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Laboratory

Last week, while I was looking online for some microbiology information, I saw a blog-style article. Being interested, I clicked on the link to open the article and began reading. I’m a very opinionated person myself, and I respect others’ viewpoints so long as they have backing for those viewpoints, but I definitely didn’t like the tone in which parts of the article were written. For instance, at one point, the article talked about microbiology as a career in which you come home smelling like chemicals and whatnot every single day. It also said that you need at least an MS (if not a full-blown Ph.D.) in order to work in the field (which is very factual indeed).

At first, I was kind of upset by the article’s seemingly anti-micro tone. But then, I realized that I don’t mind what it said. I don’t mind coming home with the smell of nitrile gloves still present on my hands. I don’t mind having the lingering smell of autoclaved agar on my clothes. And, really, I don’t mind the thought of more school – sure, I’d love to be working full time out in the “real world” and coming home to errands instead of homework and studying, but, as I recently told my mom, I just don’t feel like I’m ready to be out of school yet.

Early this summer, as I was sitting with a friend and fellow intern at the microscope while performing a Gram stain procedure, he randomly said, “You know, we’re poets.” I looked at him like he was crazy. He said, “No, really, we are. We look at things that no one else sees. We try to understand those things. We’re poets.”

After considering his argument for a while, I realized that my friend was exactly right. Microbiologists study organisms that we literally can’t see without the aid of a microscope. We try to understand living things that many people place in the “out of sight, out of mind” category. We try to map out their genes and figure out how they’re going to mutate in order to protect our and other species inhabiting this planet. I knew ever since my first basic staining procedure in Dr. Thomasson’s microbiology course that I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else with my life; however, I never imagined that I’d become a poet at the same time.

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