Saturday, August 18, 2007

Next Phase of Summer

I finished my research at the lab on Thursday. It's kind of hard to believe that I've been working in that lab for the last 4 summers, how quickly time moves. I'll finally have my name in 2 scientific papers (when they get published) and that's really exciting. The only annoying thing is that I haven't been paid in full yet this summer, grrr. I hate that university's administration branch, so slow and incompetent. I need to send an email to this guy to make sure I get paid however much I'm supposed to under the undergrad program I worked through. Sigh.

Every time a person leaves the lab, the entire lab goes out to lunch. This time we went to Buffalo Wild Wings. One of the post-docs didn't come in for work and met us there. He was "preparing," haha. The other post-doc was fasting to see if he could bring his cholesterol down before his next doctor's visit, and he was so torn between going and not. He didn't end up going. The rest of the lab convinced our PI to go since he wasn't originally too keen on it.

So there we were, at Buffalo Wild Wings. It was pretty good, it's only the second time I've been there. The post-doc was trying to break the record of 36 boneless chicken wings, but he only got to 20. 8 of them had to be the hottest wings they have, which are Blazin. But the Blazin at this place was rather mild compared to the Blazin I had in another city. The other undergrad who goes to my university ate 19, and I ate 18 without anyone noticing until hours later. As they said, I "flew under the radar." I tend to be good at doing that, most of the time. But yeah, lab lunches are always loads of fun. The lab paid for me and the PI (that's how they convinced him to go, though he forgot about that by the time we got there). Food is truly one of those things that can bring people together.

Of course we went back to the lab afterwards and felt completely unproductive from being so full. That always happens too. Leaving that lab for perhaps my last time felt really strange. But it was a good ending. The 3 undergrads in the lab (including myself) left at the same time, so we took the elevator down together. I remember leaving for my car with nothing more than a wave goodbye and a laughing smile (at what? I wonder). In a way, it was almost like a cheesy movie ending.

What's weirder to think is that the lab will probably have a complete turn-over in a year or two. I'm leaving the lab this summer and so is the other undergrad who goes to my university. The last undergrad will stick around for at least another year. One of the two grad students will be graduating by next May, so he'll be gone. And one of the post-docs, unless he can secure a grant very soon (best of luck to him), will probably have to find a new lab next year as well. So that really leaves the PI, one post-doc, one grad student, and maybe one undergrad. The size of the lab will be cut in half, and that's kind of depressing.

But everyone at some point will go their separate ways, and life moves on. While this is sad, it's nice to think that each parting is a good one, and I don't believe in true goodbyes. And with each ending there is a new beginning, so onto the next phase of summer for me.

A few days of limbo at home, filling out applications like crazy. Apparently I'm getting snappy, so clearly I've been at home for way too long. It's okay though, because in a few days I'll be visiting other relatives in CA with my family. I love CA, it's great - great weather, great food. The only thing about the Midwest that I miss when I'm in CA is the lawn, which is kind of weird to think of. I don't think I'd miss snow too much, since in my state the weather's so fickle anyway that winters are more just cold than snowy. And I don't like the cold much, I don't think I'm evolved for it. Anyway, I'll be in the Bay Area (Milpitas, San Jose, San Francisco, etc) of CA for 8-9 days. But as soon as we come back, my brother and I will have to move back to the university. Basically, we must pack not only for CA, but also for college right now.

I'm really happy about people commenting on this blog. It's one of those things I suppose (I'm so easily amused). Anyway, since I don't know if this blog thing has a reply function to comments, I'll probably just post my replies to questions I see in the comments. So if you post a question in your comment, look for my answers there too sometime later.

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