My report has been handed in. For the lab that I felt compelled to rant about. I mean, I know I posted only once to truly rant. This is the lab where I spent insane number of hours, from 8am to midnight or even beyond that! My first encounter with research. Which deprived me of sleep, making me sleep in lectures just to compensate, making me get lower grades in other modules because I was too busy slogging in lab. The lab that I hated so much and just couldn't wait to get out of.
The report has been handed in for this very same lab...
Writing the report was just as tough as the lab work. Didn't sleep for 3-4 days! The report is in, and I feel relieved. Just my defense presentations left, then I will be done!
I went to lab today. Just to get something printed. It was late at night and I wasn't really expecting anyone to be there. But one girl was there, working late. She's one of the nice ones in lab. I said hello and went about printing the stuff I needed. Once I was done, I turned to say good night to her. But she was on the phone with someone. I didn't want to leave without saying good bye and so to allow her time to talk on the phone, I strolled into the lab. I walked over to the spectrophotometer, the shaker, the liquid nitrogen container. This side of the lab wasn't my work area.
She was still talking once I was done strolling this side of the lab so I decided to move to the other side. My work area. My work bench. A wave of nostalgia hit me like a tsunami! (weird analogy, I know, but very appropriate... it signifies that the nostalgic feeling is strong like the tsunami, but some of the memories associated with the lab are rather depressing. Ok ok! I can't think of any other way to justify the analogy! :P)
My work area looked untouched! And I was surprised because some elements in the lab like to use other people's reagents, buffers etc and the other day, I discovered that my bottle of agarose in the oven had been used up without my permission. But my work area... seriously... its right next to the stealer guy's work bench and my stuff remained untouched! He used to steal my reagents in front of me! But now, inspite of being absent in the lab for over 3 weeks, everything looked just the way I had left it. Maybe he was afraid my stuff was contaminated or just hates me so much that he can't bear to touch my reagents. Muahaha! :P
After spending 3 miserable months in that lab, I am surprised to think that I am going to miss it.
I will miss worrying about whether I have enough buffer or whether I need to make more
I will miss wondering whether I should autoclave more tubes for myself
I will miss sitting with Clueless, filling tip boxes and bitching about it!
I will miss looking at my shelves to make sure I have enough culture media for emergency purposes
I will miss looking at my shelves and feeling proud that I am well stocked and self sufficient in lab! (that is, I don't have to steal from others just because I don't have something with me!)
I will miss staring at my shelves absent mindedly while I plan the day's experiments.
I will miss counting the number of competent cell tubes in my box in the freezer constanly praying that I will never run out of them because it takes a whole day to make 20 tubes!
I will miss cursing the stealer guy for using up 8 tubes of competent cells at one shot and never replacing them! ( I wont miss the stealer guy though... He is the reason I am leaving the lab!)
I will miss my box in the freezer which has my initials!
I will miss my initials that I created just for this lab :P
I will miss the bottle of agarose and 50x TAE buffer that I made with so much love and affection! :P
I will miss the heater block area where I sat with Clueless while she assayed samples.
I will miss SOME of the people in that lab.
I will miss my boss whose name I am so used to seeing in my Inbox and who has, what clueless calls, "The Joker Smile" :P
But most of all, I will miss the mutant protein that I made... I created! After all the shit I went through just to mutate the bloody protein, after all that hard work, now I like to call it MY protein :)
(you should have seen my face when clueless gave me the first set of assay results saying my mutant protein's activity was 8 times the activity of the wild type protein :P :P :P I was actually proud of my mutant the way parents would be when they see their kid win something!)
Even though I have grown to love the lab, the work, the proteins and all, I don't feel any sense of regret for having quit this lab for my final year and choosing another one. Because I know I would have been miserable if I stayed on. Because of certain people in the lab who abuse their seniority and treat the undergrads like some piece of shit. Who feel the need to take out all their anger on the undergrads who can't retaliate. Who derive a sadistic pleasure in seeing the undergrads suffer. Because of them, I cannot stay any longer. If these sadistic people were to leave the lab and my boss were to offer me a place for my final year, I'd be more than willing to take it and continue working on my protein. But thats not going to happen. So I am happy to leave.
But still.... inspite of those sadistic elements in lab, I will miss working there. I will miss my work space. My territory.
Ah well... I guess its time to move to the bigger and better things in life :) Hopefully the next lab will be everything this lab wasn't :)
P.S. Don't get me wrong here... I am not bitching about my boss. He is a nice guy. He just is not aware of the bullying and abusing that happens when he is not around. If he knew, I know he wouldn't stand such nonsense. He is a good guy, a talented scientist and a good writer (or editor... whichever :P), and for him, I would stay on to work :)