Oh, research. The bane of every graduate science student. So important to the field… your chance to make your mark, to find something incredible… and then you have to do stupid, crazy or maybe even painful or dangerous things.
So many scientific inquirers test out their theories on themselves before testing subjects. Myself and my colleagues did in my graduate research study. We were looking to find functional tests that could predict the ability of an elderly person to climb stairs. So we tested out a bunch of functional tests. That wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was researching why this was important– community access and emergency safety of the elderly. So, I bravely volunteered to climb to the top (and back down again) of the local assisted living community… which happened to be housed in a turn of the century hotel that was 18 stories tall. So up I merrily went… in an unventilated emergency stairwell… in the middle of a sweltering 100+ degree day. I say merrily… I was probably merry until I hit the 3rd floor. By the time I got back down again, I was close to a heat stroke. What did I learn? There is no way an older person can climb down 18 flights of stairs and not have difficulty. Aren’t we all more informed now? Haha.
So, next time you get asked to participate in a research study, smile and ask what’s involved and then participate if you at all possibly can. It will make a graduate student’s day!
Also, take the time to thank any researchers you know!