04 February 2010

Make My Day

Wow. It's been a non-stop day.

8:45 AM: I arrive on campus. I head to my office, and turn on my computer. I head to the lounge to leave my lunchbox in the common refrigerator. Unable to wait for my computer to boot up (it's a 2005 laptop), I head to the library in the next building to check my email and respond to the important ones.

9:15 AM: I head to the ATM and withdraw a small amount of money intended for participant compensation that would last the whole day. I head to Lab A and get my folder where I keep my recruitment fliers, and walk all over campus, refilling the ones that are gone.

10:00 AM: I head to Starbucks and get a hot chocolate. I need an excuse to do so, as I don't do this often (not only is it calorie-filling, it's also 3 bucks a pop), but I need to break the twenty bucks I withdrew so I can pay people 5 bucks each when they come to lab. After getting my drink, I head back to Lab A and return the folder.

10:10 AM: I arrive at my office. I work on amending an experiment protocol that we currently have approved, since we are adding a new venue and a new subject pool to the experiment. Thus, instead of conducting the experiment just in Lab A, I can also conduct it in Lab B once the amendment gets approved.

10:36 AM: I am finished with the amendment, and emailed it to the reviewers.

10:45 AM: I head to class in another building.

12:00 PM: I get back from class, and check my email. I notice that the reviewers were quick to respond, and that they have no problems with my amendments. I now have my approval.

12:05 PM: Lunch in the lounge, while talking with two other graduate students about why I do not like to do fieldwork, and how I told someone interviewing me for an honor society that I wanted to do fieldwork in Zulu in the future. Totally false given where I am right now.

12:40 PM: I get back to my office, and print stuff for a meeting with my adviser.

1:00 PM: I head to Lab A to run an experiment for 30 minutes.

1:30 PM: I print legal forms for the experiment, so that they can be run in Lab B. 60 Informed Consent Forms, 30 Debriefing Sheets.

2:00 PM: I head to Lab B and install the experiment. I find out that the button boxes (weird experimental contraption that has just 5 buttons) do not work in Lab B, therefore the procedure has to be edited so that the experiment runs on button boxes in Lab A, but runs with just the keyboard on Lab B.

3:00 PM: The experiment finally runs on Lab B. I go ahead and print the tracking sheets and several other pieces of paper.

3:30 PM: Awesome friend calls and tells me we should go for coffee. Since I haven't caught up in a while with awesome friend, I accompany her. However, I already had my drink fix in the morning, so I was just an escort and not a customer.

4:00 PM: Back in Lab B, I finalize the folder that contains the legal documents, the storage for the data, and the tracking sheet. I email everyone in the lab about the particulars of the experiment, telling them that if there are any problems, they should email me. The experiment is due to start tomorrow first thing in the morning.

4:30 PM: I email everyone in my Tuesday Lab Meeting the paper that I am discussing. I also upload the paper to the common online folder that we all have access to.

5:00 PM: Little break. Chat with friends. Catch my breath.

5:30 PM: Meeting with the adviser. I manage to convince him that the second topic I plan to cover in my dissertation is worth doing. He finds the idea very interesting and cute. Discuss, chat, discuss, explain. Wash, rinse, repeat.

6:25 PM: Meeting adjourned.

6:30 PM: I head back to Lab A to run another participant.

6:50 PM: Participant finishes the experiment. I answer emails and write emails. Then I write a blog entry.

Which brings us to now. 7:09 PM.

(Jefferson Building, from my Library of Congress Series)


  1. I'm also powered by Starbucks these days. Actually, that's the only thing we bought when in Buffalo last January: a treat a Starbucks (the one downtown by the Courthouse).

    Try the vanilla latte... it may help on super long days like that!

  2. Zhu,

    Vanilla Latte, hmm, I usually go for the hot chocolate, as I don't go well with coffee at times, but I'll try it one of these days.