For my project, I wanted my question to be relevant to our everyday lives. I wanted to use this opportunity to gain an insight on us ordinary humans so that my heartless fly-killing would have been for a profitable cause. But where to begin? Well, I’ve always had an interest in psychology and emotions, so what better topic to investigate than the impact of caffeine on our mood? Many of us consume copious amounts of caffeine every day through the miracle beverage that is coffee. Could this common drink have more insidious effects on our temperaments than we might think, or does it have even more hidden benefits than we give it credit for? We’re about to find out in the exciting weeks to follow. I will be giving my flies different concentrations of caffeine and comparing their “mood” (measured using the centrophobism and social space assays) to see if caffeine has an effect on their emotions and, if so, in what ways. By the end of my soon-to-be-groundbreaking project, we’ll hopefully have a better idea of whether or not we should feed ourselves and our precious pet flies that much caffeine.
“But Abby,” you ask, “what about the past few weeks, before you started working on your caffeine project? What have you been doing? We’re all dying to find out!” As Oscar Wilde once said, experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. So here’s where we get to the good part — I’m about to share with y’all my “experiences,” a.k.a. failures. My first few weeks at TRIP have been incredibly fun, but full of stumbles and errors. First, I’ve just realized that I forgot to put a title for my previous blog post, so Dr. Purdy (I assume) has kindly come up with a beautiful title for me, which I will be forever grateful for. Believe it or not, that wasn’t my biggest misstep in my adventures so far — for example, I have killed more flies by accident than I care to admit by crushing them with the funnel or the cotton plug. Even more impressive was my failure to label my vials completely, which led to a moment of complete dread and utter terror as I realized that my experiment might have been for nothing because I couldn’t tell which vials were wrapped in aluminum foil. (Fortunately, flies tend to copulate much more in the dark, so we figured it out. Whew!) All in all, it was a learning experience to say the least. But you know what? I was glad for my mistakes, and I’m not just saying that because it’s some cheesy moral of the story. Now I’ll forever remember the importance of proper labeling, the nuances of presenting data, and the value of thinking for a whole minute before doing anything rash in the lab. Still, I’d like to believe I’m slowly becoming more adept at handling flies, solutions, and micropipettes, but none of it would have been possible without the patient guidance of Dr. Purdy, Dr. Leystra, Dr. Gardiner, and Ms. P. I’ve learned so much in just a few weeks’ time, and even if I had 10 pages to reflect on it all, it probably wouldn’t have been enough. I can’t wait for what the second half of TRIP will hold in store for me, so stay tuned for the next episode of my grand journey in a world of flies and caffeine!