This week I feel like I’ve done so much, but I don’t really have anything to show for it if we’re talking about lab results. Don’t worry I haven’t just caved in and given up on PhD work, I’ve just had A LOT of other work this week! So to give you a quick run down of the last 2ish weeks:
- 3 (today is #4) Brilliant Club tutorials – they’re going really well and I’m so impressed with the kids I’m teaching. I’m loving the brilliant club and get really caught up in marking and lesson planning. I do this in the evenings so it doesn’t have any direct impact on my time spent in the lab but the actual tutorials do. Don’t get me wrong, they are 100% worth it, but with my school being located near Mansfield I have a bit of a trip and on top of this my school is quite limited with time so we’re doing 2 tutorials a week for 2 weeks and the fifth one next week. This means lesson planning and marking need a quicker turn around and rather than losing 1/2 a day each week I’m currently losing an entire day when you add it up – with 4 x 1.25hr tutorials in a week plus an hour each way in the car for each set of tutorials, and this doesn’t include my evenings spent lesson planning and marking, but part of the brilliant club is offering flexibility in the service we’re providing and it does mean that everything’s really fresh in my students memories. The quality of the latest piece of homework they’ve submitted is so much more then I expected, they are absolute superstars!
- Journal club – I’ve written about it before and journal club reared it’s intimidating head again this week. My supervisor thought it would be a good idea to use journal club to showcase some of the best research presented at Genomes 2014. This is actually a really good idea as it meant 4 of us presented mini journal clubs (we chose 2 topics each) on the talks we found most interesting. Doing a short and shared presentation made it much less intimidating but it did mean a large portion of Monday evening (and possibly Tuesday morning until journal club started ) had to be dedicated to research, reading and the production of PowerPoint slides.
- GENIE – on Tuesday I did some more GENIE outreach work. This session was with Year 12 students who had a chance to practice practical lab techniques that included pipetting (using Gilson pipettes) and loading a DNA gel. This was really different as unlike the undergraduates I’ve demonstrated for these students have probably never held a pipette before and definitely haven’t loaded a gel! It was a really good session and I had some great questions from a couple of the students – one even asked about epigenetics (unprompted!) and it made my day 🙂 .
So when everything else was done I didn’t have a lot of time left to spend in the lab, especially if you also add in the seminar and two meetings I went to! That’s just the way it goes sometimes, and I have managed to optimize a protocol so the week does have a lab based victory. I want to have a really solid week in the lab next week though, before I really crack on with the looming 1st year report. I’ll let you know if I’m successful ….