I have been working independently on a research project for the past few months and I am almost ready to actually conduct the experiment. The experiment itself should only take two hours. However, I seem to get a lot of anxiety when thinking about carrying out the experiment (especially because I will be conducting it completely independently): what happens if I do something wrong, forget something, etc? I was wondering if anyone had any tips on conducting an experiment without too much stress. I am sure that once I started the experiment, it won't be too bad; getting started is the hard part. Thank you!
This question is only vaguely related to Academia, honestly; the tips we can give you here apply equally well to virtually any project you'll ever run.
First thing: given that you're new at this, you will probably screw up something at some point, so just internalize that. You're new, the field is new, and things go wrong when its a first time. Most likely every single person you're working with already knows this; the sooner you appreciate it yourself the better off (and less stressed) you'll be.
The best tip I can say is, if possible, do a dry run. Test all equipment, test your scripts (if you have), make sure you have an accurate and detailed checklist of what you need to do at each step, and what to do when something goes wrong at each step. Even better, do this walkthrough with whoever maintains the equipment and have them watch you for mistakes. You will make mistakes; that's cool, just acknowledge them and move on.
If you can't do a dry run then just familiarize yourself with equipment as best you can. Make sure you know what you're doing and when you're doing it. If there's something you're really nervous about—breaking a $2M machine, for example—talk to the technicians or previous students and make sure you know which parts you need to be careful around.
Long story short, recognize that newbies make mistakes. Make sure you know which mistakes you really don't want to make, and don't do those ones; you'll be fine.