prior to class yesterday, my friend L and i were talking about how a school in massachusetts recently replaced its library books with an interactive digital learning center.  the conversation centered around how reading has always ruled our lives, and how books have always been a source of comfort.  even as children, going to the library was fun and exciting – there were so many options and so many worlds to explore!  i also mentioned that i love libraries because everything is cataloged, organized, and clean.  L asked if that’s when i knew i was a type A personality.


i’ve recently discovered the library on campus.  you see, in my undergraduate university, there were no science books in the library.  there was fiction, political science, art, history, you name it – but no science.  and so i avoided the library at all costs (it was also on the other side of campus from the science building).

i started visiting the campus library this past summer, and was thrilled to find out that new policies have gone into effect, such that graduate students are allowed to keep books for a year.  a whole year!  music to my ears.  since then i’ve amassed mountains of books pertaining to my research, and while i’m not sure if i’ll ever read them all, just knowing they’re there is comforting.  i’ve also taken out guilty pleasure books – books on mountaineering, politics, and fiction – loads of fiction.

i recently went to the library in search of a particular text relating to neurochemistry and molecular neurobiology (nerd alert!) and had trouble finding it.  the librarian found it for me, and as i was going through the check out process, she started telling me how she’s been reading about neuroscience ‘for fun’ since the 1960’s.  we talked about the field, the diseases associated with it, and the opportunities for research.  and then she said to me “thank you.  thank you so much for what you’re doing – your time and effort and dedication is going to make a difference”.

i teared up.  i said thank you.

and i walked out of the library incredibly humbled and eager to get back to the lab.



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6 responses to “gratitude

  1. that’s fabulous! a little appreciation goes a long way… and makes it a bazillion times easier to put up with the boneheads and bureaucratic barriers that make us want to quit… if i didn’t believe in the value of the research i orchestrate? i couldn’t do it…

    • i agree – it’s amazing how the motivation can come from the strangest places. while my research is considered by some to be ‘hobby science’ (ie it affects very few people), it translates to major neurodegenerative diseases – which is a huge motivator.

  2. Wonderful. So often we get blinkered by our job and we don’t see the wider picture of how it affects other people. My personal interest in medical research is neuro-muscular although anyone doing lab work in any “Neuro” field has my respect.

  3. kakulas has some interesting research coming out of his lab. i find neurodegenerative disorders fascinating – i just wish they didn’t affect the people we love.

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