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Assays complete and the writing begins (sort of)

posted Jan 14, 2015, 6:13 AM by Kristen Covino   [ updated Jan 14, 2015, 6:19 AM ]
I am very happy to report that I have (finally) finished all my hormone assays. I was able to complete the last one before the "holiday break" (in quotes because, as all grad students know, school-related breaks are not actually a break for graduate students). But rather they are a time during which we can really focus on our research and accomplish something meaningful. That is, in a perfect world. Because in reality, everything takes two or four times as long and you think it will and that manuscript you were convinced you could write during the 3 weeks between semesters ends up as just methods and results sections. And even those are not quite finished yet. Sigh.

In an attempt to look positively on the work I have done over the last month I made a list of all the little bits and pieces of things that I was actually able to complete. Entering all my hormone assay results into my major Excel file. Check. Correcting hormone values for inter-assay variation. Check. Doing random other data sorting and cleaning of the files. Check. Discovering that somehow I completely skipped over a group of 12 birds that I should have genetically sexed two years ago. (How in the world did I manage...??) Figuring out that regardless of how good my lab notes are I will never understand what thoughts go through my head years later. (No, seriously, why would I ever do that. I must have had a reason. Because that is just....stupid.) Sigh.

So I make a list of the things I need to do when I return to campus. This now includes doing a bit of lab work so that I can determine the sex of the birds I somehow skipped (still cannot figure out how I did that) in addition to the Swainson's Thrushes I sampled this past fall. It shouldn't take too long but not having those few birds is holding up my final analyses for the paper I was working on. (And seriously, why oh why did I do that??)

I have also been assigned to teach a lab that I haven't taught before, which I am actually very excited about because it's Zoology and who wouldn't be excited. But I haven't done anything with a Zoology course since I was an undergrad myself and while I do know some of the groups of animals fairly well, others will require a bit of review on my part. So fun and learning will be had.

Other things I have been occupying myself with: grant writing (later post), beginning to organize a field crew for a new spring site my lab will be running (another later post), and working feverishly with collaborators on our Blackpoll Warbler project (see Blackpoll Migration Research). 

Signing off now so that I can actually accomplish something today.