This semester, I have had the joy of two 8:30 labs a week: one for physics and one for chemistry. I know what I’m supposed to be learning in the lab, but I find much more amusement in the other lessons I pick up on while I’m there. The following are just a few of them so far:
1. The beach is a very toxic, dangerous place.
One day in lab, we were using sand, silt, salt, and water. All of which, mind you, can be found at the beach. The last line of the instructions was written in bold font and included “wash your hands thoroughly.” Now, one might ask if this is just a general warning included in every lab. Nope. We used acid the week before and were apparently free to leave with it dripping off of our fingers as we tromped off down the hallway. So next time you go to the beach, load up on the Germ-X. We wouldn’t want that sand giving you chemical burns or something.
2. My physics partner, Chad, has a lot of potential.
Electrical potential, that is. One of our labs took us about twice as long as it should have because Chad apparently has more static charge than a hyperactive four year old wearing fuzzy socks in the wintertime. We were supposed to discharge our paddles between each measurement, and Chad couldn’t get any of it to discharge. Sometimes, he even made it worse. He wanted to blame it on the weather, but I wasn’t having any problems. Boys making excuses? Shocking, I know.
3. The Chemistry department wants to trap us in the lab for all eternity.
The final instruction in all of our labs says to make sure our lab bench is dry before we check out with the TA. So what do they give us to clean up with? Those crummy, brown paper towels that absorb approximately nothing at all. Ever. All it does is smear stuff around the desk. We’re going to be there forever if it is actually dry first. I know they’re cheaper, but it takes two rolls to wipe up something the size of a dime. Doesn’t the cost balance in the end? I would certainly think so.
4. The lab gods make sure to make it obvious to everyone that they own us.
Nothing yells “I’m a complete loser with an 8:30 lab” quite like walking across campus with red goggle marks on your face at 10 o’clock in the morning. Or a big band of smashed hair across the back of your head. Jarrod figured out the latter the hard way. I walked into his room and he had his back to me. “Umm, Jarry, did you have a hat on earlier?” (Keep in mind that this was at about 8:30 pm.) “No… I — oh my gosh… that’s been there since lab this morning… is that why people keep giving me weird looks?” Sure, Jarrod. You tell yourself that’s what it was.
5. Physics and Chemistry are related, but not interchangeable.
One Tuesday morning, I woke up late and in Wednesday mode. I grabbed my chem lab manual, made sure I was properly dressed for lab, took my jewelry off, and rushed over to the second floor of Physical Sciences. The problem was that I should have been in the basement. With the rest of my physics section. I barely made it downstairs in time once I realized my mistake. I told my TA I had grabbed the wrong lab manual. He said, “Oh. Day no werk. You go room one four fife. They make you cope-y.” So off I went. Note to self: physics labs require a physics lab books.