Monday, September 27, 2010

Reading is “for”damental…

I am so SICK of reading. Which, if you don’t know me, is saying a lot. It’s a travesty, if you will. I love to read. I read just about anything I can get my hands on. I’m the girl that spends her summers reading classical novels. I read Les Miserables, for fun, and loved it. I fully intend to read it again. But, as I sit here in my lab reading yet another snorool (that’s snore and drool together folks) inducing article, I can’t help but whip out ye olde blogge and vent my frustration. Do scientists have to be so terribly dry? I’ve been reading an 8 page paper for 1.5 hours now. I’m sure I’ve fallen asleep at least 3 times. I tried blasting rock music in my ears to keep me awake – didn’t work. I tried reading the paper out loud to myself – didn’t work. I have no idea what’s going on and if I read this same sentence on more freakin time – that vein in my forebrain that’s been threatening to pop ever since I started grad school is finally going to kick the proverbial bucket. For any of you out there that are entering academia after getting your PhD – please remember what it felt like to be bitch-slapped by boredom. Remember that your work will be read by some poor, sleepless, starving first year grad student out there, and try to infuse some joviality into your work. Bitch-slap somebody with a little happy.

Ahem…frustration officially vented. I can now return to my usual sane, preachy, mentory self. (Yep, I’m still making up words. Look out for Merriam-Webster-NeuroScienceGeek: in stores this Christmas)

Article reading is a part of grad school. Reading in general is a part of grad school. Get used to it. It’ll only get better with practice. Of course, choosing a lab that is working on research that actually interests you is an extra special bonus – but everyone isn’t that lucky. I’ve been told to read the abstract, skip the intro and jump straight to results and discussion. Yeah…NO. Doesn’t work for me. My advice: start reading articles now and come up with your own strategy. Hopefully, by the time you arrive at your first year of graduate education, article reading won’t be such a chore. Trust me, if they weren’t paying me…it wouldn’t get done.

Until text time family, friends and beyond. I hope to post soon about my experience in my very first lab rotation. Cue ominous music now.

P.S. For any of you out there that suffer from insomnia – I HIGHLY recommend any one of Hodgkin and Huxley’s infamous neuro papers or “Thermal Asymmetric Interlaced PCR: Automatable Amplification and Sequencing of Insert End Fragments form P1 and YAC Clones for Chromosome Walking,” by Yao-Guang Liu. Best lab sleep I’ve ever had.

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