Deliberate Practice: Becoming an Expert

Constant, albeit creepy, reminder for us scientists to practice wearing our Personal Protective Equipment. Photo by Gabriel Garcia.

“Practice makes perfect,” just one of many clichéd inspirational sayings anyone can find passing a Hallmark store. One of many iterations our parents continuously drill into our minds as we make our way through life.  Even though the phrase may have lost meaning through its advertisement in society, the message it carries still holds true and will probably continue to do so for the many years to come, until society transcends into the highest form of intelligence (if at all possible). Everything we do in our everyday lives requires practice; the theory of evolution, the progression of life itself, is an inherent form of practice (survival of the fittest, adaptation, etc.). Our species has evolved in technological, social, political and spiritual aspects through the use of practice.

Clearly, then, practice can be applied to almost anything, including our short-lived summer research in the field of cancer.

Scientists have dedicated their wholes lives to a single field in science and still come up short in understanding, so it would be rather arrogant to claim that we can become experts in the field of cancer by the coming month through “practice”. What I will suggest is that we can become experts of ourselves through practice; experts in being on time, in taking notes of your everyday methods and findings, even experts in managing our finances. Do not continue this journey with the mindset of just learning about cancer or proper cell culture techniques, learn about each of your own shortcomings and how to fix them through practice. This work ethic will diffuse into your lab work and everyday life, and make things easier to deal with. Of course, this is not to diminish the importance of improving lab techniques. We should all strive to continuously improve ourselves and our work ethics, as both ultimately affect the progress of our society and societal standards.

-Gabriel Garcia, The University of Texas at El Paso

Posted in 2017, learning, research

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