Clean up time

Today was lab cleanup day and boy, never have I ever washed so many containers in my life. Working in a lab, everyone has to pull their weight when it comes to cleanup and maintenance or else everyone’s project will be faulty. There was this big pipette fiasco because many of the pipettes were not properly calibrated, meaning that everyone had been gathering quasi inaccurate data. In the morning, everyone got assignments or responsibilities for certain rooms or machines or equipment and when it came around to lab clean up time, the post docs and grads stationed the high school students at each of the sinks and brought over flask after flask after beaker after centrifuge tube. I must have washed and scrubbed and rinsed at least 50 containers. Other people were sweeping the floor and you would not believe what is under the benches. It is like a treasure trove down there. We found numerous cardboard and Styrofoam boxes, pipette tips, unimaginable dust bunnies, even usable containers.

And then the feeling that comes afterwards. Although the lab did not look visibly neat and tidy (lol 20 people had been cleaning for 3+ hours), we all knew that it was significantly cleaner. We finally had glassware in the glassware cabinet, the balance door opened smoothly without making a nails on the chalkboard sound, autoclaved pipette tips were abundant in the drawers, the benchtops were not cluttered with buffers from years ago, and, best of all, all the pipettes were properly calibrated. And that was the end of a good day. Just kidding. When does that ever happen in the lab? I had to inject my second sample in the HPLC and wait for it to run for an hour and wash it for another hour and then rotavap and lyophilize my substrate. And that was the end of a good day.

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