Settling In

I’ve only been popping in and out of the lab this week; everything takes at least 24h and once I’ve put the plates or the broth in the incubator there is literally nothing for me to do. I quite like this because it means that I have lots of time free to do other things, like revise for this inconveniently early exam.

I do worry though, that I won’t have enough to do to fill my time in the lab for the duration of my project. At most this initial testing has taken 3 days but perhaps when I get more samples I will have more to do?

One of my lecturers who is in the lab a lot said that you get use to overlapping experiments so that you can maximise productivity but I think at the moment it’s a bit too optimistic for me to be overlapping experiments. I enjoy planning what I’m going to be doing, mainly because I can just go into the lab and get on with it instead of pouring over pages of notes and the internet.

One of the Masters students helped me with my method. It was literally two seconds after she had got in the lab that she left to go and photocopy a sheet she had found. She came back a few minutes later; the girl had not only copied it for me but annotated and highlighted it for me! I don’t know where all these scientists get their kindness from but I suppose it’s because we’re all working towards the same aim; gaining knowledge and understanding about an important subject. It would be detrimental to the whole scientific community maybe if someone who needed help didn’t get it.

Before I went into the lab I thought that the post grads would never have time for an undergraduate because they’d be busy making breakthroughs and focused solely on their own work. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A new person, I assume he was doing a PhD, introduced himself to me and helped me to to interpret my results. I know that because they must write up their results they do have to share what they find but I assumed that they would be a lot more secretive for some reason. I probably watch too many sci-fi movies and TV programs.

Being in the lab does make me feel super grown up though and even though it’s not what I want to do for a career I am really enjoying it at the moment. The lab book has so far gone untouched because I’m scared of messing it up but after this exam I will start working on it to make it look like I’ve done something. I need to remember to take pictures of the plates that I’ve made because this will provide good evidence that I’ve actually achieved something in this past week!

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