By: Amanda Labuza
OBSERVATIONS FROM WORKING IN A LABORATORY:
1. If you want that weird noise to go away, ask your PI to come listen to it. It will stop just before
they walk into the room.
2. Your worst enemy will be your past self who didn’t write enough details in your lab notebook.
3. Disney songs will make anesthetized rats die…every…single…time.
4. Unless your mother is also a scientist, she will never understand what you study or why you
can’t tell her your graduation date yet.
5. PCR reactions do not appreciate Neil Diamond. DNA extractions prefer rock to country music.
There is no current data on hip-hop.
6. The time you accidentally throw your gel on the floor, it will be the best looking western blot
you ever do. Purposely throwing your gel on the floor will ruin it and is a waste of time and
7. Rerunning a gel so the samples are in a logical order for a published figure will always result in a
worse gel than the original that had extra, unrelated samples.
8. The five minute break you take to play solitaire or check Facebook will be the only time of day
your PI shows up at your desk.
9. The best way to find a typo in your poster is to look at it just after you print it.
10. You will only spill something on yourself the day you wore something nice, no one is around,
and you didn’t put on your lab coat.
11. Right after you throw away all the expired reagents in your lab, you will realize you have no
12. The day you need to finish on time will be the day everything goes wrong.
13. If you don’t know how they got p <0.05, look at the statistical test they ran and it will all make
14. If your cells are not dead but not healthy, they have reached a zombie-like state. Beware.
15. The one figure you don’t understand, is the figure you will be asked to explain in class.
Finally: Everyone feels like giving up at some point. Remember why you started and keep going.
DISCLAIMER: The author of this article in no way guarantees these tips to work 100% of the time. They
are based off of careful observation and personal experience. We are not responsible for ruining your
experiments based off of these superstitions.