A Thursday in May

Second entry chronicling a day in the life of a grad student.  (First entry here.)

My alarm was set for 8 am so I could be awake in time for my 9 am conference call.  My first check of email reveals that the meeting was cancelled at 7 am, so I hit snooze again.  Greg comes in around 8:20 to drag me to the breakfast table (orange cinnamon rolls!) before he heads to work.  I get dressed, clean the house for the bug man, open and close the house for the very efficient bug man, and head to work by 10:30.

I check on my undergrad, who’s helping me out with a particularly frustrating project.  I take care of administrative tasks before lunch: gathering agenda items for tomorrow’s meeting, asking our consultant to help me decipher some info regarding pesky antibodies, and trying to contact a company (again) to get chromatography paper samples.

At noon, I go downstairs for an awards luncheon.  Free lunch (yay!), awkward table time with professors I’ve never met (boo), and an award certificate (fun!).

I change clothes, check on my undergrad’s results (promising), and piddle on my computer until my 2 o’ clock meeting.  I flip through my slides for next week’s talk and decide that the only change they need is to our lab photo.  We recently took a new awesome one, but needed a few absent members photoshopped in.  I play around with their Facebook pictures and Powerpoint’s editing features to hilarious effect.

I meet with the other two members of the “Chemical Segregation Committee” – formed in response to $100 Starbucks gift card bribes.  We take a break for leftover cake that appeared in the breakroom, then head into the lab to start sorting chemicals by hazard class.  At first, we thought $100 gift cards were a ridiculously good deal, but now that we’ve started, they’re starting to look quite fair.

We stop for the day around 3:30 so that we can all get some other work done.  The project that I’ve had undergrads working on for the last 3 semesters now has a rapidly approaching deadline, so I’m getting more involved.  We’d narrowed it down to pH issues and an extra chemical.  This afternoon, I try the reaction at a higher pH and without the extra chemical.  I add the chemicals to the paper, and then play Candy Crush in the lab while it dries.  (Ahhh, Science.)

After it dries, I add samples.   Looks good… I take it to the spectrometer.  It worked!

Okay, that’s good.  But will it work for less concentrated sample?  …  YES!

There was skipping and dancing and singing and praising God happening in the empty lab.  I cleaned up the lab, sent an excited email to the undergrad who’s done a ton of work on the project detailing what I found and what needs to happen next, and saved and copied and printed the data (can’t lose this one!).

I left the lab around 7, dropped off banana bread to some friends going through quals, and came home.  We’ll have ice cream tonight!


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