I am a computational biologist which means I work on computers to understand biological phenomenon. More precisely I am a molecular modeller, I model large macromolecular protein complexes and perform molecular simulations. What I mean by saying this is that I don’t work with chemicals, live tissues or micro organism in an experimental lab. I have very little lab experience due to my undergrad degree which was in 2006 almost 7 years ago. But recently I was advised by my supervisors to do some lab work as well, on some of the questions roused on the predictions I made on a protein complex. This work could be easily done by someone else from my collaborator’s group but it was me who was chosen. The reason behind this is that it will enhance my understanding of molecular biology experiments which may help me in future to collaborate with the experimental biologist better.
At first I got excited and thought it will be a new feather in my cap and I will be amongst few who can do the computational and lab work both. But just in few days of lab work (which is not as exciting as the computational work to be true) I feel that I am way away from my comfort zone. Sometimes I feel like I am not a PhD student but an undergrad who is taking his first practical lessons. I was so happy with my computational work everything was just one click or few commands away from me. I could run programs on a workstation, on a webserver even on a supercomputer without much effort. It seems like I was on the sky of the computational biology and now I am in the valley of the experimental biology. I realize how difficult it is to move out of your comfort zone, its not like I have done this for the first time, moving from India to UK in itself was a big change. But I also realize that until and unless you step out of your comfort zone and attempt to do something different you will never grow in your life. So life has given me another opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, build my skills and see things with a different perspective.
At this point I remember a quote from the movie Robin Hood 2010
“Rise and rise again until lambs become lions” i.e. never give up.