*This probably only applies to those of you entering college, as high school lab work seems to be much more chill. Also, this is just my experience and may very well vary from place to place.*
- Sleep a decent amount of hours (if you can, have a nap right before) and EAT BEFORE YOU GO THERE - lab work is physically exhausting, you’re usually there for several hours and you can count the times you get to sit down on one hand.
- Read whatever information you are given about your lab work beforehand. You don’t want to get there and not know what’s going on.
- Be active! There’s nothing worse than a lab partner than needs to be told to do things. If you’ve read whatever info you were given, you’ll have an idea of what to do so take the initiative. Offer to do stuff. Don’t just stand around waiting for orders.
- Wear layers. Labs are freezing cold 10% of the time and scorching hot 90% of the time (especially once you put on your lab coat). The heat is specially bad because you may even get dizzy so please wear layers (the lightest one should be a short-sleeve or tank fop).
- Don’t forget:
- Water bottle - heat = dehydration
- Hair tie - tie your hair up. Just do it.
- WEAR COMFY SHOES - you may think those boots are soo comfy and chic but I guarantee you’ll change your mind after there hours of standing. Sneakers are the way to go
- Yes you can just have one lab coat. But you still need to wash it. Volatile solvents don’t mask B.O.
- Things break. Try your best not to break them but know that it’s not that big of a deal so don’t worry too much if you do.
- ‘Water’ always means deionized water. Always. Unless stated otherwise. Seriously, it can ruin your whole experiment. Also when you’re washing any equipment, you should always give them one last rinse with deionized water.
- If you need to take away from something you’re weighting or a liquid you’re transfering with a pippete, that never goes back into the ‘original tub’. It’s a residue.
- Painted nails + organic solvents equal ruined nails. Gloves don’t help. Beware. But, gloves are great and v recommended if you’re dealing with oh idk rat pee.
- Once you get home, you’re probably just going to want to pass out. Don’t. Do whatever you have to do (have coffee ready?) to write as much as you remember about what you’ve done. It makes writing the lab write-up. So. Much. Easier.
- On the same note, if you know you have something due the day after a lab, get it done beforehand because you probably won’t have the energy to do it afterwards. If you have lab work all week long (like I do), get as much done on the weekend as possible
- Listen, if you know an upper classman who’s taken that class, ask to borrow their write-ups.
Beg for them if you must.They will save your life.
- Have a lab write-up template. You can look for one online or model It after your professor’s directions or an upper-classman’s write-up. Having something that you can just ‘fill in’ is super convenient.