Gather round boys and girls. I’ve got a secret to share. I, (Ex)Neuro(Ex)Science(Forever)Geek, have discovered the secret to instant and continued success in the laboratory. This highly volatile secret was discovered yesterday evening as I stumbled my way through an experiment.
First I discovered that I failed an exam. An exam that I hadn’t studied all that much for, but that’s not the point. I prayed to the exam gods before taking the exam and did they come through? No! Apparently the other students got there before I did. Though, from a philosophical perspective – my F was such a great F, my score so low, my F so magnificent in its F-ness, that it could technically be described as an EPIC F-ing WIN. (Think about it….)
Second, after returning to lab and discovering that I had enough cells to perform my experiment, and successfully navigating my way through the murky mire of methodical (love the alliteration) steps, I had a wonderful morning. Well…wonderful if we hop in the DeLorean and erase that F from existence (and ignore my astonishing foray into philosophy).
Third, I discovered that my successful navigation would’ve put Christopher Columbus to shame. Let’s face it – the man had no clue what he was doing. HE THOUGHT HE WAS IN INDIA FOR CRIPE’S SAKE! A TOTALLY DIFFERENT FREAKING CONTINENT! So, in paying homage to the big (or little – I don’t know how tall he was) C.C., I discovered that I’ve been using the wrong solution in my cells for about 3 weeks now. To add insult to injury, some of my samples weren’t treated properly – and naturally those samples were the samples that I absolutely needed.
For those of you not in the science world – trust me. It’s frustrating. I’ve done three rotations – count em. Don’t worry. I’ll wait – and not one of them has turned out ANY results. I know, I know. It’s science. Shit happens. But does shit have to happen through three rotations? I would like, for once, for something to work. I’m in the second to last week of my rotation. I’m literally out of time to get this right. But hey, now that I know The Secret – Purdue will be calling Einsteinisha before the month is out.
Which brings me to The Secret. My mentor, seeing my frustration, shared with me something only the absolute best first year students get to learn. Apparently – The Secret to success in the lab is SACRIFICE! My mentor said that they typically sacrifice mice, but I say – go big or go home! Think about it! Are you a graduate student? Do you want to spend 5 years toiling in a dungeon-like lab to churn out a degree? I’d say no. So, rather than sacrifice mice – I say sacrifice the undergrads! They’re in the way anyway. Clogging up the buses, taking our spots in the Starbucks line, guffawing about what they did over the weekend with all of their “free time” (whatever the fuck that is) and fucking up the grading curve! Sacrifice an undergrad (or two, maybe three to be safe) and you’ll be out of grad school in no time. If nothing else, you’ll feel better. I do.
But let’s just keep this between us, okay.
And, remember, with great power comes great responsibility.