Books, Blue, and the Boy

Today I acquired a coffee maker. It makes five cups of coffee and I can program it to make coffee when I wake up. I wanted to find one of those pour over coffee filters, but I couldn’t… I’m not a huge coffee drinker (I prefer tea, because I can taste the different flavors better), but sometimes I just really crave some coffee flavored life… Luckily, I found out that making the coffee maker make 2 cups of coffee is actually the equivalent of one cup of coffee for me. So it all works out in the end. (I’m testing the automatic feature tomorrow morning… with any luck, I’ll wake up to the smell of coffee and not my apartment burning down).

I am now more than one week into grad school. The results of last week (and this weekend, because bacteria don’t recognize weekends): mutants! I managed to make three deletion (well, deletion in that we inserted kan resistance genes where the actual genes were supposed to be) mutants in B. subtilis. Also, I am getting better at saying subtilis the right way and not “sub-till-is.”

My dearly beloved person that I adore (also known as the boy) visited for the Labor Day weekend, so I got to enjoy dragging (not really, he went willingly) him to the bookstore, where we got matching copies of Dune (by Frank Herbert) and the Magicians (by Lev Grossman). We also somehow avoided going to the Iowa vs. Northern Illinois game… but were a little overwhelmed by the amount of black and gold downtown… This is very much a Big 10 town and I am terrified of how my little non-sporty self is going to cope (… maybe it’s time to wikipedia the rules of football…). My favorite geeky moment was probably finding a random conference room at Bowen and working out what relative percentages of blue caused by beta galactosidase cleaving X-gal to expect on my plates. Since the boy is a computer scientist (whose interests in biology tend toward the computational, conceptual, and/or neuroscientific areas), I got to practice explaining my work, which naturally helped a bit in me understanding what I am doing. The hardest part of being a rotation student is that I don’t quite feel like I’m doing science or contributing much intellectually. I feel like a pair of hands. Which is good in that I learn a great deal of techniques. But I also feel like I need to be doing more thinking than I actually am.

And so here I am. I just drank a cup of somewhat strong delicious chocolate raspberry coffee. I am reading about DNA replication, which is turning out to be one of my favorite things to study in detail. I am slightly overwhelmed by my journal club class – we’re focusing on regulation of enzymatic activity and bonding interactions and things like AraC… and enzymes and bonding are not my strongest suits. So it’s terrifying.

I feel a little bit of the “what if I’m not actually smart enough to be here” coming on, but I’m working hard to dispel self-doubts that are actually harmful. A little fear is a good motivator… but confidence is the best. (or something like that). and I may be procrastinating right now…so i should get back to reading…


ps. Currently reading Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman and it is fantastic! I have laughed so much while reading this book. While I don’t agree 100% with everything she says, it is a really fascinating read and she brings up relatable points! 


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