Friday, December 29, 2006

Apply Yourself

I give you the first paragraph of my admissions essay, what has been stealing my writing energy away from my dear petri dish for the past few weeks. Also, what is really nice is that this is how I really feel, its not just fluff.

The PCR* worked. The band is the size that we expected and it is clear and bright. I have learned that even if you are weary from unexplainable failure, or bored by repetition, it is critical to maintain an optimistic mindset when setting up a PCR. Always expect it to work. Of course, there may be times when certain factors heighten your expectations, for example: this specific collection of variables has worked before, or it has worked in a very closely related species, or these primers are excellent matches to the known sequence. But even in the absence of such favorable conditions, you must operate on the energizing assumption that your reaction will succeed and that it may ultimately contribute to something far vaster than the small .2-milliliter tubes before you. Connecting the minute actions of setting up a PCR with the larger research goal is what keeps me pipetting again and again and again. Each time with the patience and precision (and hope) needed for it to work and to leave my hands and it take its place as part of the collective advancement of understanding in biological anthropology.

*PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction, something we set up in the lab a few times a day, aimed at gathering genetic sequence information.

1 comment:

  1. That was my favorite post yet. Have you thought of publishing your writings as a journal or a yearly memoir? You have so much to say. your point of view reminds me of that french girl Amelie. It's not like anything I have ever experienced.