It’s been a long week.  I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time in front of a computer fighting with R.  For the uninitiated, R is a statistics package which can invoke both satisfaction and swearing, the balance of each depending on your coding ability.  With help (and some swearing), I managed to analyse a dataset and use it to create a lovely model last week.  This week, I used the model and another dataset to predict other parameters and started analysing them.  It all looked good and I was feeling like I would end the week on a high – this was serious progress towards what will be the first paper from my PhD. Unfortunately, just as the clock was about to strike 5pm yesterday, I noticed something unexpected in the predictions.  Perplexed, I went back to the original model, ran some plots and saw a big problem that somehow managed to escape me in my joy at getting the model to work.  This means it’s back to the drawing-board with the model and that everything I did this week will have to be re-done when a new model is ready.

I’m feeling more philosophical about this now than I was last night.  I am slowly becoming more comfortable using R, I learned some new techniques that I will undoubtedly use again, and at least I noticed the problem before my supervisor, or worse, a journal reviewer.  Everyone has warned me that PhDs are full of setbacks – and with unprecedentedly bad weather and a plethora of broken equipment this summer, I have experienced this myself already.   However, it is still hugely frustrating!  Of course I’m sure I’ll be able to work through it and get the results I need, but I’ve decided I need to take a break from it to regroup first, so I’m going to ignore it until after the weekend.  Luckily, I have the excuse of a few things little jobs in the lab and field, as well as preparation for my first year viva, which is on Monday.

I think dealing with, and moving on from, challenges, delays and obstacles will be one of the most important things I take away from this project.  To do this though, sometimes you need a bit of space to think about something else for a while.  Maybe a couple of easy wins in the lab with help put me back on track?  If not, I’ll find solace in chocolate and cats.  Actually, that’ll probably happen regardless.

This entry was posted in Research life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s