I’ve completed two weeks at my summer placement now, so it’s about time I told you some more about it! I’m based in a lab in a hospital, working on diabetes research. I don’t know how much I can say about it on here, but it’s basically looking at how weight loss improves the health of type two diabetes sufferers. It is really good to think that stuff that I’m helping with might actually make a difference to real people with real lives who have to live with diabetes. I’m partnered with a PhD student and the first week basically consisted of him showing me everything he was doing and letting me have a go at a few things myself. As time’s gone on, I’ve been doing more and more things in the lab and have even done some of the simpler stuff on my own while he catches up with entering data into the computer and doing lots of the boring stats and things. It feels much better to actually be able to help rather than just slow him down, as I’m already so grateful to him for giving up lots of his time to take me through all his work.
All the people at the placement are brilliant and I get on so well with them. It’s just like one big group of friends and there are some hilarious conversations at lunch time! It makes all the difference really. I thought I would really struggle with, well, everything, actually but when I’m there I do enjoy it. Most of the time anyway. There are some bits that can be really boring and I struggle to find stuff to do, but I guess any job is boring at times and I’m learning that there are other things that I can fill my time with.
The thing I AM struggling with is being so tired all the time. I guess I am bringing it on myself a bit as I’m canoeing pretty much every day after work to try and get a bit of my fitness back from before I barely moved from my desk for two and a half months at uni. I just hate having to get up so early every day! A typical day goes something like this for me:
6:30 am – Wake up, go to the loo, get dressed.
7:00 am – Make and eat breakfast, make lunch, take a concoction of hayfever medicines (this is my first year of ever having hayfever and I suddenly see why everyone was making such a big deal of it before!), pack my semi damp canoe kit that hasn’t dried properly from the night before.
7:40 am – Leave for work in my car, become a Commuter Driver that has to be much more aggressive than my normal day to day driving self, get annoyed by other aggressive Commuter Drivers.
8:30 am – Arrive in a residential street as I’m not allowed to park in the hospital car park, fight amongst parents for parking spaces as there’s a school on the road, sit in the car for a few minutes so I’m not too early.
8:35 am – Start the 20 minute walk through a little wooded area with a nice stream running through it that comes out on the main road and walk through several car parks to the hospital building where I work.
8:55 am – Sit at a computer and
waste time read appropriate papers and articles until everyone else arrives.
9:20ish – 1pm – Carry out lab work/attend meetings/write up results/go on the computer etc.
1pm – 2pm – LUNCH!! Listen to hilarious conversations with people who have known and worked with each other for years and know exactly how much teasing they can take. There’s also sometimes some kind of scientific debate involving guessing how many calories there are in a large McDonald’s milkshake (3000!!!!! kcal, apparently, although I haven’t looked it up for conformation so don’t trust me on that) or something.
2pm – 5pm – Slightly less lab work and more writing up results and what we’ve done that day, reading papers and willing the time to go faster.
5pm – Walk back to the car, which seems to take twice as long as it does in the morning.
5:20 pm – Drive through lots of nasty traffic to the canoe club.
6 pm – Arrive at the canoe club, have a snack, get changed, sort out my boat etc.
6:30 pm – Train.
8 pm – After socialising a bit and sorting some things out, leave the canoe club.
8:20 pm – Arrive home 12 and a half hours after I left in a hungry, tired, smelly, wet heap.
8:20 pm – 9:30 pm – Eat tea, have a shower, dry my hair, wash my canoe kit, hang my canoe kit up to dry, flick through Facebook etc.
9:30 pm – 10 pm – Get ready for bed.
10 pm – Sleep.
Sooo, you can see why I’m a little tired at work. But I see that I choose to be tired by going training so much, so I can’t complain too much. It is pretty bad though – I actually have fallen asleep a few times at work! Don’t tell anyone!! It’s not like I’ve had my head on the desk, snoring, but more that I can’t keep my eyes open and I jerk awake when my head starts to fall forwards. We had a seminar yesterday when someone came in to give a talk on something or other and I was just having so much trouble staying awake. After my eyes closing a few times, I felt them go again and started to think that we should be given a lecture on how to stay awake in times like these. In my semi-asleep state, I began to think about how they might teach us to stay awake and I thought they would most likely tell us to recite something that we know in our heads over and over. So, I decided to start reciting the alphabet song. I got to ‘D’ and my head lolled backwards, instantly waking me up with my heart racing and me looking around slightly to see if anyone had noticed. I was thinking that the alphabet song was actually very soothing and sleep-inducing and I just realised tonight that that’s because it’s sung to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I essentially sung a lulluby to try and keep me awake. GOOD ONE, ALICE! I found out afterwards that it wasn’t just me that had been struggling, I think pretty much everyone had drifted off at some point or other!
Yes, my life’s pretty non stop at the moment. And will be for the next eight weeks. BUT I am meeting lots of new people, ‘networking’ with the right sort of people if that’s what I want to do after uni and am learning a tonne of stuff. And to be fair, I do prefer it when my life’s a bit on the manic side, but just maybe not THIS manic. I don’t really seem to get a rest – even my weekends are pretty choc-a-block. Take this weekend for instance, I’m meeting some juniors that I’m mentoring at the canoe club in the morning, then training, then going home and showering, then going to a barbecue to see lots of friends that I’ve seen for about 2 hours in the last three months, then coming home. On Sunday, I’ll be training in the morning then maybe seeing my Grandma in the afternoon. That gives me a few hours to recuperate for the next week of work.
So, anyway, that’s my life at the moment. Full to the brim. Hence the sparsity of the blog posts at the moment. There’s lots of stuff I’d like to write about, I just literally have no time to write it! And I’d actually like to congratulate you for getting through this mammoth post right here. Well done! You’ve earned yourself a chocolate biscuit. 🙂