Sunday, October 12, 2014

Planning Ahead

I actually enjoyed writing the Module 1 Summary, in a sadistic sort of way. I was in the same boat as everyone else, having started the assignment later than I meant to because of that super fun 320 pset that was due on Friday. But I was weirdly excited to dedicate Friday and Saturday to Microsoft Office - special shoutout to PowerPoint, my new best friend. I started by making the figures and had a great time pretending to be a graphic artist, until I realized that my OCD had kicked in and I'd spent a solid half hour trying to perfectly match up two half circles (harder than it sounds, I swear).

The struggle began when I had to make the switch from Powerpoint to Excel. Excel and I have never gotten along; whenever I figure out how to graph something on it, I'll follow the exact same steps the next time and it won't work. Things started out well, I calculated all the averages and standard deviations, figured out confidence intervals, and then settled in to the chart making. I'm not going to say how much time that took because it's slightly embarrassing, so let's just say that eventually it worked and I was very happy, until...

It was a sad moment. Luckily it didn't take me as long as I thought it would to recreate what I had lost, and soon I was ready to start writing. 

It was as a I planned out my approach to the summary that I promised myself to never complain about the FNW assignments ever again. Throughout the module I didn't fully understand the necessity of creating rough drafts of figures, parts of the summary, or even turning in the methods section separately, as that tended to add extra stress to already stressful weeks. However, having already completed the methods section going into the summary writing, I had a much better understanding of why we did each step, which made analyzing the results that much easier. The feedback on the figures we'd made for the gels after M1D2 were especially useful in deciding what information should be included in figure captions, and what was unnecessary. 

I'm really grateful that the teaching staff encouraged us to keep a lab notebook and made us start preparing for the culminating module summary through the FNW assignments; it made organizing and writing the paper so much easier than it would have been otherwise. Going into Module 2, I'm going to make sure I think ahead to the final assignment - and maybe start the battle with Excel a couple days earlier.

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