1. You really don’t know that much. I don’t want to get tripped up when it comes to defense time, and I’m also curious. I spend a lot of time trying to understand minute details. I’ve been very much humbled by how little I know.
  2. Historical papers are difficult to read. One of the big papers for my research is Einstein’s diffusion paper. We’ve had trouble following some of the math, like some assumptions he has made, and it appears no one else can explain the assumptions. They’re just bam! there and they make the derivation work out.
  3. You can’t allocate enough time. I work on my thesis at least 8-10 hours a day (hence no blogging), and I’m still behind on the schedule I made. I’m figuring stuff out most of the time. I barely want to take time to eat lunch or go buy it; I’m lucky my assistants help keep me sane and fed.
  4. Technology=Evil. With all the stress of everything, technology likes to break down. Mathematica was irritable today and required so many restarts. Latex, the program used to write the thesis, has its days too.
  5. You have to make sacrifices. My dancing honestly has been put to the way side. I have skipped social functions just to work on my thesis.  I do fit in yoga, because I need some kind of physical activity. My wrist aches from computer usage. I don’t want to be damaged when I’m finished. I really wish there were more hours in the day to do dance, be social, etc.
  6. The thesis engulfs your life. I didn’t anticipate my thesis being on my mind so much, even when I’m not working on it. That was the other reason I am not dancing as much. I can’t shut off the thesis writing part yet. This has overtaken my life.

Well, it partially works. The other day I ran my experiment. I came back the next day and saw something odd. What is classically thought is if we sit another fluid on the bottom (as long as gravity doesn’t hold it back), the fluid will diffuse, rising upward. What we saw with the latest run is the fluid took a very strange path; we discovered we have a mixing due to buoyancy issue. That’s bad; diffusion allegedly happens on its own; there’s supposedly no force (like buoyancy) that causes it). So part of my data is no good. I have to analyze it all, but I’m not optimistic about it.

As for the money situation with my other experiments, we’re very lucky (and I’m very relieved). One of the professors is able to get what I need from Argonne. The other thing is rather funny. My chemistry professor (I don’t recall if I mentioned I’m taking a class in chemistry but I am) and I have discussed my research project twice. Taking this class is quite fortuitous, because he knows a lot about polymers. I am more than happy to admit I know very little about them, but I also know I’m not afraid to ask for help from someone I believe knows more than I. I went to class on Tuesday (and I think I did decently on my exam), and he asked how things were going with my research. I told him we had a money issue, so we were still exploring the materials that he suggested. He then suggested that we use milk to observe the microscope stuff.

Miraculously, it worked very well. Milk is actually a colloid (particles suspended in a liquid), which is what we needed. Milk is also absolutely disgusting to look at on the molecular level; to me, it looked like maggots in something.

Other than that, my lab assistants are working well. The kid I had as a student is starting to feel useful (that’s what he said), even though I already thought he was being useful. I’ve written a small chunk of my thesis (3 pages, I believe) and will probably churn out another 3 pages within the next few days. I hear this is the hardest part, writing and motivating yourself to write. I think I’ve concluded there is absolutely no ideal weather to write in. If it’s cold, all you want to do is snuggle up in bed or sit around, sitting coffee or hot chocolate. If it’s warm, you want to be outside, enjoying the weather. However, I am going to write this weekend, no matter what.

Despite the setback, I feel like I have made progress. It’d be nice if I made more progress, but I feel like I am making some.

I just hope it all works out in the end.

I’m running my experiment for the second time. I didn’t announce the other time, in fear that it would be jinxed.

It feels good to be up and running. I am really starting to make some progress with my thesis. I’ve written about 2 pages (not a lot, but it’s a start) and my research assisstants are working out well. I’m glad to have their help; one of the things I’ve realized a while ago is that I can’t do everything myself. When only considering time, it’s impossible to get everything accomplished.

I think I’m at a good palce for my projected defensive date. At least I’m hoping.

Spring break is almost gone (one more day). I didn’t do anything glamorous, and I didn’t really break, but I feel sort of rested.

  • Research: The addition of the new kid, M, is good. He is quiet but works well, is intelligent, etc. He has come in at a good time, because my advisor has added on projects. We have density tested three various mixture, and I think we have a direction. The behaviors of our fluids were very strange; even something that we measured less dense than the background fluid somehow sunk. However, all these failings have prompted my advisor to realize we need a new direction, because his idea for the experiment simply does not appear to work. We’ve been working hard with the microscope (T, my significant other, has been working on that, since he’s much better with optics than I), and I think we’re making progress. We’re having a meeting on Monday, which I think will be good. It’s to introduce M to the lab people more and discuss the quarter’s plans.
  • Yoga: Yoga was much welcome return to my life. T and I went to yoga together. Despite being a complete newbie to it and rather inactive, he did well and better, enjoyed it immensely. He wants to start going weekly, which will be good for both of us.
  • Dance: I continued going to veil class. I ended up treating myself to a new veil, a subtle tie dye in fall leaf colors. It’s beautiful. I wanted to go to a second class today, but I had set my alarm for 5 AM, not 5 PM, so I overslept during my nap. After spending my evening here vs. going to a class, I decided that my body needed to rest more than it needed to move. Tomorrow, I will resume practice.
  • Volunteering: I try to volunteer once every two weeks at a hospice for Alzheimer’s patients. I pay several people visits. Only one lady can communicate with me, and she and another lady are the only ones who look at me when I’m in the room; the rest may react to me holding their hands. I find going to the hospice as means of putting my life into perspective; my life can always be worse. I also sometimes like talking about my problems to the one lady who looks at me but doesn’t speak. What I’m supposed to do is talk to them or watch TV with them (I watched Karate Kid Part III with one of them once).  I’ve started feeling less awkward around them, because I’m getting used to making one sided small talk. I think I’m getting better at it. The other good thing that has happened is I found the two people who look at me will look at photos with me. When I was telling one of them about my week (I took my female cat to the vet), I showed her some photos on my phone. She definitely looked at the photos on my phone and then looked at me. I’m planning on loading up my camera to show them photos of the cats and other stuff.

I wish I could’ve taken more time off, but that’s life. How was everyone else’s week?