Summer to-do list

Though I haven’t blogged about it (and most likely won’t, at least not in the near future, because it’s not mine to blog about), I’ve spent a lot of this past year in a genomics lab, studying the evolution of the human Y chromosome (The X and Y chromosomes used to recombine, sharing information. While 5% still recombines, we can learn a lot by comparing the 95% that doesn’t.). One of the biggest things I’ve picked up from doing research (other than the fact that science does not always (or usually) cooperate—which really just means you need to cultivate patience and spend more time planning—, and the usefulness of laptop sleeves) is the value of lists—specifically, the value of to-do lists.

I maintain three levels of to-do lists: the first covers the entire procedure, with a vague picture of the programs I will need to use/write for each step; the second, more detailed one I build as I reach each step in the procedure; the third is for developing algorithms for larger programs.

I spent my last two summers volunteering at canoe camps, reading and programming, camping, canoeing and kayaking in slalom races, and occasionally reading ahead for the next semester—nothing that requires a to-do list. But this is the last summer before my first semester at MIT, and it’s already half over. So far I’ve worked in the lab and indulged in luxuries (reading, watching television, spending time with family, or doing absolutely nothing) I might have to relinquish, at least to some extent, when I leave in a month and a half. I’m also trying to fall into a diet (sans bread, pasta, fruit juice, or high-sugar (excepting fruit) foods) and exercise routine that I could maintain during the semester. Unfortunately, I haven’t been getting done a lot of what I want to get done. This, I think, warrants a to-do list for the rest of the summer:

  1. Complete the genomics project and subsequent paper.
  2. Get my driver’s license, stick shift.
  3. Fall into enough of an exercise routine that not spending an hour at the gym for a whole day feels ethically questionable.
  4. Write and submit to Brevity an essay on immigration.
  5. Adopt a sleeping schedule that does not involve blogging and watching Star Trek (both of which I am obviously not doing right now) after midnight.
  6. Learn to cook fast, healthy meals.
    1. Build a reservoir of recipes and a list of groceries I always need to have, and find a store near MIT that sells them (other than La Verde’s).
    2. Find a store that sells гречка (grechka; buckwheat) and колбаса (kalbasa; sausage) near MIT.
    3. Find a store that sells organic skim milk near MIT.
  7. Build an automatic water-changing system for my frogs.
  8. Improve my time management “skills.”
  9. Post pretty vacation nature photos on deviantART.
  10. Post pretty vacation videos on YouTube.
  11. Learn to solve the Rubik’s cube.
  12. Review Spanish.
  13. Edit my essay on the amphibian extinction crisis. Send it to local newspapers and radio stations to spread awareness.
  14. Read Gel’fand’s Lectures on Linear Algebra.
  15. Read that Russian sci-fi book my dad recommended.
  16. Watch Battlestar Gallactica.
  17. Watch, in this general order, at least some of the following documentaries on Netflix: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Journey of Man, The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, Science of the Sexes, Nova’s What Are Dreams?, Capitalism: A Love Story, Born Rich, Life in the Undergrowth, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Blue Planet: Tidal Seas/Coasts, Physics: The Elegant Universe and Beyond, The End of Suburbia, Frontline: Is Wal-Mart Good for America?, Frontline: Bush’s War, Frontline: Sick Around the World, The Power of Nightmares, The Expanding Universe, Promises, Inside North Korea, In the Womb, National Geographic: Volcano, The Corporation, Radio Bikini, The Botany of Desire, Evolution, Maxed Out, Art & Copy, The Atheism Tapes, King Corn, The Business of Being Born, I.O.U.S.A., Wild China, Ballerina, Touching the Void, A State of Mind, and The Cutting Edge: Magic of Movie Editing.

(Edit: I noticed, two days after posting this, that all my links were dead. Apparently Microsoft Word quotes are not actual quotes, and do not react well to html. Please, to save the world’s links from Microsoft-related slaughter, let’s all switch to TextWrangler.)

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~ by science cow on July 18, 2010.

4 Responses to “Summer to-do list”

  1. Wow wow wow, goodness me, you are far more hardworking and ambitious than I can ever be. The only things we have in common are a love for sci-fi and learning/reviewing Spanish (I’m taking Spanish 1 at PSU this summer). Otherwise, when I’m not practically being a maid in my own house, I’m a hopeless drooling fangirl who has no motivation to write essays or solve Rubik’s cube. 😛

    • I don’t have enough motivation, either–that’s why I made this list. =p

      I’ve been fangirling quite a bit, too, but after Spock. He’s my desktop background, and I’m buying posters with his face on them for my dorm room. I’ve seen the latest Star Trek movie (while programming or writing, so it’s not completely lost time) at least a dozen times. My dad thinks it’s unhealthy; I think I’m in love.

  2. I learned how to solve a Rubik’s cube in my first year at college and I went about it the easy, formulaic way. For the longest time, I tried to develop my own method, but I just couldn’t.

    As for time management skills, you pretty much double your capabilities in the first week because you have to plan your schedule to maximize study time, social time, and utility. Oh, and we can’t forget sleep…

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