Shit grad students say

Im more than usually swamped for time right now, and dont have time to get more deeply into the conversation, but I wanted to post this glimpse into what I am doing in the lab right now:

I am infamous for several of those, plus I would have added "I am going to die here. I am going to die in this godforsaken place", plus I have never said "I should have gone to med school" because I am pretty sure I would have blown my brains out if I had to be an MD (no offense to those who do it, but I dont want to), but otherwise, this is a very accurate representation of shit grad students say.

I also loled at him not wearing a lab coat. People always picture a scientist in a white lab coat, but very few of us actually wear them. I only wear a lab coat when like the university would get in trouble if I were not wearing a lab coat (radiation, BSL-3).

More like this

Where's the tris buffer?

I have just enough sample for this last experiment...

When did summer term start?

I work in a clinical lab and I never wore a lab coat until I spilled a tray of human citrated plasma specimens on my lap about 30 minutes into a 10 hour shift. The feeling of about 20 ml of warm wet plasma in my lap was only a little more disgusting than the hard crackling crust that quickly formed as the plasma dried which I had to endure for the remainder of my shift. Because of that I always wear my lab coat.

I went >10 years without a stain on a bit of clothing and in the last 2 years I've somehow managed to bleach the under side on the arms of at least 2 sweaters. I don't get it.

Some admin people came in last week to take promo pics for a city-wide research day, so we had to put on lab coats. At one point they wanted pics of us actually doing "lab stuff" and they said "Put on goggles for anything you normally need them for, don't get in trouble for the pictures", the masters students looked at me and asked if we even had safety goggles in the lab.

My last PI was always giving me crap about how "real scientists" don't wear a lab coat. (And I often didn't in the BSC, since it was very warm in that room.) Then one day I caught him processing mouse blood without gloves and decided he was full of it and I would wear a lab caot whenever I damned well pleased.

Now I work with human stuff so I always wear my lab coat. And gloves, and goggles. (I've discovered that there are lots of websites out there that have literly hundreds of different styles of safety glasses, so you don't have to be stuck with the "Lady Engineer" glasses from VWR.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 03 Feb 2012 #permalink

Scientific studies show that the public is more impressed with us when we wear lab coats than when they see us in the clothes that we choose for ourselves.

Well, I wear a lab coat when it's cold in the lab and no one else is around (I'm only an undergrad so I would be mocked endlessly for pretension if anyone caught me doing so. But it's freezing in there sometimes and the communal lab coats are very clean because no one uses them). I've never seen anyone wear one for real in our lab, but most of our stuff isn't particularly hazardous/gross. My initial safety lecture was something along the lines of "try not to eat anything, now go count stuff." Fun times. I would also note that I've heard "I'm going to die here" more often than anything in the actual video. Hooray for grad school! It's still sort of tempting.

I think I said most of those things while getting my BS.

By complex field (not verified) on 04 Feb 2012 #permalink

I ALWAYS wear a dedicated tissue culture lab coat and gloves in the hood and I make sure all the under grad and post grad students do as well. It's just bad practice not to, you're asking for contamination.

That's where chemists are different from other animals - someone in the lab is always cleaning something containing sulfuric acid, and one you learn that even 0.5% acid can leave you with "designer" jeans after the next wash, you wear a labcoat.

I still look for the free food, and it's been almost 10 years since I got my doctorate.

By Dave Ruddell (not verified) on 04 Feb 2012 #permalink

#11: it seems like that was more due to improper lab technique than not wearing a lab coat.

"I'm never going to graduate. I'm going to be here forever. This is my own personal hell"

What I thought in lab this morning. I went exotic and took my laptop to sbux for a change in scenery to write.

I managed to bleach reddish stains in some of my darker clothes in the lab. I think it's from the APS, but im not sure. >:(

By mo (one of Abb… (not verified) on 05 Feb 2012 #permalink

Lab coats = LN2 protection! Those splashes burn.

Plus, lab coats come in sooo many more colours than white (which we're not even allowed to wear in our CL2 lab): pale blue for bench work, green for tissue culture, dark blue for template addition and grey for PCR set up :)

I'm a grad student at UCLA. The new lab coat policies are extremely strict. We must wear coats and gloves at all times while in the lab, regardless of what we are currently working with (e.g. even while making buffers). Fines of (I've heard) $10,000 have been given out to PIs for workers not wearing proper protection. The woman who died was a tech, not a grad student, and she had been poorly trained - but she would have been more likely to survive if she had been wearing a flame resistant coat instead of a synthetic polymer sweater. It is annoying, however, that the Environment, Health and Safety office here will not or cannot distinguish between a student working with dilute saline solutions and a student working with a reagent that will catch fire on contact with air.

By Bill Door (not verified) on 06 Feb 2012 #permalink

Primary purpose of labcoat: keeping the rat piss off my shirt. And the blood. And the shit. And the ink (you try tailmarking a few dozen minimally-handled adult rats without getting any on yourself).

The pockets come in handy, too; when I had a bunch of little dudes that needed to be acclimated to human contact, I'd wander around the lab with half a dozen of them stashed in my coat...

You have to laugh at the puff and bravado of *some* grad students. From the point of view of virtually everyone else in the lab, they are just kids, learning how to do stuff, the interns of the research world (with a few exceptions... the "uber-grad" does exist). Don't get me wrong, everyone has to start out at the bottom and earn their way up, but I think it's the shock of going from the undergrad lifestyle to something approaching a real first job that defines the grad student experience.

I was one of those grad students who constantly said "I'm SOOO going to industry"... and then I did. Never looked is the research utopia for someone like me, who hates the idea of spending the rest of my life focused on a single research problem. I may not have control over WHAT I research, but it's always the application side of the research question: "How do we make this work?" I think it would benefit everyone if grad students were required to intern at a non-academia site, to gain that experience and make ties outside the university setting.

Academia is that perverse institution where you spend 8-15 years of your research life at the bench, earning the privilege to spend the next 20 in an office writing grants, begging for money to sustain the lab you rarely visit. The pay differential is also perverse... an associate professor at a premiere cancer research institution like MDACC makes ~65-85K, where in industry the same person might make 50% to 100% more.

My two cents. Views expressed are not those of the granting institution. Some restrictions apply. Offer not valid in Utah or Oklahoma.

By c0nc0rdance (not verified) on 09 Feb 2012 #permalink

I work in a pharmaceutical lab, where we are subject to cGML practices, which includes safety glasses AT ALL TIMES in the lab. (Luckily, my company provides prescription safety glasses.) We're encouraged to wear lab coats, and I do, because the Captain Kangaroo pockets hold my pens, markers, labeling tape, paper clips, scratch paper, and other miscellany. Besides, the labs are a comfortable 25ºC most of the time.

By CortxVortx (not verified) on 28 Apr 2012 #permalink

(That should be cGLP practices, from CFR Title 21)

By CortxVortx (not verified) on 03 May 2012 #permalink