Friday, December 10, 2010

Keeping your chin up

Science can be a very frustrating field of study. Experiments often don't work, for heaven knows what reason; there are multiple hoops to jump through (depending on your project) to actually getting some data; there are hours of prep work that go to waste oftentimes. That's where I'm at right now - hoop jumping and prep-wasting. All that jazz though is worth it when the experiment finally works in its entirety.  The reward and satisfaction you feel is amazing. That was me earlier this week!

But yesterday my experiment went back to making no sense whatsoever. I literally wanted to punch a wall, because I felt that the confusion and anger this elicited eclipsed my earlier successes of the week. I felt that I was back to square one. Stupid square one.

I woke up this morning though, and realised that it wasn't a set back. I was making steps forward - slow, but steady. In order to work in science, you need a tough skin - or the acquirement of one really fast! I always take experiments not working as a failure, but in the clarity of the morning, I know they are not failures. I'm merely learning about new aspects of the experiments, and what not to do in the future. Some of my best ideas for this project, or in adapting the techniques I've learnt, have come in moments of "failure".

I was planning my day while in the shower this morning, and was swaying on the side of not repeating the experiment this afternoon. If I fucked it up, then Friday, and potentially the weekend, could be soured. However, I realised that not doing the experiment would hinder my advancement - work or not, I'm getting somewhere, and I'm learning something. Maybe it's not as big a success as the entire experiment working...BUT it's still a small success! Small successes are so important to appreciate, because it takes many, many small successes to make a big success in science. From now on, I'm going to focus on appreciating the small successes instead of berating myself for not achieving the big one. It'll be all the more sweeter when I do!

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