Thursday, October 28, 2010

Motivation

So, of late, I’ve been having problems with motivation. It is hard to stay motivated.
There are so many things I want to do and explore in life that sometimes I find it very difficult to get myself to the lab, do work, and stay there. I often wonder if this is a waste of my time right now, and whether this is the path that is meant for me. I like the lab, but I don’t love it…so I guess that in itself is the answer!
Last week I decided that I am done with being unmotivated. Screw unmotivation. How though?
I tried reading articles about being a great grad school student…but it mainly just highlighted what I was not doing, or it motivated me for a little bit. That’s not the train I need to get on. I talked to my dad a bit about it, and he said it’s always good to pray about things. Which I agree with, but I believe praying is not very helpful unless you’re doing something about it yourself.
I couldn’t think of anything except to give unmotivation the finger, and try push past my apathy towards work. It’s going pretty well so far, although there are definite lulls and hard patches to work through.
Sometimes I wish there was a button you could push that would turn on the motivation…
…and why stop at motivation? Let’s just get a button for every damn thing out there!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Supervisor mishaps

Since I’m studying for my Masters degree, graduate school obviously takes up a huge portion of my life. Attending grad school was a decision I made after getting my Bachelors degree, which was a pretty bold, risky move that could have gone incredibly badly.
In fact, it did go incredibly badly for some time. Having never volunteered in a lab, or taken any interest in grad school – until literally a few days before the deadline for late applications were due – I really had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know what to look for in a supervisor, how to pick a lab, or even what research I wanted to do, except that I had a strong interest in the cardiovascular system. Between the time of getting accepted into the program, and leaving for a Paris trip, I had three days to find a supervisor. And naturally, I stumbled upon the worst supervisor I could have.
Now, how do I know he was the worst supervisor? Well, he was actually quite clever at masking this initially. I thought he was pretty great…we had one on one meetings every day…and things were just dandy. But slowly things began to fall apart…and soon I was under a mountain of crap. Let me tell you, it’s not easy to shovel out from under a mountain of crap.  I’m generally a positive person, and even I couldn’t find a positive spin to this situation. Queue: anxiety, and a complete loss of appetite for fun.
Then came the time to make one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make: stick it out in this lab, where I could hopefully scrape by, or, try find a new lab and come to terms that I wasted the past 8 months of my life. I’m really happy to say I chose the latter. But, it was a decision that I could not have made successfully without the completely wonderful support system I had. I didn’t confide in many people, but the ones that I did tell were amazing – they made the bleakness seem hopeful. It reminded me of the importance and value of true friends versus the many friends-in-passing and meaningless acquaintances that so often pepper our lives.
It wasn’t easy for me to start in a new lab. It was a completely new line of research, with new people, and new expectations. I felt self-conscious and worried about falling short. But I was happy once more, and that’s what really mattered. Ultimately, you should always do what makes you happy.
Grad school lesson #1: don’t enter a program or take upon a supervisor without doing thorough background research into the whole business. It’s best not to learn this lesson the hard way. Trust me on this.

Enter Blogosphere part deux

So I thought I’d give the blogging craze a go again…something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. But with all things that are categorised as “meant to do for a while”, it’s taken much longer than I originally thought.
I used to keep a blog from grade 12 to 2nd year university…and now that I think about it, I’m quite surprised I lasted so long. It was mainly filled with fluff, my opinions on several girly subjects, and full of teenage angst. Hopefully, at the ripe ol’ age of 22, I am past all that!  
Incidentally, now seems like a perfect time for this re-entry, as it is a time of growth in my life, deciding what I want in many aspects, and then actually making those hard decisions that accompany just about everything these days. I hope to stick to this…hopefully it’s not just one of my obsessive streaks that fizzle out after a week or so.