Updates, Thoughts, and Expectations

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since we’ve met as a group, and I am so excited to see you all tomorrow and hear about your current projects and endeavors.  These past couple of weeks have been very intense and exciting for me in terms of my research project, the Sleep Deprivation study.  It took me a while, but I finally feel comfortable assuming the role of a “leader” (I still write it in quotation marks out of habit) and taking this project off the ground with the help of my fellow lab members.  We ran several General Information screening sessions, and though we did not have many participants sign up, those who did expressed genuine interest in the study.  I also had the experience of screening the participants and determining their eligibility for the rest of the study based on their medical data.  The whole process of interacting with the participants and having access to their medical data while still maintaining their privacy and confidentiality taught me a lot about research ethics and the many delicate areas of research in general.

I must admit that it is sometimes hard to remain motivated when the study is moving at a rather slow pace.  When I said that these past couple of weeks have been intense, I mostly meant that the hardest part was actually beginning the data collection.  There were so many gray areas and uncertainties, and I often felt discouraged and overwhelmed at the sheer amount of organization and preparation that this study required.  However, with the help of my lab members (and a lot of practice running sessions), I became confident.  Now, the biggest issue is the lack of participant signups.  There is no one right answer; maybe it is still early in the semester, maybe the study seems intimidating, maybe the time slots and inconvenient…or maybe the majority of people are just not interested.  As a researcher, I hope that the last possibility isn’t true, but as a student, I do understand that most people who sign up for these studies just want the credits and do not necessarily want to commit to such an intense (albeit interesting) study.  Anyway, those are just my thoughts and concerns.  Many of us did not feel comfortable running sessions and assuming authority right away, and I think that it is perfectly normal to have doubts–but overcome them with time and exposure.

Anastasia Martinova