October 31st is not the only scary day in the life of a grad student. Here some of the GradLife team’s stories.
Creepy moments at McGill
- Working late at night in the lab and hearing strange sounds! Such as machines beeping (or the refrigerator’s motor) or security walking by or things falling.
- Plastic beakers moving by themselves because of moisture on the bottom? Lol!
- I’m always scared of centrifuge! Such strange noises.
- I worked late in the office and got this weird late call on the office phone, where I could hear creepy Halloween music in the background and this lady kept saying, “Hello, hello!” So creepy!!!
- I am 90% sure that my building is haunted. I work in the Lyman Duff – a dusty old medical science building, with a morgue in the basement and quotes about death in Latin on the lobby walls. Several times, while taking the elevator to go up to my floor, the elevator door would stop closing halfway and reopen exactly as if someone had pushed their arm in – but there would be no one outside the door, and nothing inside the elevator close enough to block it. Also, the motion sensor lights sometimes turn on by themselves, when no one is close enough to trigger the sensor.
Scary moments in Grad Life
- Dropping/spilling/spoiling/losing a precious sample.
- I find watching other people’s presentations terrifying. Because I always start imagining myself doing it, but without remembering that I have more time to get there, so I will be prepared then.
- I’m scared by the idea that things might go wrong and I might have to go back to my country without a degree. The speech one of my profs gave at the beginning of the year was scary. It was something like “in research you have to pay attention, if you make certain mistakes, your career may be spoiled forever.”
- My thesis based on finding a technique for a model, I always thought I found one before the meeting and I got lost after the meeting. Never ends!
- Giving my first conference as a TA (interacting with students about a reading). It was in English (!) and I didn’t know WHAT was a conference, since I didn’t study at McGill for my undergrads. I was, literally, shaking.
- Making an etchant (chemical solution) for the first time or disposing it to the right container ( what if suddenly you hear a boum !).
- Right before I did my switch seminar (to transfer from the Master’s to the PhD program), a competing lab published a paper that was VERY similar to my project. At first glance, I thought I had been scooped, and I freaked out thinking that I would have to retool my entire project weeks before I had to present to the entire department! Thankfully, by reading the paper closely I saw that there were still gaps that had been left unaddressed that I could tackle with my own project, but that was still a scary experience.
Out-of-McGill strange timing
- There were two huge domestic fights in my building within my first two weeks after moving to Montreal for my grad studies. I was terrified to stay there!
- I visited an old castle in Ireland and played with my violin. When my father and I went back to the car, the windows opened by themselves!
What is your scary event?