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Week 46 – Why Can’t I Just Say No?

Hope everyone is doing well and is safe and healthy. During this time of year, with the holidays approaching, time just seems to quickly fly by. Everyone is scrambling to finish projects before the year ends or trying to start new programs before the holidays are upon us. I have had more zoom meetings this week than I care to mention. Those of you who have been following the blog know that I am not a big meeting person. It is not that they aren’t needed but they can overtake your day and before you know it, it’s 6pm and your list of things to get done has actually increased. With more people working from home, there is a request for more meetings as people have less personal contact. A video meeting, while not in person, does give you some sense of outside contact and some feeling of normal. Many people do not use the video feature, which just makes it a phone call through your computer. That being said, the ability to share files on your computer to add context to a meeting is an outstanding feature. This adds a lot of content to a meeting.

Tonight, I was recapping the ongoing work stuff with Tina. Since we share an office, she fully understands what my typical day entails. She then asked what is going on with the college students and how did I get myself involved with this, knowing that my current schedule has been absolutely insane. She noticed that over the past several weeks, I have remotely been working with senior college students at WPI and UMass Dartmouth as well as another student pursuing an advanced degree. She asked why am I doing this to myself in terms of adding more onto my schedule. A real simple question that I did not have an answer for? How did I get myself involved with so many projects?

One problem is that I do enjoy working with students, even though my time is really limited. The other problem is I cannot just say no to helping. The latter is a huge flaw that gets me in trouble. These types of projects take time to plan with the students, requires us (I use the term us because our team also gets involved) to provide samples for them to evaluate and assist them in data presentation. While time is a limiting factor here, I do enjoy providing information as well as experiences to these young engineers and scientists. I feel like it is a way to give back and provide the students information about what research is about, enjoying the successes, avoiding pitfalls and learning from mistakes.

Of these four projects I now have on my plate, I really only agreed to work with two groups. I serve as an industrial advisor for the Bioengineering Department at UMass Dartmouth. Over the past three years, we started to sponsor a research program that seniors of the department conduct. We decided to have them develop a housing device for a cell chamber that we have been developing with our partners at Takeda. It is an area that will be useful to the

company as we continue device development. The second program reunited us with a former summer intern and his team to repair ligaments in the elbow, an interesting research program. The other two research projects focus on developing a fully environmentally-friendly band-aid and a dermal dressing combining our technology with plant leaves that have the cells removed. Four really different technologies. This is the reason I really love what I do. There are so many areas that need to be addressed that can really help people. This is why it is hard to say no, but I really need to work on it because with all of the work we are getting ready to conduct, my time is fading fast. Plus, I am not a kid anymore and this can get tiring. I will have to really limit this next year (at least that is what I am telling myself – just need to execute on it). I figured I would work on saying no with some inspiration from The Office.

Please continue to stay vigilant and keep social distancing, wear a mask where social distancing is not possible to protect yourself and those around you and frequently wash your hands. Doing the simple things gets us back to some sense of normal. The scientific evidence is overwhelming that masks and social distancing have a positive effect on controlling the virus. Please keep supporting your local businesses as they continue to work through these challenging times. Many other businesses are nowhere near out of the woods yet and won’t be for a long time. As we head to winter in Massachusetts and the cases go up, more businesses are going to rely on curbside take-out. If you can, grab some take-out or visit their outdoor seating for restaurants (while the weather is still decent and the heaters still work) or get an online membership for a local gym. Please also consider donating to your local food pantry or to other nonprofit groups that are helping people who need it. Every little bit helps! Americans are a tough, innovative bunch and we will get through this together!

In honor of Thanksgiving, we will not post a blog next week. Our next post will be December 4th. We wish you a safe and healthy holiday!



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