Thursday, January 22, 2009

Profiling for a Lab Partner

I’ve been in college now going on 5 semesters, and it seems that every semester my course load is always filled with long tedious lab periods. I remember that my very first semester I had 3 labs: General Chemistry, Animal Biology, and even an Intro to Engineering lab. The thing about labs is that they are always more work than they are worth. Every week you are in lab for an insanely long period time (up to 3 full hours), and then the rest of the week is taken up with writing up the stupid lab report about how you "attempted" to perform the lab, and yet it somehow failed miserably anyway. I heard that, "Prayer will never be taken out of schools as long as teachers continue to give exams". I agree completely with this last statement and add my little pearl of wisdom, "that as long as students continue to perform simple experiments, the basic laws and theories of physics, chemistry, and all other modern sciences will continue to be disproved on a regular basis."

I used to think that having three 3-hour lab periods a week was terribly unfair and completely abnormal (which in speaking with other students whose majors are "normal" and NOT Biomedical Engineering, I’ve discovered that this is the case), but since my schedule hasn’t deviated much in the three years that I’ve been in college, I’ve come to accept the fact that I’ll never be able to escape labs as long as I’m in school. I’ve taken so many lab classes that I’m not sure I can remember them all: Animal and Plant Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Engineering, Electrical Circuits, Physics, Physiology, Biomechanics, Biomedical Instrumentation, Biotransport, Digital Signal Processing, and I’m sure I’m leaving out one or two. However, if there is one advantage to taking so many labs it’s that you become very proficient in picking out just the right lab partner! This is key to one’s success to surviving the weekly 3-hour-1-credit-hell know as lab! I learned this lesson my very first year in college. I wasn’t pro-active in choosing my lab partner and so I got the "bottom of the barrel". I soon found out that the "bottom of the barrel" doesn’t always come to class (mine came 5 times out of 9…which is above 50%, but just barely…haha) and they tend to leave things until the last minute. So my freshman year, while I sat alone soldering together "our" robot project I vowed never to let someone else chose my partner for me.

This semester started off no differently than any other. 3 labs on my class schedule meant 3 chances to get screwed with another leech of a lab partner. Today, I started my Organic Chemistry Lab. Organic Chemistry is a hell in it of itself, so combine it with a lab and you get hell squared! (I think I now understand what the Italian author, Dante, was talking about when he wrote about the "Ninth Circle of Inferno" in his Divine Comedy). Since I didn’t know anybody that was going to be in the lab section with me, I decided that I would arrive several minutes early. This way I would be able to scope out any "potential" lab partners, thereby assuring myself that I wouldn’t be stuck with some bozo of a lab partner that would just sit back, do nothing, and make me do everything! But actually….come to think of it, if I were someone that wanted to find a lab partner that would do all of the work for me so that I could kick back and chill, I would most definitely show up early on the first day of lab too. That way I could find some super-smart kid that would do all the work and I could just show up and reap the benefits (Dang it! My plan may have back-fired on me!!! Curses)

As I stood outside of the lab room, a few people caught my eye. Some good, some not so good. Blood-shot eyes and bed-head were definitely negative marks against potential candidates; while clean shaven faces and lab books in hand were signs that I might be getting closer to finding my new lab partner for the semester. I finally decided that this one dude in my lab looked pretty smart, and that I would try to be his lab partner. "What made him look smart?" you may ask. Well, for starters, he had glasses! You can always tell a bookworm by his glasses. Since he was early to class and carried his lab manual with him, I thought that we’d make a good team for the semester. Plus he was Asian. We introduced ourselves to one another, and I soon realized that we were actually in the same Organic Chemistry Lecture class. There are about 200 of us so it’s not surprising that we hadn’t really ever met before. But what was surprising was what I learned next about my new lab partner. He told me that he was actually the President of the Pre-Med Society! I could hardly believe it! I had hit the jack-pot of lab partners! President of the Pre-Med Society! You know this guy needs an A in Organic Chemistry. He’s got to apply for Med-School someday, and all pre-med students are always studying so they can make the good grades they need to get accepted into Med-School. So it would appear that this semester is looking up for me, and that I won’t be stressing out over lab partners that don’t show up to class. Atleast I hope not…knock on wood.

1 comment:

Angie said...

Yeah for you Brad. I am glad you have a potentially wonderful lab partner. If I have not said it before I will say it again. Be happy you are in school and have your life ahead of you. You will always look back and hope you did everything you could.