Faith and Trust

While setting up my samples to run overnight in the lab I am always fearful. What if I did something wrong? What if this thing falls over (It’s pretty tall)?

Soxlet Extraction Apparatus

Soxlet Extraction Apparatus

What if the cyclohexane evaporates and the heating mantle causes the boiling flasks to break? What if housekeeping turns the water off to my experiment? What if the room temperature changes and I have the heating mantle set too high/low to account for the change (we all know FSB has the craziest heating/ cooling system ever.) As I lock the door to leave I often feel like a parent (yeah I know soil is my child…my labor of love..yadda yadda) last night especially. I had this sinking feeling that something was going to go wrong, so I said a little prayer and had faith that I had set everything up properly. No matter how much experience I get at the set, up I always feel this way; my first child is leaving for their first sleepover and I am worried “Ok little soil sample, be good, play nicely with the cyclohexane and I do not want to get a call from the parents saying you blew something up.” Faith and Trust.

Trust that the experiment is sound, that FSB will not have some crazy thermostat problem in the night, that the housekeeping people will leave my stuff alone….Trust.

Faith….faith that there are hydrocarbons in my little baby soil sample and that all of this wasn’t for nothing. Faith in the GCMS (yes faith, if you have ever used it you know its an act of God if it is working reliably).

I know you won’t want to hear this, because the people who do undergrad research are often those same people who hate group work…but learn to work in a group..with a partner…I have had my fair share of HORRIBLE partners, and it was nice to get that out of the way before I hit the “Real World.” If I hadn’t gotten used to group projects before, I would have a hard time working with even the best of partners (which for the record mine is :).

Oh yeah, and when your partner loses your data (and you think for a split second before you get your bearings that you might punch her) remember that everyone makes mistakes. Most mistakes are fixable–and I know I have made my share. So Emily- I would rather hug you than hit you..which I will do.

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