Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Labs labs labs


New rule, all scholarship holders are supposed to help the boss to run his labs. That was how I got pulled into becoming a laboratory demonstrator. Okay so handling a whole bunch of undergrads is not my cup of tea, more so since I know what undergrads think about lab demonstrators since I was one a while ago. Haven't put on my coat for years and had to dust my musty one from the cupboard, feels a bit funny after not wearing one for so long.

Since my previous thesis was on bacteria culturing and assays, classes for marine biotechnology were going to introduce bacteria cultures for the first lab. In short, we had to teach the students in growth media preparation, homogenization of specimens and later serial dilution. Well explaining the concept is one things, later to be stared by 40 pairs of wide eyed students when you ask if they understood all that you have just said and if there is anything they wanted to ask before beginning only to be greeted by blank faces and blur expression is another thing all together. Well can’t care less, if they don’t ask and later they make mistake it’s their necks not mine.

Teaching aseptic methods in bacteria cultures is a bit hard when you have 8 students at one go closely huddled behind you and spreading their germs as they talked into the Petri dish. True enough when the cultures were incubated, it looked more like flu season with mucus than a nice separation of individual bacteria colonies that we were suppose to find. Were we ever that bad? The worst are the silent ones, the ones that you ask if they need help or if they know what they're doing and just nod as if in agreement. Others are more animated and can't stop blabbering even when they are transfering into the sterile plates which of course means a multitude of airborne bacteria zooming along into it rendering it contaminated. Others literally took us to our word that the ethanol rinsed onto their hands are liable to catch fire if they stray too near the flame lamp and they held the plate and streaker as if it was some kind of doomsday device ready to end their life.


So many antics and it was nice to talk and laugh post humously after when we left for our own lab. But seriously they just needed the practice and skills can be developed and improved through repetition, I can still remember my first attempt in pouring plate and streaking, I actually made gourges as wide as the Grand Canyon into the agar plate due to excessive hand shakes.


Adrian said...

Ah... the labs. For the life of me, NO WAY I am ever, ever gonna handle a petri dish full of I dunno what kind of infectious stuff! ARGH! I'll stick to my wires and meters, thank you :)

lise_nielle said...

UMS rite? I'm studying there now,doing food tech. Just wanted to say hi....Hopefully I wasn't one of those 40 pairs of eyes staring at you!

Kervin said...

adrian: You can go and have you sensual electrical jolts from your ICs, don't see anything interesting in wires and circuits, dissecting something with organs is more my cup of tea. hehe

lise_nielle: Hi *waves*! yup UMS. Haha no lar don't think you were in my class, handling the marine science and aquaculture labs for supervisor. Food tech mmm, hehe maybe will bump into you once of these days though I rarely venture from IPMB.