With a new protocol expected to be put into effect in the next week or two, it is really important that myself and the other undergrad in the lab are both comfortable and confident with all lab practices. I have watched the process of sample collection and processing numerous times over the past few weeks I’ve been in the lab.
Today, we had a practice sample and collection run so the scientists could watch myself and the other undergrad to evaluate our technique and determine if they were comfortable allowing us to handle real samples. I have aliquoted samples prior to this summer, and I am comfortable using a pipette. Based on prior experience with aliquoting samples and using a micropipette, I thought it would be rather simple to complete the task as expected, but I was wrong. I found it very difficult to maneuver the tools and samples and made several mistakes. Thankfully it was just a practice sample and not a real experimental one!
I clearly have a lot of learning left to do, but I am excited to gain a new skill, and I have an increased appreciation for the people who work in science and make complicated tasks seem so simple.