Sunday: My mom and stepdad Bruce helped me move in to my room (McClellan 311 !!!!). It was super hot out and lugging all of my belongings up three flights of stairs was not the most fun thing we’ve done. But eventually with mom’s help we got my room all into order, and then we met Bruce at the racino where I lost a whopping $5 on the slots.
Monday: I had Monday off, so I used the day to go shopping for some extra stuff that I needed for my room, including snacks and a much needed fan. Now I’m glad it’s nice and cool in my room!
Tuesday: Tuesday was my first day of work! In the morning I had a meeting with all the summer research students, and it was a lot of fun. We all got to know each other a little bit and played human bingo. I was surprised to see how many students were researching in non-science disciplines; lots of people are working on extremely creative projects. I had lunch with some upperclassmen girls that I met, and some of them were doing research although they had already graduated. I then went to meet with Bernie, and we met and discussed my research for a bit, and I received my first assignment. I needed to pick out the mice that are to be used for the running wheels and take inventory of all the mice we had for our experiment. It seemed like an easy task, but it was really rather difficult. Then he taught me how to use a statistics program (SAS) that we could use to analyze some weaning weight data that we already had, and he gave me an assignment for the next day.
Wednesday: I went to the lab on wednesday and typed in all of the data we needed to analyze (about three pages worth!) into SAS and copied the data onto another pad of paper so we would always have a hard copy. Then I met with Bernie, and we ran the program which performed ANOVA (analysis of variance) testing on our data. Afterwards he had me take an online training course so I would be certified to work with the mice. It took so long and was so boring! When I was done, I met another student who was working with Bernie, Bah, who is studying toxicity in fruit flies. His research sounded very interesting. Later, Bernie gave me another job for the next day–to change the bedding of all our mice, and make sure they have enough food and water. He showed me how to do it and then I could say that I had finished my second day of research!
Thursday: Thursday’s job was a smelly one. I changed all of the mouse bedding just like Bernie had showed me. And when I thought that all the smelly jobs were over, I was wrong. Dead wrong. Bernie showed me all the running wheels that were occupied by rats, which needed to be occupied soon by my mice. Rats smell a million times worse than mice, and I had the lucky job of cleaning their cages too. The cages get so mucked up that I had to take them apart, put each cage into two industrial-grade dishwashers, run each dishwasher twice, and then scrub the cages the rest of the way clean. The whole process takes about 20 minutes per cage. It was horrible! What’s worse is that Bernie had to sacrifice the rats that were living in these cages, and he showed me the correct protocol to do so. The rats were well into old age (for rats, anyway) so I didn’t feel so bad about their double deaths (they need to be killed in two different ways to assure that they aren’t still alive). I was so glad when I was done with all of that, because then I got to see my boyfriend, Cody! He had a solo in his choir concert (which he was amazing in) so I drove back home to Gloversville to see it. It was nice seeing my parents and my cat, Daisy, again, as well as Cody. I stayed home overnight and drove back the next morning.
Friday: Friday was a fun-filled day of rat cage cleaning. There are 32 cages per room, and Bernie and I managed to get quite a few done. But I was most looking forward to the Zac Brown Band concert at SPAC!!!! My friend Mary Grace and Cody came up from Gloversville to see it with me. I ordered pizza and doughboys from Esparanto’s (best pizza I’ve found so far in Saratoga http://www.go2esperanto.com/ ) and we ate some and headed to SPAC. There were soooo many people there, around 25,000. It was a lot of fun! I was so glad Cody was able to come, because he loves Zac Brown Band, and now so do I. I was so glad they played my favorite song, Colder Weather. And I was so glad it didn’t rain! It was nice hanging out with Mary Grace and Cody, and Mary Grace stayed the night 🙂
Saturday: I spent the day with Mary Grace, and it was some much needed girl time. I showed her around campus (including my mice), we played Quidditch with Allison, pet some goats and bunnies at the alumni petting zoo, went to get gelato, went to the mall, ate burritos and endless chips at Moe’s, and just had an all-around great time.
Sunday: It was my dad’s surprise 50th birthday party, and my sisters Chantelle and Nicci and my uncle Doug came to celebrate it. I drove to Clifton Park all by myself (what a feat!) and I think my dad was really surprised. Chantelle and her husband Tim made a delicious four-course gourmet meal and I got to spend time with my nephew Elijah. It was nice to see my dad’s side of the family all together.
And THAT was my first week as a researcher!! How exciting! Now everyone’s all up to speed 🙂