Ask the questions; the difficult ones, the ones that make you scratch your head and look at things from a different point of view. Ask the questions and don’t worry about the results. Your quest should be to find the answers, not what you think are ‘significant and positive’ results.
I think I may have gotten lucky with this lab. Of course it’s too early to say anything right now but the way this morning’s meeting went I felt remarkably luckier in comparison to some of my friends in the SOS side. Our lab has a high turnover for publications in high impact factor journals and the Head of the Department kept encouraging us all to try to get more publications for first authors out there. My thoughts on IFs aside (I think they are an archaic way of measuring well… impact), what he said about it was kind of nice.
This is the time for you to get papers out with your name on it. But bear this in mind that you graduating and completing your thesis and finishing it well is our first priority. If you happen to get a few publications out, good for you. If you don’t, it still doesn’t diminish your role as a scientist.
It was also interesting how he casually reminded us that we do not ‘extend’ our results as in do not plagiarise by making stuff up. According to him, even if you don’t get any ‘positive’ results that in itself tells us new things and no will deny you your degree for that as long as you have actually worked hard.
Remember that lone island remark I made earlier? Yeah he made the same reference as to why he wants these meetings to happen more. All in all it was a surprisingly entertaining Progress Report Meeting, especially with our visiting Professor from Japan telling us how lucky we are compared to his time as a student. I genuinely went into the meeting half-worried about my plasmids digestion (it digested, praise the enzymes!) and half tensed about speaking before a crowd. I left the meeting feeling weirdly energized to do science.