10 Ways You Know You’re In Grad School (Science Edition!)


Honestly, I’m super sick of clicking on these “grad school” articles and not being able to relate to a single damn thing. I’m not swamped in classes, or writing (Yet). I don’t remember the last time I even held a book, and I have so much free time I don’t know what to do with myself (See #2). So here it is, a grad school listicle for the people in biological/medical sciences if they don’t know they’re in biological/medical sciences:

1. Seminars. You go to a talk by someone else in your department. You know your shit. You’ve been here for years. You’re able to follow for about 10 minutes. After that, you’re completely lost, sitting there twiddling your thumbs and feeling like a moron as everyone around you seems to be paying close attention and understanding the content. UGH. Why does the presenter keep clearing his throat every 2 seconds? You start tallying his throat clearing for the next 40 minutes. JUST COUGH IT OUT!

2. WAITING TIME. Oh my god, it never ends. You have 45 minutes of waiting until you visualize your gel. You have 1 hour waiting until you finish incubation. You have 10 minutes of waiting for the centrifugation to end. And it all winds up being extremely unproductive the longer the wait. 3 hour PCR cycle?! That means TWO lunch breaks! I will never graduate.

3. Free food. Come one, come all to this talk that has NOTHING to do with your project whatsoever! Sign up immediately to listen to some stuffy big wig from this university you never heard of talk about cyanobacteria for an hour. And then you see it: PIZZA AND REFRESHMENTS PROVIDED. You bet I’ll be there! Bring your notebook for doodles.

4. New protocol jitters. I’ve never used this protocol before, oh my god oh my god is THAT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN?! I am freeeaking ouuuut… What if this works!? I won’t have to cry myself to sleep tonight if this works! It might work! I think it’s working! Wait… wait… nope. No. Wait… maybe… maaaybe… No… ? No.

5. Data issues. My data contradicts every other data that was ever recorded and published in every journal. Is this a new breakthrough!? Have I uncovered something novel? No, I’m probably just an idiot and don’t know how to repeat these guys’ experiments. This is why they’re published and I’m not. Cry yourself to sleep that night.

6. More data issues. Finish experiment. Download your data from computer. Open your data on your own computer. Excel sheet full of numbers, weird symbols, tabs that make you doubt whether or not you actually did the experiment. Google for an hour. Try to do something with your data. ????. Get someone else who knows what they’re doing to interpret your data for you. Success! Wait… wait… No.. maybe! … wait, no. Nevermind.

7. DATA ISSUES ARE FOREVER. Everything contradicts everything else, the protocol was messy, you had no idea what you were doing, your reagents may have been expired. You still get a p<0.05 and feel pretty good about it. You present at the lab meeting and your PI tears your shit down. Note to self: hope is bad and statistics lie.

8. Clumsy mistakes. Losing an entire week of data because you left your samples on your bench over night. Breaking flasks full of stuff you need. Dropping centrifuge tubes when they’re open. Ruining equipment because you forget to clean up afterwards. This shit happens. Hopefully, not a lot. If so, you might want to take another path. But it happens.

9. Drinking is always acceptable any day, any time. Usually your PI’s buying anyways. Faculty club anyone?

10. Answering questions. ????????????? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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