Wednesday, 27 August 2008

A Day in the life of... me.

Thought I'd go a bit personal for once, and tell you a bit about myself and what I'm doing at the moment. What's it like being the UK's only Stand-Up comedy Neuroscientist trying to write a thesis that summarises 3 years of his life? Well, it's hard to describe. But here's a run down of a typical day in my life at present. It's happening now, so it's technically news, and its got science in it, so the integrity of the Blog is maintained.

  • 7.30 am - Alarm goes off.
  • 7.50 am - Alarm goes off for 3rd time. I take the hint and get out of bed.
  • 8.13 am- Wander round flat in mild daze. Turn on PC with important thesis documents. Remember that I've already turned on laptop for similar reason. Turn off laptop, as that allows me to write on bed or comfy chair, which doesn't count as work.
  • 8.15 am - Boil Kettle. Eat fancy fruit and oat based breakfast my wife made the previous night and left in the fridge.
  • 8.27 am - Try to decide whether or not to go into work or stay home, as I'll be doing the same thing either way, the only difference is staying home means I can work in my pants.
  • 8.28 am - Check weather. Rain. Decide to stay home, taking advantage of the situation where this is an option, which may never occur again.
  • 8.57 am - Realise that writing a thesis in my pants just feels wrong. Decide to go for shower.
  • 9.04 am - Shower suddenly turns freezing cold due to problem with temperature gauge. Stand shivering for several minutes.
  • 9.15 am - get dressed and boil kettle, realising I had done so an hour ago then forgot. Curse myself for wasting energy.
  • 9.17 am - Sit down to start a proper session of thesis writing.
  • 9.34 am - Finish solitaire game, really decide to start work.
  • 9.50 am - Nothing in email inbox or any messages on Social network sites. work can begin.
  • 10.04 am - Three paragraphs done. Time for a break.
  • 10.15am - Re-read previous paragraphs, delete two as they are meaningless.
  • 11.45am - Three paragraphs done again, pretty much the same as before but with words rearranged a bit.
  • 12.05pm - Insert Bar graph
  • 12.12pm - Realise Bar Graph is wrong, remove and start again.
  • 1.23pm - Finally find relevant Excel document, re-do bar graph.
  • 1.35 pm - Realise that the changes to the graph mean the results come out differently, the result is now significant rather than non-significant. This necessitates a complete reworking of the previous two sections. Cry for a bit.
  • 2.00 pm - Funny gurgling sound. Stomach. Lunch.
  • 2.30 pm - Realise my Blog hasn't been updated for over 24 hours. Feel guilty about not doing thesis, but convince myself writing about Science is still work. Check BBC website for interesting Science news. Main story is something about snails. Decide this is too boring, decide to write about myself instead.
  • 2.36 pm - Realise that writing about myself is more boring than snails. Console myself with the fact that nobody will see it, probably.
  • 2.45 pm - Back to thesis.
  • 2.55 pm - Realise that the altered results demonstrate an exploratory strategy that could be based on awareness of simultaneous changes of spatial and temporal contexts rather than one integrated spatiotemporal context, which still suggests a system dependant on configural learning strategies. Do a little dance in awe of my brilliance.
  • 3.05 pm - Realise that this result means my original hypothesis is actually wrong. Confidence ebbs again,
  • 3.55 pm - Type " 'Jobs for PhD Neuroscientists' + Comedian " into Google: No hits. Fear creeps in.
  • 4.23 pm - Check overall progress. 2 more pages in 6 hours. Oddly pleased by this.
  • 4.56 pm - Change the font of the entire thesis. It is now 4 pages longer. This counts as progress.
  • 5.03 pm - Guilt proves too much, change font back. Think about making dinner.
  • 6.02 pm - Staring blankly at screen proves too much, headache builds. Go to kitchen. Make dinner based on usual strategy of combining ingredients found in fridge/freezer/cupboard.
  • 6.40 pm - Wife returns home after 8 hours working and 2 hour commute on train. Guilt increases.
  • 7.30 pm - Finish dinner. Return to thesis, newly motivated, and churn out 5 pages in less than an hour.
  • 8.30 pm - Re-read previous text. All gibberish. Spend another hour re-wording it.
  • 9.45 pm - Finally feel like I'm making genuine progress. Someone sends me email asking about gigs. Spend another hour in online conversation concerning this.
  • 10.50 pm - Feeling productive and tired. Churn out another 5 pages of meaninglessness which will have to be fixed when I start again tomorrow.
  • 11.10 pm - Bed.
  • 12.40 am - Fall asleep after spending the last 90 minutes thinking about the significant effect of spatiotemporal manipulations on hippocampal damaged subjects and worrying about what the hell I'm doing with my life.
And that's how we write a thesis.

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2 comments:

Pete C said...

15.30 Read Dean's blog.
15.32 Have a bourbon biscuit.
15.35 Google "Jobs for PhD Neuroscientists' + Comedian"
15.36 Write on Dean's blog that the first page that comes up when you google "Jobs for PhD Neuroscientists' + Comedian" is his blog.
15.37 Try to deal with it all.

Chris said...

yeah that all sounds fairly standard :).

It eventually goes away though, thank god.

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