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Settling in

The last few weeks have been quite … tiresome. I honestly can’t wrap my head around everything that has transpired, but highlights of this include:

  • putting together a major piece of the dissertation puzzle with a recent, overwhelming, and exciting research project
  • moving from Houghton to Hancock into a much better, bigger, and comfortable living space
  • preparing for the Graduate Education Day Summit at Michigan’s State Capitol
  • running a 30-miler

Along with other life things [including getting a load of bad news from my family about friends that were involved in an accident], I am surprised that I am not having too hard of a time keeping up.

We joke in our lab about the need for having personal assistants (seriously, do any of you have personal assistants?!). I have been (more frequently) getting the feeling of being overwhelmed but it goes in waves. One minute I am doing alright, the next I want to cry because I have five things that need to be done simultaneously in five different labs. But, I have learned a few things over the last few weeks (years, even) that have helped me deal with the ebbing and gushing rapids of grad school:

  1. Prioritize: When I have media that needs collected and samples than need decalcifying, I do the more time-dependent one first. If it takes me an hour, I’m not as anxious because I know the decalcification is not so time crucial.
  2. Map out the plan: I use a carbon copy lab notebook, and I try to spend a fair bit of time prior to experiments to map out what I want to making tables (neat and clean, using a ruler), using different colored pens (easy to see/highlight important steps) and fill-in-the-blank style worksheets. Not only does it help make data collection go smoother (I don’t forget to write something down because I was go-go-go during the experiment) but it also helps me mentally run through my experiments before actually performing them. Writing something down helps it sink in to my brain a lot easier than just reading through.
  3. Ask for help: If there is something small be essential that needs to be done (like charging the Dremel or downloading photos from the camera to the shared lab hard-drive so you can look at them later), asking someone else to help is not a bad idea. These are tasks that can lead to overwhelming anxiety (say, if logging into your profile/h: drive takes five minutes longer than you can handle) and someone else who isn’t so anxious would probably be able to deal with easier. Plus, they are probably the one already logged onto the network.
  4. Take a step back: Look at your results, even if you aren’t done with the project, and look at what you are discovering. Is there any technique you are using that isn’t working quite that well? Put a hold on data collections, if only for one day, to troubleshoot any issues you may have. For example, I was having serious issues with slicing thin sections of tissue using a diamond saw. So I took a day off, thought about what needed to be improved, and then went to the hardware store to scope out their adhesives. I found a solution that worked.
  5. Optimize your time: Have a ten minute chunk of time when something is incubating or adhesive is curing? Don’t check Facebook. Instead, do one of the menial tasks that might otherwise cause you anxiety later. Nothing is worse than thinking you are done for the day and ready to go home when you realize you forgot to swap out media or EDTA. And seriously, Facebook won’t miss you.  No offense.

In Austin? Meet up with some Trakkers Pro Athletes!

Sometimes I wish I lived in a bigger city. Or at least closer to one. Like Austin, where some really cool pro triathletes travel to for some top-notch training (and some even live there!). How sweet would it be to train with the pros? Now’s your chance!

If you live in Austin, come join Trakkers Pro Team and Jack & Adam’s Bicycles for a weekend of Triathlon fun.

Team Trakkers is kicking off their year with multiple happenings at Jack & Adam’s on Fri., Sat., and Sun., April 9th, 10th, and 11th.

Come join us for a happy hour, swim, bike, run, or just stop by the mini expo and try to win some free stuff. Other guests will include Rev 3 Events, High Five Events, Trakkers GPS, Saucony, First Endurance, and many more. Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss the fun. Below is a schedule of events for the entire weekend.

Friday April 9

8:30 AM Group Swim at Barton Springs – Knock the dust off your wetsuit and come take a swim with some of the best in the sport. (Meet at Barton Springs, bring cash for entry!)

6:00-8:00PM, Happy hour for ALL to attend – Come meet the Trakkers Pro Team, drink beer, eat catered food, kick back and listen to some live music! (Meet at J & A’s.) Pro Team includes Michael Lovato, Amanda Lovato, Richie Cunningham, Dede Griesbauer, Brian Fleischmann, Mary Beth Ellis, Jacqui Gordon, and Carole Sharpless.

Saturday April 10

8:30 AM Group ride from J & A’s – 30 Mile Hilly Loop, presented by First Endurance ANYONE welcome – Free First Endurance product provided pre- and post-ride. First Endurance nutrition talk immediately following the ride: learn the ins and outs of fueling and recovery. Breakfast tacos & coffee compliments of First Endurance.

12:00 PM- 4:00 PM – Trakkers Pro Team & Jack & Adam’s Season Kick-Off Catered food from Whole Foods – fruit, sandwiches, and more, compliments of Team Trakkers and J & A’s. High Five Events, Rev 3 Events, Trakkers, Saucony, First Endurance, and more will be on site with product samples and displays. Lots of Free stuff to be given away!

4:30 PM Group Run from J & A’s – Take a jog around Town Lake. 4 and 7 mile loops available. – Pros split off for photos on Auditorium Shores

Sunday April 11

8:00AM Optional Capitol 10,000 event!

8:00AM -12:00PM Pro athletes receive Retul Bike Fits with Zane Castro

noon- Trakkers product talk and wrap-up

Let's Go, Huskies!

Last weekend, I rolled out to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championship, luckily in my big back yard of Houghton. The Michigan Tech team has been killing it the last few seasons, and I couldn’t miss the chance to watch them once again secure GLIAC Championship title. I knew it was going to be a close game against Northern Michigan, because Tech lost to them earlier in the season.

After a whole heck of a lot of excitement and edge-of-my-seat screaming and cheering, the Huskies ended up winning 73-69, hammering out the last few minutes of the game with some key shots. I am looking forward to watching again on Friday night! Here’s some photos of the action, and some Youtube video at the end. I am so excited about this weekend’s games! If you’re in Houghton, make sure to get your tickets early. Michigan Tech, currently ranked first in the Midwest Region, will play the eighth-seeded Northern Kentucky in the SDC Wood Gym.