Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chug on

In trying to build off the high from yesterday, I ended up falling a bit flat. 

My long day of three planned experiments became a regular day of two experiments with one failing. I never budget for failed experiments because it seems too pessimistic...but when I don't complete all my experiments successfully, I feel really let down. The cruel, twisted nature of science at it's best. 

I'm having some problems with the intravital microscope. It's been a bit odd for some time, but I can't put my finger on what's wrong. I tweaked the amount of antibody fab fragments I'm injecting, and have focused, and re-focused the bloody thing, but the image is a wee bit more fuzzy than it should be. This worries me. Hopefully when I do some more on Saturday it will be working ok. 

Well I'm going to get geared up, play some tennis, and then make myself a nice summer salad to end the day! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The beauty of balance

After almost 2 years in this grad school business, I am getting somewhere with data collection and results! While I still have a long way to go, and really have to take full advantage of the extra year I have to take, I am quite proud of what I've accomplished so far. I am eager to power through, and have planned a busy day of experiments for tomorrow.

In addition, I had a great balanced day today. After walking to the lab in the morning, I grappled with some stats, and did my prep calculations for tomorrow's experiments. It was the first day I brought my laptop into work - why on earth have I been stowing it at home all this time? In between t-testing all the data I possibly could, I browsed through a couple great blogs and followed the Bombay bombings on twitter. I don't understand how terrorists can possibly begin justify their actions. I'm sure they once had a cause to fight for, but it's lost in the fear they spread and the innocent lives they take. Thankfully my family living in Bombay were ok.

After walking home (so managed to squeeze in 40 minutes of walking today!), I had a healthy snack and then practiced my violin. It was so relaxing, and made me realise that I really need to get on with finishing my violin exams. I only have 2 left until I'm fully qualified, but I've been dawdling over it with many excuses.

Then I Bodyrock'd out for a bit (check out: - it's all free!), which I had to take a bit easy since I injured my hip really badly the previous weekend. And then off to play some tennis. Half way through my legs began to seize up a bit, but it was well worth it. I feel I can have a restful sleep, and get up energised, knowing I had such a full day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Can you become successful from eating right?

I believe that part of being successful is eating healthy and exercising regularly. 

I'm not saying you can't be successful without adopting these habits - au contraire - but it certainly places you in the right frame of mind. 

Eating healthy takes discipline, determination, and the ability to say "no" when a decadent dessert is right in front of your nose. Exercising regularly provides you with a routine to follow, and often allows you to realise that you can push past your limits. 

Having been an extremely unhealthy and quite overweight individual a few years ago, I certainly believe this. It hasn't always been easy to uphold, as the urge to indulge can be too much sometimes. 

I don't believe in diets - I believe in eating everything in moderation. I think if you cut out one player in the food pyramid, then you're opening yourself up for intense cravings. I tried slow-carbing earlier in the year, and became thoroughly sick of it in a week. As a girl who loves bread, the week of denying it made me crave it for a month. And I hated the idea of a complete binge day. 

Right now I'm recovering from a hip sprain injury. When I was exercising I tweaked the muscle a bit, and didn't listen to my body to slow down. I've had to take it easy the past few days, but it has really allowed me to focus on my diet. I'm trying to drink more water, pay closer attention to my stomach when it's signaling me it's full, and shush the voice that wants instant gratification. 

How does this all tie into success? I certainly don't have a chart or any experiments conducted on mice to demonstrate a correlation, but I know there's a feeling of wellness within when you eat healthy and exercise. That sense of lethargy is gone, and you can say: (for example) if I managed to exercise for 'X' minutes, I can do 'Y' task. You can attribute your success of living healthy to other areas of your life, and allowing the generated success to snowball. 

So maybe next time you are at the grocery store grab the raspberries instead of the chips, and when there's a commercial break in your favourite show, do 10 pushups! There's a little bit of success in itself already! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Eye on the prize

Half the year has gone by...

I really couldn't tell you how the year has flown by so quickly - looking back it still seems like early January. Time has a stealthy way of sneaking past. I have decided that on this Canada day, there is no better day to refocus. Refocusing takes quite a bit of time and energy, and so I have shied away from it for a little while. Living life passively tends to come quite naturally - and the sick feeling in your stomach can be surprisingly easy to ignore. 

I've found adjusting to "adult", graduate student life a bit difficult. For so many years you are told exactly what to do, grades are the main goal, and it's very easy to mark how successful you are by a letter (and hopefully a plus)! As a grad student I've found there are no "real" markers of success. You hope for your experiments to work, you read papers, and you try attend conferences. The goal is life long learning - and the acquirement of a degree. But none of these afford instant gratification - you really have to work for them. It's not like a test that you can cram for the night before. This is the part I've had the worst time adjusting to. I lose sight of long term fulfillment, and the reality that something worthwhile takes hard work and dedication. 

I just finished watching Djokovic defeat Tsonga at Wimbledon to move into the finals for the first time, and claim the world #1 ranking. Djokovic has played amazing this year - he's been untouchable with a 47-1 winning streak. As I was watching him play, it sunk into my head that he has worked so hard and so long for this. I can certainly do that for my Masters. 

I am going to channel my energy into refocusing for the next 6 months of the year, and into pursuing passions outside of graduate school as well. I need to get rid of the girl who lounges in front of the TV after work, and find out all the wonderful things she is capable of.