How do we measure success and productivity? In science, progress is (most often) measured by the number of publications on an annual basis. This relies upon the synthesis of ideas as a result of vigorous hypothesis testing, data collection and analysis. All of this would be nearly impossible if a scientist lacked the skills and ability to coherently link together information in a meaningful way. Most often, success and productivity in science can be directly traced to writing ability or the lack thereof. I attended a fantastic workshop session at recent conference this past year. The presentation was chaired by the editorial committee of a well known publication in the field of aquatic sciences. As a student without an official submitted publication, it is a daunting task to consider all the details in this process. It was an informative and highly interesting workshop nontheless. Although the goal of publication seems distant, it will be fast approaching and I welcome the challenge to produce a relevant contribution to my field of research.
Now that I’ve officially begun my doctoral studies, I’ve found some enormous holes in my organizational system. I am extremely organized but despite what I thought was efficient, I have come to discover that I need to streamline my efforts to make effective use of my time. Take for instance, one’s working space. It’s important to find a ‘work flow’ in both a wet lab space (where experiments are conducted) as well as your reading/desk space. It takes a while when you move to a new location to define how you will use your space. In science, creating a work space where you can think, problem solve, write and still remain alert is challenging. It requires thought and sometimes ingenuity on the part of the scientist. Luckily that is a skill we frequently have. And for many of you, distractions are rampant. Therefore, if you need to focus (as I do) an uncluttered space is a priority. So, the ongoing saga of desk space continues. As a graduate student, you’re lucky to get what you can, so make the most of it! Make it work so that you can come in everyday and enjoy where you plant yourself.