I spent the day at home so I could quietly work on my poster and my upcoming committee meeting. That was, in fact, what I did all morning. By the afternoon, I got caught in several snares of things that need to be urgently debugged. On the one hand, it’s really great that my software is being used; the more people who use it, the faster we find bugs and the better the software becomes. On the other hand, I’m busy, and the three hours of debugging modifying code were not exactly welcome interruptions. My poster is just a skeleton and there are a lot of images left to be done.
Sometimes I wonder if I’d be better off writing “one-off” scripts like other grad students, and not sharing them with the world. Certainly it would be easier, in that no other grad student I know spends as much time working with the staff to build tools – and they’ll all probably graduate before I do.
On the other hand, it’s just not something I can bring myself to do. One-off software is just so wrong for so many reasons.
In terms of managing my time better, I’m not sure today was a win, but at least I made progress on all fronts. I just wish I’d made more.
If there is a lesson to be taken from this, however, it’s that I should have done my code in perl, because then everyone else would be able to fix the bugs they find… but that would also have been wrong for so many reasons.
Alas, my 9th Grade history teacher, Mr. Neudorf, tried to teach me this lesson. “Going above and beyond the expectations in order to do something well is a bad thing.” (He gave me a D on an assignment where I clearly did well, just to illustrate his point.) Fortunately, the only lesson I took away from that was that marks aren’t a good measure of anything in particular, and that teachers don’t always have their pupils best interests at heart.
Fortunately, it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for doing things well – and here I am, still trying to do things well. If I had only learned what Mr. Neudorf had tried to teach me I’d be that much closer to graduating. DOH!