Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Report

Today on my job shadowing assignment, I was in a lab with Friend. I received strange looks while walking across campus to help her because I was holding a sweatshirt in 100 degree weather. I wanted to tell them I was going to a place called a “cold room” where I would “break cells” or some such thing. But I did not.

Once I arrived, her labmate said I was crazy. He looked nice, so I decided to agree with his assessment. I was then told I could help “thaw cells” by holding 8 plastic tubes with blue lids in a pretty red bowl with water running in it. Friend adjusted the temperature and instructed me to keep the bottom parts submerged. Since they were mostly filled with air, they did not want to stay submerged.

While attempting to keep things from floating, I examined myself in the reflective surface of the paper towel holder. I felt my glasses slip down my nose. I bent down to rest my elbows on the sink to try to be more comfortable. I switched my weight from foot to foot. While doing that, one of the tubes broke free of my grip and floated away on a sea of tap water. When the running water hit it, some splashed on my glasses. Then I had to put 4 tubes back in the Styrofoam holder so I could capture the escaped one. After this happened, I learned I should pay more attention to my work.

I also learned the cold room is, in fact, pretty cold. Especially when working with ice and water. I learned how to set a timer and how to turn on blender-looking devices. Though I made some mistakes, Friend never yelled at me. I was tired when I left two hours after I arrived but Friend said something about “step 1 of 12” and “16 hour day.” So I also learned I do not want Friend’s job.

When I got back to my desk, I pushed buttons and typed words, which is really much easier (and can be performed in comfortable temperatures). Then I left early to get a massage. I have a new appreciation of my life.


sheepish said...

At least you didn't smash the tubes to bits, necessitating a delay of two to six months.

I'm just sayin'...

post-doc said...

Poor Sheepish, we actually talked about you this morning when I solemnly swore I would not break anything expensive in her lab. I remain very sympathetic and wish you speed and luck in cleaning up your student's mess.

TitleTroubles said...

Having trained more than my share of undergrads and first year grad students, I know better than to yell. After all, I could use all the minions I could capture--I mean, convince that working with me is fun! and exciting! If you yell, they tend to start crying and run away. Hard to get work out of them that way. Wish someone would explain that to my boss...

Oh, and The Sane One was shocked!, I tell you, shocked! that you did not return to the cold room with me after lunch. But, thank you. My hands were much less sore, and the samples were on to the next part about half an hour earlier than when I do them alone.

I suppose I could make some smart ass comment about perspective, but I'm too tired (and cold) to make it witty enough. Sorry. I'll try again tomorrow.

Veo Claramente said...

Ohyeah the cold room. My first lab project ever involved standing in the cold room for hours running columns to purify proteins from human placenta.

And I stayed.

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