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Research Attachment Programme

It's already the 4th week now. I had wanted to blog during the 1st week, but I kept procrastinating. This is a really bad habit, and it will be one of my New Year resolutions to stop procrastinating and have some self-discipline.

I remember on the 1st day (20 Nov 2012), the other 8 students and I gathered at the Level 6 conference room. We filled in many forms. We were assigned 2 lab coats, 1 log book and 1 temporary pass. Then William, a scientist, explained a little about each project, then he assigned the projects. I realised that I had no courage. I didn't even dare to raise my hand up after I saw a boy get the project I was kind of interested in. It was partly because I was indecisive too. I didn't whether I fit the requirements of each project or if I could finish the project or if I was interested in it. The time given to us to decide which project we want was also short. Eventually, I chose the project about "Culturing human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) in serum-free media". So I got it and I got assigned to the laboratory, Stem Cell 2. I can tell you I am so lucky and so glad I chose SC2. SC2 consists of Allen (Boss), Kah Yong (my mentor), Alan (Xiao Ling), Filip, Tony, Yu Ming, Lynn, Brenda (鸭女), Jasmin (Jasming/ Bogay/ Babe), Hong Yu (BFP/ Xiao Hong/ Ah Beng), Edna and Sherwin. The people there are wonderful and really very friendly. But when I got there, I was thinking, "Woah. Doctors, doctors everywhere." Xiao Ling, KY, Boss, Filip were PhDs. Gosh. And on 7 Dec, Lynn also became Dr Yap. *.*

Then there was a safety briefing and a test that we had to pass before we could work in the lab. I learned many interesting things about how the things are built to ensure our safety. E.g, the pressure in the office is higher than that in the lab, so air would blow into the lab instead of blowing into the office. So that harmful things like biological agents can't escape from the lab. So we have to keep the lab doors closed at all times. E.g, the emergency staircases at the Firefighting Lobby and Smokestop Lobby had special doors. When you open the door, you will feel that the door is quite heavy and that wind is blowing from the staircase. This is to prevent the smoke and flames from entering the stairway for at least a few hours. E.g, we must keep the doors of the Freezer/ Cell Bank open when you fill something with liquid nitrogen because when the liquid nitrogen in there becomes gas, it expands by many times. So if we are in an enclosed area, the oxygen level will become very low suddenly and there is risk of asphyxiation! Yep yep, I learned many cool things! ^^ But the Freezer is apparently always left open.

On the first few days, I was really feeling very ignorant, because I didn't know or I haven't even heard before the things that my mentor was saying. But that's okay, I slowly learned the difficult terms. Wikipedia and google are really everybody's best friend. Even my mentor asked me to refer to Wiki, haha. There were lots of reading to do, and the lab stuff hadn't started yet. So it was quite boring during the 1st week.

After the first week, I felt it was much more fun! I liked lab. I liked working with pipettes. I liked using the hood. I liked doing stuff that my peers aren't doing :)

I like the people in SC2, especially Xiao Hong, Edna, Jasmin, Brenda, Yu Ming and perhaps my 'boss' Kah Yong. Kah Yong is really funny, but he stresses me out sometimes. Like when I do the calculations for the experiments, he goes, "I'll just trust your calculations." He doesn't check whether they're correct, and I'm worried if my experiments will screw up if I calculated wrongly. The rest are nearer to my age, so I find it easier to talk to them. I grew really close to them and whenever some of them take leave, I would feel very sian.

When I have lunch with KY and other people, it seems like the topic of marriage and dating is always brought up. And since it's so irrelevant to me, I felt bored and wondered when we can go back. Haha and KY will notice. Then he'd say, " She must be thinking why all these uncles and aunties are talking about this. It's so boring." Then when people e.g. Lynn talk to me about boyfriends, KY would say, "What makes you think she doesn't have a boyfriend? Maybe she is already at a further stage than you (Lynn has a boyfriend for 11 years already). Maybe she already has kids. Maybe she already divorced once." LOL WTF. When I have lunch with the younger people, they sometimes will also start talking about their boyfriends and girlfriends. Then I would be thinking why they are all attached. I would just listen on...

Usually for lunch, we go to first-stop / Holland Drive Market. Other times we went to Matrix, Coffee Couture, The Lawn Cafe and MOE Cafeteria. And The Star Vista for bubbletea and gifts.

Now I'm already finished my 4th week and will be starting my 5th and last week of attachment. (Yes, I took one week to finish this post. My procrastination is seriously severe.) Time really flies when you look back. This is one cliche sentence, but everybody thinks so too. I'm totally gonna miss all of them when I leave on 21 Dec... :'(

I really really like my friends there!
Xiao Hong is really very caring, yet mischievous. He changed my chair on the 1st day to better one (I'm very grateful for that, but I was shy so I didn't say anything though), but he raised the chair to the highest height. Hahaha. In the lab, when I'm observing KY, he offers me a chair. When I'm pipetting stuff, he placed the container for ejecting pipette tips closer to me. When I'm observing him in the lab, he'll explain what he's doing to me. He opens the door for everybody almost every time. He also gives me advice on stuff too, like my poster and med school. He has original pranks! He particularly loves to prank Jasmin. One day, I came to work and saw Jasmin's desk and computer screen covered with post-its. No doubt about it, it's Xiao Hong's masterpiece. I was thinking that it's such a waste of paper. Then Sherwin killed some more trees by writing "DON'T WASTE PAPER" on a blank piece of paper. -.- Ironic. Then Jasmin came to work and crushed and threw away Sherwin's paper. Ouch. Well, anyway, I think I should ask Xiao Hong to be my shifu in pranking. Hahaha.

Jasmin also tries hard to retaliate by 'pranking' Xiao Hong back, but in my opinion, quite fail. For example, she took the post-its on her desk and put it on Xiao Hong's chair. But Xiao Hong is totally unaffected. At first, he just sat on them, then he put it on top of the trash bin. It's not even in the bin, it's one whole big layer of post-its covering the dustbin top lol. Jasmin's screensaver says "BOGAY, STOP EATING!!!!!" and the text moves horizontally. And I can say from personal experience, such reminders do not work. I keep snacking from our mini-pantry in the office. And I think I got 1 kg heavier from snacking during the holidays. :( I need PE lessonssssss~

Yu Ming, Edna and Lynn give me simple lab stuff to do sometimes when I have nothing to do, like Yu Ming asked me to prepare media and that's how I got to use a filter unit! Yay. And Brenda has lots of stories to tell. Edna and Brenda are also KPop fans! Edna likes Taemin from SHINee while Brenda likes SNSD. Haha there aren't many girls who like girl bands.

There was a Secret Santa event in SC2! Everybody draws a name of the person to buy presents for and "Naughty" or "Nice". The budget was $20, but there were $10 Capitalmall vouchers from the lab, so we only needed to pay $10 more. I got Lynn and Nice. I bought her the Face Shop black crack effect nail polish and a necklace from J8. Sherwin gave Xiao Hong really 'naughty' presents, a pen that was supposed to look like a woman's body (the breasts could roll but they looked like eyes instead), oral sex candy (ingredients were that of a normal candy's, and nobody dared to try them) and condom lollipop. Edna gave Jasmin panties stuffed in a monster pouch. The monster pouch from This and That in The Star Vista is damn cool, it's a really long zipper and you could unzip until it's a piece of long cloth. Brenda gave Edna colour pens that could write on most surfaces, even fingernails and a set of black lacy lingerie. Sometimes I feel this lab has many pervertic people. Hah.

Now to do my poster for the attachment... Byebye~

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