Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Do Your Share!

One day out of the year in the Handelsman lab is dedicated to cleaning up the entire lab and replenishing stock-solutions. On a daily basis, everyone does a fairly good job of cleaning up their personal messes…pipette tips, dead flies, fecal matter all go in their respective waste bins. But you’d be surprised how much dust accumulates under weigh-balances and how many bottles you’ll find with liquids dated all the way back to 2010. That makes me wonder why they weren’t trashed during last-year’s lab clean-up, but that’s besides the point. As a lab, we collectively spent three straight hours assigned to our assigned areas, cleaning and laughing at the gross sites of filth that we found and boxes of materials belonging to people we forgot had ever worked in the lab. It’s on days like these that you learn who was forced to do chores growing up. Those who scrubbed endlessly at every spot on the counter and offered to help with jobs that weren’t assigned to them obviously aren’t new to cleaning chores. But it was those who swept dust underneath their beds instead of the garbage that did minimal work. You’d think that a group of working adults would be more productive at cleaning a lab, but we made sarcastic jokes about old, nearly unidentifiable liquids and one another. I’ve come to learn that my co-workers are some of the most sarcastic and laid-back scientists I know…who would have ever thought. The best part of lab clean-up day is never cleaning; it’s the pizza! Post clean-up, we reward ourselves with boxes of yummy pizza for lunch. In my last few weeks here, I look forward to watching the lab become progressively filthier.

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