I want to write something tonight because I have a mild headache and I’m in a crabby mood.

I get this a lot and it’s always something along the lines of “where do you get your motivation from?” or “how have you stayed so passionate for one thing for so long?” And weeks like how I’m feeling today, to tell you the truth, I have no motivation at all. I have yet to find a solid therapy for days where I just want to sulk in bed with a popsicle and Pokemon. Motivation is such a hard thing to find and such an easy thing to lose. 

I know a plethora of young adults similar to myself who are frightened at this concept of commitment. It’s weird because I’ve always enjoyed commitment. I like to know that something is there and it is there to stay. I like to take what I like and put my heart and soul into it. I rarely change my mind. In fact, I hate change. I think that is such a silly thing for me to say because part of what I want to do with my life involves changing people’s lives. Anyway, I think it’s easier to think of it not as commitment, in fact, determination, motivation and drive doesn’t have to stem from any sort of commitment for one particular subject area. Like I said before, maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being like me, or you are scared shitless and don’t know what the heck to do with your life. Either way, there is so much knowledge in the universe to be understood, so many things waiting to be discovered, so many ideas waiting for the right mind to conjure up, so many beautiful things to enjoy in every crevice of this world. All you have to do is keep going. I don’t know what more motivation people need than just to sit under the night sky and realize how small you are and how much more there is to discover in a world so colossal. I guess it’s part of the reason I like living in big cities. 

My motivation for science comes from diverse sources. But one of the main things is just my desire to know more. There is so much to learn in this world, it makes my heart swell. I want to understand it all, I want to be part of it all, then maybe one day, I will discover something new.

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Random, casual picture of my living room?!! Anyway, moving on… oh wait, you can see my dad’s cucumbers growing on the balcony.

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So we decided to make “teriyaki” chicken, which turned out to be more just like “chicken on top of rice with some green onions for visual appeal” but it was super tasty. Here’s a picture of our chicken marinating. Note my empty fridge. Whenever I tell people that my fridge is empty and there’s nothing to make, they don’t believe me. Well….here is the evidence. We also decided to make this red velvet fruit cake minus the red food colouring. So technically chocolate cake. I never knew red velvet was chocolate with red colouring. I thought it was some next fancy shit. CLEARLY NOT.

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Making le choco cake from scratch in a ghetto pot because we didn’t have a mixing bowl.

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We also didn’t have an electric mixer thing for the icing, so we improvised….a little. We had to fill up the bathroom sink with hot water, and then let our bowl of cream cheese and butter set sail to soften. And then pass it all through a potato masher instrument/device. Bless our souls.

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Here’s a picture of the almost finished cake product! + my beautiful fruit arranging techniques. A++++++++ I think this cake was my best baking venture/attempt yet. I say this because it’s good enough that I’ve been eating it on a daily basis.

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And here’s a picture of the finished chicken :D NOM.

i has boob.
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i has boob.

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His name is peep🐀
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His name is peep🐀

#hi jenny! hope you don’t mind if I reblog this #I know you’re going through some hard times but I find your singular self determination quite inspiring #I hope I can similarly pursue an area of interest with such commitment and passion #when I figure my shit out #the last line is the most valid thing I’ve heard about success. - elysiantears

Hey! Oh my gosh, I had so much trouble trying to read the hashtags when I realized I could just go on your blog to see it all. I was having such a shitty day. This made me really happy. Thank you :)

I think you will be amazing. I’m excited to see the way your future will unfold because you’re very unique. Good luck with the rest of high school :P and keep blogging because I read it all :D

(I’m posting this because I rarely get a compliment like this hahahaha.)

These past few weeks I’ve thoroughly immersed myself into the project that I am working on at the moment. Not only because I want to have my work published, but I want to be a primary author, or coauthor of the paper. 

My dad asked me why I was working so hard when I could go work with him and get my name on one of their papers quickly and easily. But I think there is such a huge difference between getting something through connections compared to getting something as a reward for hard work. I am lacking in things I can genuinely be proud of. The work my current boss does is not exactly close to the type of research I want to do in the future but I think it’s all so interesting and exciting so it’s not bad in any way. Also, I’m happy that I am able to work completely independently on my own project with the possibility of publishing everything I’m doing within a year’s time. I think this way, I gain a lot more through trial and error and just all the typical mistakes and hardships one would typically face in a lab setting. It’s really easy to memorize protocols and do stuff but it’s really hard to get things perfect enough for publishing. It’s hard to come up with original solutions when you’ve exhausted every banal quick fix. It’s even harder to conjure up innovative novel ideas. It’s why I’m at the lab from 9-6/7 and work right through weekends on a similar schedule. It’s also confirmed I will be working on my project through the school year as well which is exciting because I don’t really know how school is going to be for me and the lab is somewhere I feel completely comfortable.

It’s so tough. I mean I’ve done many westerns. Since grade 10, I’ve done westerns. You’d think it’s easy by now. And sure, it is, in some respects. I no longer forget things, I can make the gels blindfolded. But to get beautifully perfect bands… Oh my god. You think you’ve solved one problem, and another emerges. It’s crazy. You realize eventually: Everything must be perfect.

In addition, I’ve witnessed some really hard working people. I mean, there are a lot more people who don’t give a shit, but when you start working on weekends regularly, you begin to see who’s what kind of person. There are a few people I’ve seen that come in every weekend and always work super late as well. They make you open your eyes to the fact that you can definitely push yourself harder. They motivate you in some ways. You see what kind of person gets into U of T’s MD/PhD program. You become that person naturally.

I think it’s good for me. Especially now that I’m heading into university, seeing graduate students regretting their lives, makes me know that every moment matters. Every opportunity matters. And that sometimes you absolutely must make your own opportunities because they rarely come knocking at your front door. Time wasted is time you’ll never get back and sometimes you must feel vulnerable and hopeless and angry and frustrated to be able to learn. Passion is only fifty percent of the battle, the rest is hard work. I used to think that because I was so passionate about the things I wanted to do that I was guaranteed a place in this world to do it. But the uncertainty of it all is so frightening now, there is no choice but to work like it’s the last thing you’ll ever do.

So I woke up at 8:30 am this morning and felt the need to go back to the lab to finish up what I was doing on Saturday.

I get off the bus at Eglinton. I forget my access card. This would be okay if it was a weekday but it’s the weekend. So I bus back home. Grab my access card, go back.

I get there. Did some calculations. Started to set up my westerns. Realized we were out of running buffer. The recipe on the container was messed and pretty much I had no idea how to make running buffer/I googled but didn’t know where the stuff was. Long story short, I figured it out eventually, but I couldn’t find masks anywhere and inhaled an amount of SDS worth a lifetime. Great. Legit took me an hour to figure out.

Moving on. I prepared my samples from my lysis on Saturday. Set up six westerns gels. Started loading my samples and the sample decides to float out of the well. This normally doesn’t happen. 

So I did some troubleshooting. At first by myself.

My initial reaction was that my samples were too sticky because my boss doesn’t want me to centrifuge my samples. Normally you centrifuge your samples, because the stickiness is due to DNA and you can pellet that out by centrifugation. But I thought it was strange that my samples were still “sticky” because I upped my lysis buffer volume from 150uL to 230uL. The stickiness was resolved at 200uL but I still decided to up to volume just to be absolutely sure. So vortex my samples some more to mix. Still doesn’t work. I tried my other samples. They all floated out of the wells.

So I text my boss to see if I could run my samples through a syringe. See, you lose a lot by doing that, so I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to. She told me to add 50uL more of my sample buffer, reboil my samples, and that I shouldn’t do the syringe thing on my own. So I try to reboil my samples. (I only did 6 to see). The dry bath broke down right then and there. So then, I was on a mission to find another dry bath. After another good amount of time, it still didn’t work. 

At this point, there was another summer student at the lab so I asked him. He “supervised” me while I ran one of my samples through a syringe. Annoying as shit process. Still didn’t work.

His girlfriend suggested I add 1:1 water to my sample buffer to see if that was the issue. Even the water mixture floated out. Hinting that my sample buffer was somehow contaminated.  Then she suggested I reboil my samples and not put them on ice. Didn’t work. 

At this point, I call my dad because it was already the afternoon, I had already spent a majority of my day there fucking troubleshooting, I was not about to leave empty handed. He did a good amount of yelling at me with regards to precision when it comes to lab work and hung up on me eventually.

Feeling like all 18 of my samples were about to go down the garbage chute (12 of which were my siRNA knockdown plus the protein concentrations were perfect this time around), I burst into tears.

I look up feeling like there was too much liquid on my gloves. My nose was bleeding uncontrollably. So I bleed out for a good 30 minutes in the bathroom and at this point I wanted to go home so badly. I was just done with life. But I realized I had everything still out I had to clean up and my nose still wouldn’t stop bleeding. And then I realized one of my samples was still boiling, and it had already been close to 40 minutes, I’m panicked. I legit run around the lab, still bleeding uncontrollably, clean up with one hand, and run back to the bathroom to try and stop myself from bleeding. Thank god it was a Sunday, the women’s bathroom looked like someone died in the sink.

I go home. Depressed. Sleep. Wake up. Looked up the composition of the sample buffer. Glycerol is the stuff that makes the samples heavy enough to sink into the wells. Went back to the lab at 10:00 pm. Put 50uL of glycerol in my samples.

And it worked.

So fucking stupid. Whoever decided to contaminate the sample buffer and not say anything. 

(But while I was there, I found that two of my samples wouldn’t freeze meaning they must have been contaminated with ethanol or something of the sort.)

Please promise me that you will work really hard and be successful and happy and have everything that you’ve ever wanted. 

It makes me sick to know that you’re not happy with yourself right now and that there’s nothing I could possibly do to alleviate your frustrations. But you still have so much time and so much potential. Please, please promise me you will try your best, and in four years, when I talk to you again, you’ll be happy. Promise me that. 

In four years, I want to be in medical school. But I can’t be happy unless you are too. We’ll both work really hard, okay? In four years, I want to hear about all the amazing opportunities you’ve been presented with. I want to hear how excited you are. I want to hear you tell me how happy you are again. Promise me you will.