Friday, July 29, 2005

A Moment in Time...


The week, it seems, has passed by in a flash. It was supposed to be the toughest week of my graduate career, an abstract to submit to the American society for Cell Biology (ASCB), a lab presentation and numerous experiments were waiting for me at the beginning of the week. On Monday, I was thinking to myself that if I came out of this one unscathed, I will survive anything. But as days of the week rolled by, I realized that all the weekends I had spent in the lab before this really did not go waste. I managed to finish scripting my abstract, successfully put together a slick presentation and finished my pending experiments. I feel like I have achieved so much in just one week. Just three weeks ago, things were looking bleak for me. For two months of trying hard to get in foreign DNA into the cell type I was working with, I had absolutely no success. There is nothing worse than not getting results in the laboratory and to compound it I would forget the simplest of things I needed to do. I was an epitome of disorganization. My desk in the lab would be filled with piles of paper scattered all over and I would go crazy trying to comprehend where I had just put away something. My boss was losing faith in my research skills; my interactions with her were limited to discussing my failures. The ASCB abstract deadline was fast approaching. I had three weeks left for the deadline, and she was wondering if I would make it to the meetings this time. My other lab mates each had a nicely written abstract and were waving it in front of me to compound matters. I nearly broke down that day; I was contemplating ending my career in research there and then. Then the moment suddenly seized me, I cannot exactly describe what it was, it was a moment that completely changed things around for me, an idea that had not occurred to me for the last 3 months suddenly popped up. I took an hour to put together a master plan and asked my boss for an appointment. She seemed to have assumed that the meeting was to discuss another failed experiment. I walked into her room and put the paper with my ideas scribbled in the worst handwriting of all time on her table. She had one long hard look at it and said “I knew this is what you had to do all along, I was just waiting for you to come up with it on your own”. I had this feeling of being in a sinking boat “she knew it but she didn’t tell me?” I started to implement my “plan” immediately. From that moment success was the buzz word. Experiment after experiment yielded good results and my hypothesis was looking good. When I was writing my abstract finally this week, I felt like I might just break down thinking about the times I went through to get to that stage. I understood the real meaning of my boss’s words, she wanted me to come up with the idea, be self reliant and I am very grateful for having someone like that as my mentor. It has been three months since I started blogging. I started to blog basically to forget about my problems in the lab. I could focus on other aspects of my life when I blogged, I no longer had to just think about life in the lab. It helped me take life easy during tough times. The DC bloggers meet was also a blessing in disguise, I met so many wonderful people there and I could relax my mind and not worry about the things I was going through. I cannot forget the people who have been there for me always, the only people I can call “family” in DC-Ganesh and his wife. Ganesh is infact my friends cousin and I met him when she had visited DC two years ago. We have become the best of friends since then. I cannot remember one weekend when Ganesh and his wife have not invited me to their place. His wife would cook delicious food and also pack some food for me. I have always wondered if I deserved such special treatment from them. I always keep pulling Ganesh’s legs but he never complains, he remains one of my best friends. Thank you Ganesh, I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to thank you. This has been a very successful week and I will sleep peacefully tonight having unloaded all my thoughts.

26 comments:

Venky Krishnamoorthy said...

Robbie, Good luck. Do e-mail me your contact number and I shall call you this weekend.

Arvind said...

Congratulations da - in your terms 'suuuuuuber machi' :P

now you are 'research robbie' ?

Ganesh said...

Robbie...

Take it easy and thanks for your kind words.
Good friends and family help each other, thats what friends are for.
True friendship is that where one hastens voluntarily to help a friend from distress

So, thanksellam edhukku brother.

Eshwar said...

Robbie...a small suggestion...try breaking up the blog into paragraphs. Makes for easier reading.

Eshwar said...

Ganesh...pull arikidhu !! (...scratch scratch...)

Ganesh said...

eshwar, Dove soap podu seriya pogum :)

sen said...

congrats DR :).

ROBBIE said...

venky:
I already emailed you my number, do call me when you get time.I will be in pittsburgh from august 15th till the 31st.

Arvind:Yeah! SUbbbbbbbber results! I slept like crazy the whole day today.

Ganesh:
I have to thank you man!! there is no taking back anything now

eshwar:
Isnt it too late to break it up? Dove soap really works dude:P

Senthil:
I aint Dr. Yet soooooo keep your fingers crossed I will invite all of you to my graduation for sure.

Raman said...

Congrats Robbie. Kalakiputte po ...

Saar ... Engayo poyiteenga saar ;-) (Apoorva Sagodharargal)

So, on your graduation day, we can expect an "Oscar" style acceptance speech then?

Sowmya said...

Hey Robbie,
As a fellow researcher I understand how it is. There has been months together (Looking back I think it was more than 3 months) after my qualifiers when not even a simple ELISA worked for me. I also had problems in my personal problem and because of all these I just wanted to quit the program. You just need to have faith in yourself. Research according to me is filled with ups and downs....infact more downs than ups. The very smallest success should keep you encouraged through all the disappointments.

Hey! you are one of the most dedicated grad student I have known. I am sure you will come out with success. Just keep your thoughts positive and keep working.

As for abstracts - My mentor just called my first paper I had painstakingly written as 'sloppy English'. It is filled with strikes...and I pretty much have to start from scratch...

Anyways...good luck.
Sowmya

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Congrats Ms.Robinson,
I am happy for you.!

I am glad that you have Ganesh and his family for you out there. I know it helps a lot. I've been there done that.!

I am also happy that you have a nice boss...not many people are lucky. My ex-boss was a PIA.

Good Luck to you for everything in your life. Just like Ganesh there...you have my family and me here in the West Coast...just in case.!

Eshwar said...

Ganesh ji...thanks for the Dove soap idea. Can you pls buy me one..."anna" !!!!!????

Ganesh said...

sure thambi eshwar
I will call you guys today.

Daedalus said...

Congrats on your success!

kaleidoscope said...

Congrats Robz, good to know things are going well for you. Am happy for you.
You last part reminded me of...
" Keep smiling, keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That's what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for"

Oyster said...

robbie, happy to hear u persevered and did well.congrats and cheers! :)

sowmya - it is disheartenin to hear that she paid more attention to the language than the contents. but it can be fixed.if u can,look at the format or sample of other accepted paper presentations.sometimes that helps when we rewrite something.

ROBBIE said...

Hey sowmya:
I know how it feels when you have to rewrite it, I had to rewrite my abstract 5 times before my boss accepted it. I guess we just have to keep plugging on. Her style of writing is also rubbing off on me.
I am sure you will get a second draft of your paper okayed by your boss, like my boss says "just keep plugging along."

Naryanan:
Thanks for those kind words, I writing this from my lab, I seldom access my blogsite from my lab but I guess everything has a first time. I am feel good now that I have made so many good aquaintences through this blogsite.

Kali ma!:
Thanks for breaking your break to come write some nice words here.You are a very sweet person kali ma! thanks!

Oyster:
thanks dude!

Phil Plasma said...

Robbie, what a beautiful post of success after hardship and recognition of friendship. Though you list Ganesh as your best and closest, your blog activity seems to show you have a much larger support group out there for you...

cosmicblob said...

Cool Robbie..way to go!

ioiio said...

Chey.. I wish Ganesh is here in NY..... Free saappaadu evry weekend.. Wud have been gr8 :))

ROBBIE said...

phil: thanks dude, I love your succintly thought provoking posts.

cosmic: thanks a lot and I have tried to reply to your question, check the comments section of my previous posts and lets keep the argument going:)

ioiio:
NY isnt that far off is it? come down to DC and adopt Ganesh as your guardian angel:P

ROBBIE said...

Daedalus:
In the confusion here, I forgot to thank you :) Sorry I didnt spot you here before:P best of luck with the republican bashing though!

Shiva said...

robbie - sorry beeb busy lately..

CONGRATULATIONS machi.. kalakki pottute..

Anonymous said...

Congrats!You are a symbol of hardwork and sincerity and not every lab will have gifted researchers like you....Krithika

ROBBIE said...

hey shiva!
thanks dude!


krithika!!!
Hey guys let me have the honor of introducing ganesh's wife krithika to you all, she is a great singer herself and a great person. Krithika! hope chennai is treating you well, you always keep saying nice things about me, now its my turn. I am so lucky to have friends like you and ganesh. When you come back me and ganesh are gonna make you sing and post it in his blog! maatikitteenga krithika!

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