Spring break in the lab

To say I had an exciting spring break would be a lie. While most of my friends went off to magical places like San Diego, Mexico or Disneyland, I sat in a laboratory like the nerd that I am. I do take comfort in the fact that the chances of me being the only one to have a subpar spring break are slim to none. Here’s to us, the lame spring-breakers.

My dreams of far-off places and sunshine-bleached hair had to wait, since I had senior research projects, which I had been procrastinating. With only four and a half weeks of school left, I decided to stop staring at the fascinating white walls in my room and get to work.

What would be my ideal spring break for senior year? I envision a beach, with a daiquiri in my hand. I envision waves crashing on the shore and dolphins swimming in the distance. The sweet scene of Vitamin D soaking into my skin while sun-bathing sounds glorious. I want to hear the gulls squawking in the background and feel the sand squish between my toes. I want to be breathing in the crisp ocean air.

I do not envision lab benches covered in Petri dishes, Bunsen burners blazing on the bench and a flaming loop in one hand. I do not see linoleum floors. I do not want to be be breathing in stuffy lab air. The saddest part of this adventure were the three other microbiology students helping over spring break to make this research nightmare a reality.

Instead of pouring drinks, we poured liters of media. In place of sunshine, we had fluorescent light bulbs. In place of enjoying other cultures, we were growing them in the laboratory. Instead of a bikini, I was wearing a lab coat.

What does spending 32 hours in a laboratory feel like? I imagine it’s a lot like having an actual job, which sounds horrifying in itself. I guess I should get used to it and consider this spring break a crash course in post-graduation status.

For those of you non-science students who were able to take a real spring break vacation, I envy you. Although I will make more money than you in the long run, I wish I could put aside the busy work for a week. (I am kidding about the money thing; scientists really do not make much money.)

For those of you science nerds who spent time on school projects, I empathize with you. I think we should petition to have the school buildings and labs closed on spring break. The labs should be zoned “dangerous: nuclear waste” areas for this one week to provide sanity for all the overachieving students.

I believe spring break is a time for a well-deserved break. We work hard all year long, and spring break gives us the rejuvenation we need to finish the year without completely losing our minds. Since I am graduating, this is my last spring break ever. I’ve come to a realization that having a spring break filled with work is no fun, even though it came to the point where it was a necessity.

Here is my advice to all underclassmen: Don’t procrastinate and throw away the importance of spring break. It should be a fun college experience that should be lived to its fullest. Work hard so that you can play hard.