Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bringing healthy back

Due to my funding dilemma and my doubts in my experimental abilities this past week, my eating habits have really taken a hit! It's easy keeping on track when at the lab, because I have set eating times, and a limited access to free food...but once I get home, it's non-stop face stuffing. Granted the food I'm eating is not unhealthy, but the sheer amount chowed down has led to a gigantic increase in calories.

I've always had this problem with emotional eating. In first year university, I was depressed for most of the year, ate like a wild boar, and subsequently put on 20 pounds.

I always find it so hard to control my emotional eating. It's usually why I only stock my place with healthy food, so if I go on a rampage, the most damage I can inflict on myself is with granola. Mmm granola.

Guess it's just a battle I have to continuously keep fighting and a problem I always have to keep my eye on. I find it's so much more difficult in the winter, because the cold can be such a downer. I can't wait for summer to come, so I can wear some shorts, walk to the lab everyday, and hit up the beach! Come soon summer!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Focusing on the positive

I've always been a silver lining type of girl, looking for the little bit of salvagable good in any given situation. However, these days I seem to focus more on the negative side of things. I worry that people will see the negative in me, so much so, that sometimes I forget about the positive.

Focusing on the negative gives license to spiraling into craziness. While everyone has a little bit of crazy in them, it can hardly be any good to let the crazy rule the roost. When this happens I find even the smallest of tasks incredibly difficult to get through, and find myself lying on my couch in a lethargic state as soon as I get home. Granted it might be all the running I'm doing these days, but it feels like there's a strange edge to the tiredness I am feeling.

I'm trying to focus more on the positive, and turn negative situations into experiences that I can learn from. There is always something to learn from everything if you look hard enough, or actually if you just simply accept the life lesson packaged inside the obviously not-so-desired-experience.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Stress

I think I have to come up with a good game plan to finish my Masters, and evaluate what I haven't been doing correctly so far.

My main goal, right now, is to finish in August 2011, and to eventually publish with the data I obtain. I don't mind working after I'm done to get the paper out, but I feel that in order to be taken seriously, and my degree to really mean something, I have to publish.

I have a lot of experiments to get done, and animal work can be an absolute bitch. I wasted so much time in early January doing an experiment that wasn't working, because our previous lab tech forget to tell me a pretty important point about it. Thankfully it got sorted out...but such a waste of time, antibodies, and mice.

The main thing is that I am not entirely sure what experiments I need to do. I have been so busy, since before the Christmas break, trying to optimise the baseline experiment, that I haven't given much thought to anything else. Now it's optimised and the data is collected...now I have to figure out what to do with the blasted data, and where to go from here.

I guess I just feel really stressed, and I have a horrible tendency to shut down and literally do nothing when I feel this way. I am really going to have to power through this feeling and work through my doubts.

I have a second committee meeting at the end of March, so we'll see where I am then.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Short end of the stick

My official end date for my Masters is supposed to be August 2011, given that I started in September 2009. You're allocated 2 years to complete your thesis, from which you can decide to defend or transfer to do you PhD, at my university.

I switched supervisors in April 2010, and so have been working on my project for roughly 9 months. When I switched, they informed me that my start date would remain the same, which I was ok with, because I planned on transferring.

However, as of late, my plans to transfer have changed, and I made inquiries as to my end date. My project is has great breadth, and can definitely extend into a PhD. I also had to switch from bench work, where you could do multiple experiments in a day, to animal work. My project started from scratch and none of the techniques I learnt before applied in my new lab. So really, having a year and 5 months to complete this thesis is not the best situation!

Today, I officially found out that if I am unable to finish in August, I will have to petition my grad program to extend my Masters, have my committee agree upon it (which I don't see any reason why they wouldn't), and then pay an extra year of tuition. That's $6000+!! Also, I doubt I would receive a stipend. How am I going to pay my tuition, my rent, and everything else? Thank goodness I have savings, but they are now going to take such a hard hit!!!!! I could move back home to my parents...but then I'd have to commute, and I am a bitch when I commute.

They don't even have reduced tuition anymore for people in my circumstances...I guess because not many grad students decide to switch supervisors.

I really want to finish by August, but my project switched direction in October, and I only recently optimised the core experiment. These types of situations just fill me with doubts in my abilities, and it's so easy to imagine the worse case scenario. Guess my not-so-vibrant social life is going to take a further hit!

Sometimes I wonder if it's a waste of my youth to be stuck in the lab, in a dark room for hours, hoping to make an experiment work, when I could be enjoying myself...or at least getting more job satisfaction for the effort put in. Sadly, I think I already know the answer to that!