Diaries Magazine

How Not to Fall off of Lab Stools (and Other Helpful Hints).

Posted on the 08 August 2012 by Hannahr395
This is a shout out to all those people who have totally made fools of themselves in front of a bunch of strangers, or in front of a new class, or in front of a new professor who they are desperately trying to impress. It happened about a year ago: I was taking general chemistry at the local community college, and it was the first of many 8 am labs to come (note: I plan on avoiding 8 am labs in the future). It started out normally enough, at least as normally as can be at 7:30 in the morning. For some reason I still can't quite figure out, I chose the lab bench that was front and center in the room. Big mistake. I had just succeeded in actually getting someone to sit down next to me when it happened. Cue falling off the lab stool like an utter idiot. My lab partner had the decency to ask if I was okay. Mortified, I scrambled up, but the damage was already done--the four rows of students behind us had already witnessed my plummet from the stool. To this day, I'm not quite sure if my professor actually saw my beautiful swan dive to meet the lab floor. His back was turned; either he heard/saw it and ignored it, or he was truly oblivious to my moment in the (awkward) spotlight. I never looked at those lab stools the same way again.
In an effort to help all those students taking a lab science this year, I have compiled a list of tips to help avoid potential hindrances (read: embarrassments) over the course of the year.
1. Always check out where your lab/lecture is going to be held before the first day of class. I failed to do this and ended up going to the room where my recitation was supposed to be. On the brink of hysterics, I was taken pity on by a few random guys who gave me directions to where I was actually supposed to be. Don't just rely on nice people; be prepared.
2. When your lab partner is drawn into an incredibly awkward situation/conversation, the best way out of it (at least for you) is to simply look the other way, fiddle with the computer, and deal with the wrath of your lab partner for abandoning him/her later. Honestly, this one works like a charm. The plus side: it makes for great inside jokes throughout the remainder of the semester.
3. Never try to kneel on those lab stools. I've already outlined the consequences in the first paragraph.
4. Always, I repeat, always double, triple, quadruple check a fax number, especially if said fax number is being used by your professor to send a letter of recommendation. I learned this one the hard way.
5. Don't pick up something that was just taken off of a Bunsen burner. This one seems like a no-brainer, but it happens. It didn't happen in my lab section, but the news traveled around the different sections pretty fast. You don't want to be known as the person who picked up a hot object, dropped it, and made a scorch mark on his/her lab report.
And thus completes the five most important things I wish I had known before my roller coaster ride in chemistry.

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