I feel like I’m travelling down a dark and tumultuous path by saying this, but I don’t mind working crazy late hours in lab. Not to say I enjoy working long hours all the time, but I’d generally prefer to be in lab from afternoon to evening. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to late nights in lab since my highschool guidance counselor joked that I was the kind of person to be struck by an idea at 2 in the morning, and shuffle down to the lab in pajamas to work on it. Although I’ve yet to be struck by some wild idea and head to the lab around 2 in the morning, I think the latest I’ve stayed in lab is around 2 or so in the morning.
It does have its perks. By day, I’m the undergrad, I’m pretty reserved and am still trying to feel everything out. In general, I try to keep up the appearance that I know what I’m doing. By night, I own the lab! But, seriously, I play whatever music I want, at volumes slightly louder than during the day (but exponentially more satisfying), perhaps dance around a little bit. I never have to wait for a rotovap. I can multitask or unitask, work at whatever pace I feel like, and learn to troubleshoot my own problems – even if that means trying something I’m not sure will work. I can also blog about things while I wait for my stuff on the high vac. Like right now!
And it does come with it’s sense of isolation, which allows one’s mind to wander. Which, can be good, bad, or indifferent.¹
The only reason that I bring it up is that I’m, in a way, concerned about my well being. I mean, it is 11 o’clock on a sunday night, and I’m in lab. Grad students here, as well as grad students across the inter-blogs have lamented the long, grinding, soul sucking hours of lab, and the students who become absolute slaves to lab. I’m only an undergrad… and I’m here, and I don’t mind it. Kyle, over at yonder chemblog, stresses the idea of working smarter, not harder. And, while I agree with him (in theory), I feel weird that I’m still OK with working relaxed, late hours. (It’s not the 12 hour workday, everyday, that Kyle sought to escape, but it’s far from a focused beam of chemical productiveness that he describes, or even conventional hours.)
Ultimately, I just don’t want to find myself a hopeless slave to lab. Maybe my preferences will change when lab essentially becomes the all day, every day occurrence in grad school, but I’d hate to think I’m already a prisoner, and suffer from Stockholm syndrome.
 Gloves can be used for many things. Aside from protecting your skin from chemicals, they can also serve as a quick notepad when you’re at the balances, or for other sketching purposes…