Today was one of those days where you are drawn in a million different directions, and yet somehow manage to get it all done. I’ve had this date circled on my calendar for weeks, as I agreed to step in and cover Dr. D’s classes while she was at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting in San Diego. Had it only been that simple!
Sure, I was prepared for the lab this afternoon. I should have been after Friday’s meeting with Heidi and her lab assistant Amanda, getting all the prep work done Saturday, and all my worrying yesterday. The plan was simple. Heidi and Amanda led the students in the Molecular Cell Biology lab through initial phases of a cloning project. All that remained today was purification of their PCR product, and then my part - helping them get their bacterial cultures going for the ligation and transformation steps to be done next Monday. I got the media made for them this weekend and rehydrated their strains today. Heidi gave me a last minute call from the San Diego airport to ask if everything was fine – yes, we’re good to go. Kinda reminded me of mom checking in to see how the babysitter was doing! The students did their work without incident and all work was completed ahead of schedule.
So what’s the big deal, you might ask? In the midst of it all, I had a report to generate for a state agency’s visit to campus, a prospective student and her family to speak with, several loose ends to attend to for my own class (related to the E. coli in vegetables project and the MRSA study), a SNCS meeting to plan for Thursday, preparations to follow up on for Homecoming this weekend, AND my dog needed a trip to the vet for a skin infection. I’ve never been known as being much of a multi-tasker, instead reminding folks of M.A.S.H.’s Colonel Winchester who famously said, “I do one thing, I do it well, and then I move on.” I find it hard to give my best effort when my mind is split among several needs.
The outcome? I managed to get everything done and get home early enough to empty my tail light of water (did I mention its been raining?). The student and her family were delightful, class preparation was easier than anticipated, planning for later in the week went very well, and I managed to get my faculty moving in the right general direction expected on their state agency report. My dog? Chili is now on antibiotic therapy.
Bottom line? We can do more than we think we can. Time spent helping a friend is never wasted. Everything got done without a panic, without anyone getting yelled at, without sacrificing one thing for another. I got to spend a fun afternoon with bright and talented college students, and you just can’t beat that. Maybe I’ll have to substitute more often!