Saturday, October 11, 2014

reflection on the first major assignment

Once upon a time, a girl tried to write a data summary paper for her bio-engineering lab class, and very much underestimated the time it took to analyze her data, make her figures, and actually write relevant and concise information into about 12 pages of paper.

That girl was me.
I started three days before the assignment was due with my figures thinking that that was going to be the most time consuming part. Making the figures wasn't all that bad, I might even say I enjoyed it because it was a creative break from the usual psetting and problem solving that most of our homework entails. The second to worst part was making the figure captions, the worst part was my OCD forcing me to spend way to much time on unnecessary parts of the figures.
With two days left, I started my data analysis, effectively teaching myself how to use Excel, which was struggle because I'm not really what you would call computer savvy. So naturally that took me quite a while but I thought with one day and night left, I was sure to be able to do all the written portions no problem.
I was wrong.
24 hours later, and 4 hours of sleep later, I was still unfinished with my final paper and decided on taking a late day because I was sure with more sleep and time I could do a much better job than what I had done at that point.
After taking some of the pressure off I got some sleep and went through each section at a comfortable pace for me. The easiest part of the paper to write was background and motivation because I think that is the most interesting and relevant part of any research that people do, it is the answer to why is this important. I found the data sections to be grueling especially because I wasn't exactly sure what was relevant and not common knowledge enough to put into their based on figures as well as the data analysis that was done.
Pro-tip for future Katharina:
Start earlier, take better lab notes, and plan more.

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