It's the last day of 2005, and I'm finally back at work.
Walked into the lab at 9.30, relatively early for a Saturday morning, and as expected nobody else showed up for atleast an hour. I'm now alone in the lab again.
It's so hard to get back after a month long break.
I seem to have chosen the perfect time to do so - the entire department will be under review for the next three days, so all the principal investigators (read Scientist-types) are under pressure right now. Students have been given exactly four days to prepare posters and set them up to show the Reviewers what their labs have been doing for the last five years. It's a high-stress situation, and in typical departmental style students have been asked to put up their posters tomorrow, that is Sunday.
A weekend? What's that? A productive day squandered away catching up on sleep.
I say typical because we've almost begun to believe that holidays are a luxury. Seminars have been organized on Sundays on previous occasions, and students have been called to attend an hour long lecture on National Holidays. Regularly.
A couple of months ago I was at the lab every other Sunday. I didn't even show up grudgingly- the immense guilt from failing repeatedly at an experiment and not procuring the desired result would keep me pushing myself to try harder. Not that it is a bad thing to persevere at an experiment, but I think some acceptance of the likelihood of every experiment not working out as desired was long overdue.
Sooner or later most students fall into a state of self-acceptance- irrespective of what your boss thinks, there's only so much you can do, and there's no point getting upset over failed experiments. I was asked by various seniors to take it easy, as the only predictable thing about research was that at any given point in time, a certain number of experiments will always fail, for reasons absolutely unfathomable to either you or your boss.
I'm not entirely convinced yet, but I'm getting there.
And as for how I'll be bringing in the new year, you can be sure I won't be doing anything remotely exciting. No parteh, no booze, no drunken calls in the middle of the night. Just hanging out with Roswitha, which is fun enough for me.