Friday, September 30, 2011

Why I love being a post-doc...

Up until now, most of my posts here have been about mommyhood.  Of course, that is only half of my story (even though mommyhood takes up a larger proportion of my life!).  While I've had this thought and feeling for a while, I think I articulated it well the other day, which prompted me thinking of how I might word a blog post about how much I love being a post-doc.

In a nutshell, I love what I do because I can dream big.  As campy as it sounds, it's really true.  I've gone through all of the technical training (although there are still a few things I haven't learned...but I pick up on techniques pretty easily), and I've done western blots, PCR, cell culture, expression arrays, immunofluorescence, ELISAs and so on, sometimes ad nauseum.  Sometimes I feel like a theoretical scientist, and I do quite a bit of "dry labbing" before actually carrying out an experiment.

I love designing experiments.  I love asking the "what if" type questions.  I love having all sorts of tools at my disposal to be able to carry out the experiments to proove some of my ideas.  I love putting things into the context of the "big" picture, while still being focused on my little piece of the puzzle.

In the past few years, I have had a few "eureka" type moments.  I've gone to my boss and started conversations with "I wonder if..." or "Has anyone tried...".  Perhaps best yet, some of my "thinking" sessions have been total shots in the dark, and when I went to test something out, something that I hypothesized was valid!  I've actually been on a pretty good streak with some things, and the times where I've thought "If I add this to these cells...will this increase?" or something of the sort.

It's really hard to describe to a non-scientist or even someone who isn't familiar with what the job entails.  The difference between being an undergrad, a technician, or a grad student is BIG.  And I'm loving every minute of it!

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