February 2020 Research Updates

February Calendar (January/March)
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This is an ongoing post of research updates during the month. Updates are provided every few days, and you can easily reach the update by clicking the link in the calendar.
2/4/20 – Leveling off after a bumpy start

Monday wasn’t the best day. I didn’t reach my timer goals, but I managed to make them up today while still managing six today as well. It makes me feel a bit better about the week. That said, I look at the progress I’ve made on these labs and it terrifies me. I spent all of today grading, even though I know I shouldn’t. Tomorrow I’m going to refocus on background review for comps. Jahnavi and I are trying to work together, each studying a different topic and coming together to discuss each with one another. The goal is to hold ourselves accountable while lightening the load a bit. That is, we each help in finding good sources for different topics.

I went ahead and started a few models to expand on the data I have. I am facing a serious problem with models in the 100s of ppt. I can’t figure out why the model doesn’t want to work, and I’m afraid it may take me spending a good amount of time troubleshooting it. There is also a problem with the data where it spikes at a certain depth for all my concentrations. I need to figure out why. Imagine the curve following a set path, then you take a slice and slide it to the right. That is basically what is happening at maybe 50 m depth for each depth.

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2/6/20 – Lab meeting, grading, and proctoring

Wednesday was a good day, spent grading, but productive nonetheless. I managed 6 pomodoro’s even after the lab meeting. Those labs are almost done. Although, now I have a new set. I think I am going to have to start logging exactly how much time I am working and even do grading on my own time. Honestly, I don’t mind tedious labs because I can listen to audiobooks while I go through numbers and one word answers, but short responses require I actually think about what they’re saying.

This weeks lab was on “Is it Science,” which is always fun. Of course, I would always refer the reader to Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark among other works by him. This also marks my last lab until lab 10, so that will help me moving forward (especially with LPSC around the corner).

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2/11/20 – Grading and Deceptacon (Visiting Atlanta)

I’m leaving to go to Atlanta tomorrow night for Deceptacon. It isn’t the best timing because I have so much grading to do on top of my proposal being due soon. I’ve been focusing mostly on the grading to get it out of the way. I’m also hoping to make time to get some grading done while I am away. Reading week will give me some time to get ahead in my grading.

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2/18/20 – Unproductive trip home

Sadly, this was not a productive trip home in any way. I didn’t get any grading done, and I never spent much time focused on my proposal. On top of all that, I fell behind on my Youtube and reading schedule too. You’d think a time away from work would mean I have more free time to do the things I like. Sadly, I just couldn’t get in the mindset to do it. It isn’t all bad, though. I had a lot of fun playing werewolf and seeing my friends. I actually got more sleep than normal too getting to be at ~10 PM the first night and ~12 AM the second night. Admittedly, I literally didn’t sleep the last night, but I knew I probably wouldn’t. That’s why I didn’t feel as bad missing time to play the first two nights to ensure I had a couple full nights rests. Now that I am back I have to refocus onto labs and proposal.

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2/21/20 – The Best WORST week of 2020

Everything is coming down to the wire. The astrobiology midterm is barely a week away, yet I am still behind on my labs. My proposal is due in like three days. You would think that these two deadlines would motivate me, but that just wasn’t the case. This all has me very anxious and stressed about all I have to do, and instead of working, I am doing less work than I normally do. Honestly, this has probably been the worst productive week this year.

Even outside of school, when I am at home I can’t help but stress about my lack of work at school and thus feel like I can’t stop and read. Of course, I don’t work, instead I just sit down and watch TV, and the result is that I end up reading next to nothing. That sucks because I like reading. It’s relaxing, educational, but it has also become a fantastic way of structuring my work-life balance. I’ll be relieved when this month is over. For now, it looks like I’ll be having a weekend of working from home.

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2/24/20 – Success

It took a lot of time, but I finished the proposal. I didn’t even have to postpone the deadline. I also finished one of the labs I have been grading which gives me time before I do the next one. I ended up tackling my proposal by asking which parts I had left. Then I made an item in my pomodoro timer for each section asking how much time each section ought to take. Then it shows me 1) how much I’ve done and 2) how much I have left. It really helped me focus, but it also kept me from focusing too much on minor sections that weren’t worth that much time.

In the end, I did ~30 pomodoros. With a daily goal of ~6-8, that equates to roughly 5 days of work. That doesn’t even include the time I spent grading. Obviously, this doesn’t change the fact that I have more to do. I still have to create updated drafts for the proposal and keep grading, but it is still a relief to be able to say I did what I needed to up to this point. It’s also nice to be able to look back on the work I did and quantify it. Sure, I had a bad week last week, but this pretty much makes up for it. That alone is helpful in breaking free of this spiral of stress and self destruction.

This week, I will finish another lab and hopefully get a final draft of the proposal finished too. Outside of school, I am working to make a final sprint of reading to make up, at least in part, for the sluggish couple weeks I experienced. I am hopeful moving forward that I will make good progress all around!

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