stay in academia once I finish my PhD. However that is a discussion for another post.
That is all I wanted to say for now. If you are reading this, thank you for dropping by. This is my second blog actually, the first one being A Girl that Likes Books, where I post mostly reviews and book related topics. You are more than welcome to visit that one too; that one has been active for a couple of years now.
See you next time