Sometimes we have a good month in the lab and sometimes we struggle. January had some great moments, but also involved more struggles than we’d prefer. We have had several pieces of equipment break down this month; one might suspect that there were timers to cause problems after all of the 1-year warranties had expired! But our cold room is repaired, a heating block has been replaced, a freezer is being replaced, and our hybridization oven is being repaired (soon, I hope).
And we have had a couple of lab members struggle with some molecular biology at the beginning of the semester. I think we have gotten through most of the trouble-shooting so fingers crossed for some research progress soon!
I try to be open with students about the struggle that is inherent in doing science and discovering new things. I try to emphasize that struggle and even the F-word (failure) are inevitable aspects of life, especially when one chooses a challenging profession. We try to focus in times like this on a growth mindset. I always hope that my students—as they overcome struggles (hopefully with enough support)—will develop resilience and self-confidence that they can make it through current and future challenges. I know that they are building skills, even in the frustrating parts of research, that will serve them well in their future endeavors, whether in research, medical professions, the classroom, etc.
So we’ve powered through a struggle month and are hoping for a fantastic February.