Successful science is not done only from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nor does it restrict itself to the working week. Working at the Center for Immunology has thrown me into the pace of science: a well-oiled machine that takes over your existence no matter which day of the week or what time of day.
The greatest excitement while doing my experiments has come as the sun is setting, as the lab quietens down from the hustle and bustle of the daytime. Still, there are dedicated researchers working to keep the science-machine going. While with other work you might lament the fact that you’re the only one left in the office, when you’re staying late in the lab you’re excited because the next day you’ll collect data and get results.
Even after repeating my experiment several times, I get the same buzz when it comes to completion and I get to see what my data looks like. The culmination of more than 12 hours of labor comes in the form of results. Something you can see and feel. Even though sometimes you reach that point and you have bad data, you’re already looking forward to the next time where you can fix things and improve on your experiment. Once you get your data, you delve deeper and analyze. I swear that data analysis makes time go faster; it always feels like I’ve only been at it five minutes when three hours have flown by!
Because of the LFM’s summer research fellowship, I’ve had a taste of what independent research is like. You’re trusted to do an experiment on your own and take care of problems as they arise. You don’t need someone following and you telling what to do next. You get to take ownership of your data and be really excited when things work. By immersing myself in the machine of science, I’ve reaffirmed my desire to go into medical research.
And feeling like I want to do this forever is the greatest buzz of all.