Day in the Life of a GS-2

7:13 AM

I wake up after hitting the snooze on my alarm 3 times. Groggily arising out of bed I immediately creak towards the coffee machine and dump a sizeable mound of fresh grounds into the filter. Time to start another day.

7:37 AM

My first cup of coffee is gone so I return to the machine for a refill. There’s nothing quite like having a hot cup of coffee just after having a hot cup of coffee.

8:15 AM

I arrive at work. The crisp air-conditioned interior sends shivers down my spine as I leave the sweltering heat of summer in Alabama. Between the elevator and the door to my lab I peak into the break room. My fellow graduate student colleague is just starting a fresh pot of coffee. It’s going to be a good day.

9:13 AM

Lab meeting has begun. My boss, a thin tower of a man, begins to interrogate those at the table around him in a thick Texas drawl. As I quietly sit I ponder how tall he is.

6’5’’? 6’6’’?

He asks what I’m thinking so intently about. I lie and mutter something that sounds scientific. Satisfied he moves on to the student on my left.

10:37 AM

A C57BL/6 mouse sinks its needle sharp teeth into the soft flesh on the side of my thumb. I control my frustration by focusing on 2 facts. One, while painful, the bite didn’t break the skin, and two, considering my experimental plans involve giving these mice cancer, I probably deserve that.

11:17 AM

I sit at my desk skimming through a Cell paper for the journal club scheduled at noon. Making my way through the labyrinth of figures, I wonder how much more information my brain can possibly absorb before it begins to erase things that are truly important

Oh no…I think it’s already starting…

Does Charizard learn flamethrower attacker at level 42, or 45?

I no longer remember

I weep

12:07 PM

Journal club is beginning. As I sit next to two post-docs arguing over a paper they clearly didn’t read I wonder for the seemingly hundredth time why I’m here. Taking a bite of the free pizza in the paper plate on my lap jogs my memory.

12:56 PM

Returning to lab for the afternoon I feel tempted to pour myself a cup of afternoon coffee. I resist and applaud myself for my self-control.

12:57 PM

I decide to reward myself for my self-control with half a cup

2:41 PM

Crunching the numbers on the imaging data I just collected. The means of my experimental groups could not be more identical. The error bars are nearly nonexistent. It’s the most beautifully flawless compilation of data I’ve ever seen.  Somewhere in the fringes of my brain I begin to sense it may be beautiful for all the wrong reasons. Doesn’t matter. I continue bask in the ironic glow of the situation.


Suddenly remember I had a class scheduled at 2. I tell myself to set a reminder on my phone so I won’t forget next time.


I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to remind myself about. It’ll come back to me.


My colleagues are starting to leave the lab for the day. I decide to try and read one more review article before I go.


I leave after reading a single paragraph. See you tomorrow lab.

– Alex

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