Inspiration from the Lab: Persistence

As part of my University degree, I am doing a placement year in a developmental biology lab. I started three weeks ago and I am going to pretend to be a real life scientist for the next full year. Quite scary if you ask me, but that’s for another post.

Today, I wanted to start a sort of series that I will call “ Inspiration from the Lab”. The idea behind this came…eh.. yeah… from the lab, as so far two things that are related to the lab have made me think about life. Transferring knowledge between areas is (according to our career service at University) a good skill to have, so combining ideas from the lab into more general life concepts sounded like a fantastic idea to me.

First one: Persistence

A little bit of background: the lab I am working in has had some problems growing cells the last three months. The problem seems to be found as the cells have survived this week. (YAY!) While looking at the cells and being satisfied that the cells aren’t dying my supervisor said that the lesson you can take from science is persistence. Her supervisor used to claim that the one lesson you should take from working in a lab should be the ability to ask a scientific question, but she disagrees and says that persistence is the key and that if you don’t have this attribute science is not for you. Loving a year in a lab after everything ran smoothly and thinking that you loved it, can be an illusion.  Only after having gone through failure at experiments and not losing your mind about it, you can really tell if you love it or not.

Obviously, there will be times when the experiments have to be dismissed, but the thing here is that you can’t stop at the first obstacle and that if you want to achieve something you have to be persistent in what you are doing!

And this is a lesson that you can take to any area of your life. Be it writing a blog, being in a relationship, doing a project, educating your kids, keeping your kitchen clean, sports, diets, trying to achieve gender equality, learning a new language, learning how to draw, learning how to breakdance,yeah, pretty much everything.

And I should be the first student to this lecture. Reflecting upon this theme, I realise that the not-so-successful things in my life actually fail due to a lack of persistence. I just give up mid-way at the point when it gets tiring. Sometimes I even stop before the start line. And I am shouting at myself, asking WHY; why am I doing that. Why am I not taking my ideas and floating motivation and racing forwards with confidence and dedication in my hands to reach for the end-line. We all know that life is too short and that you should live it at your fullest and yet we give up or don’t even take the courage to go for it. To try it out. One of the answers is going to be that these things require energy and “work” from your part, even if it is something that you actually enjoy doing, continuing your action is a hard step. For example the idea of sitting down at my white desk and writing posts seems lovely to me, but actually sitting down and starting the action of writing to continue this project stops requires effort and it is so much easier for me to just sit down and scroll through my social media. So I am going to take advise from my supervisor and apply the attribute of persistence into my life a bit more. Hopefully, my work in the lab will inspire me to be more persistent in my personal life. Let’s plant some seeds, and be persistent in the watering process!


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