Despite the dullness of “doing science” routinely, I have to admit I do have my share of fun in the laboratory. Yeah, you heard it right. Yes, fun indeed. Fun in my opinion is: the moment when I completely forget about the seriousness of my career, block out deadlines,results, basically anything related to the near or distant future. Only for a fleeting moment though! If I may use a clever analogy here…one might say, it’s just like the temporary anesthesia for a wisdom tooth extraction. You bet the pain is all going to shoot back up once the anesthetic wears off. Darn diddly right! (for those who are shamelessly unaware of the Simpsons characters, I was just imitating Ned Flanders)
I so often wonder, why the hell should we researchers alone be cooped up in a lab that could easily serve as a torture cell in a prison, deprived of joy, when the rest of the world (war torn regions excluded) is having fun? Receiving nothing but a daily dose of depression and frustration (oh, that rhymes) after hours of work!! Life is pretty tough I say , and it’s not like we have a ‘PhD students work union’ or something through which we can demand a pay for the additional hours we spend everyday. Either you work or you don’t; in the end you get paid only half the salary of a post-doc and you still hold the title of student at the age of 27+. Boy, do I sound like an angry dog!! I guess it’s the fact that it’s Friday night and I am spending it in my room trying to write a blog that most probably would soon be forgotten by the 14 or so readers, and eventually by the author herself. Oh chillax, it’s another one of my classic exaggerations. No, I don’t really have 14 readers! Hold on a second….My brain’s sounding an alarm….
Ah, it’s just to remind me that I wanted to write about fun tonight. Mood swings analysts can have easy test subjects in a laboratory filled with PhD students, believe me! For PhD wannabes,Craziness is the word of the day for a time unforeseeable! One of my lab mates once wondered out loud if we had all become crazy as a result of PhD, or if we were just outright mad and that the institution of science was merely the asylum that brought us all together. Pretty deep,right? We concluded that we were all loony to a certain extent before starting our doctoral study (why else choose to do a PhD in the first place?); the close proximity to madness of all sorts only aggravated our cuckoo-ness!! This is sort of re-assuring in a weird way, because you know that you’re not the only one who’s apparently suffering from the cruelties (cruelty is a such strong word, but for emphasis I shall use it. Adds drama to PhD life) of just another form of education. Can anyone hear the lines from Pink Floyd’s another brick in the wall, ringing in you ear at this very moment? No? I have to improve my writing skills I guess then.
Anyways, it is not surprising to know that a cup of coffee, a bar of chocolate, free food, extra food are all what it takes to pacify a PhD student. Under the influence of sugar/coco/caffeine and all other serotonin inducing food substances, our bad craziness (that prompts one to curse at one’s bacterial samples, or discard empty transformation plates in to the bin with utmost strength to vent out one’s frustrations,etc.) turns to good craziness which simply ends up giving us (and the onlookers, usually the technicians) a good laugh or just plainly disrupts work. Add in a digital camera, it sure makes a wonderful memory that can be shared with the future generations, if any. Ha-ha, I am just imagining a scientist going, ” Look sweetheart, here’s mommy during her PhD days…Oh, don’t be scared child. I do look crazy but it was just the camera’s fault. And no, I am not pretending to be working. I was indeed working!”
Instead of just banging on about it I thought I would also upload some pictures that give a rather candid sneak peek of my PhD life. I hope you can appreciate the humour in the pictures. I don’t want people going, “Oh, that’s no good lab practice.” Kapish??
I really appreciate my colleagues’ enthusiasm today when I told them I wanted some pictures for my blog. They were such a good sport. Four of them have bravely shown their faces. The photo shoot lasted for exactly 4 minutes with my directional skills being put to a great test. I felt like those photographers dealing with those contestants for America’s top models. With the camera in my hand, I said act crazy. Nothing happened. I said give me your best. Zilch. I begged them to show the camera their funny side. Nada! I said act normal and then, EUREKA! After that brilliant moment everyone got bored and left. Longing for more pictures, I raided the drawers of one of my friend and hit a gold mine there. So, here’s more treat for your eyes; courtesy of some completely loca PhD students. Enjoy.
CREDITS for the Scenes from It’s a wonderful life (In order of appearance)
The guy with the upturned schott bottle: Zymo Man
The girl trying to shoot with a pipette: Blondie
The Man in the plastic mask: Rapper Mike D
The runaway victim: Miss sleepy head.
Candy treasures was shot at miss DB’s personal drawer.
Ginormous Chuppa Chups: courtesy of the third floor office inmates.
The makers of this short sketch would like to thank the makers of chocolates and coffee across the globe. We salute you!