All Work and No Play — OK, Maybe Just a Little Play

If you have that preconceived concept, as I once did, that scientists do nothing all day but merrily toil in their labs, pour ambiguous neon liquids from one beaker to the next and jot incomprehensible equations on a blackboard, well, sorry. That’s fiction.

The truth is that being a scientist can be a downright stressful gig.

Before they can pursue the undiscovered, they have to pursue funding so that they can actually perform the research that’s expected of them. Whenever they do don the stereotypical but regulation-required white lab coat, it’s usually to do the same tedious, non-glitzy experiment multiple times with the hope of coming up with some sort of data worth publishing. Those world-changing discoveries are few and far in between, and even then, more follow-up research must be done, which of course means more grants must be secured. It’s a vicious cycle.

Most of them also teach courses each semester, which involves a fresh new realm of stress. On top of everything else, they have to somehow squeeze in the time to create and plan lectures, hold student office hours and grade assignments and exams. (By the way, scientists and lab techs are among the heaviest coffee drinkers in the U.S.)

Breathing down their necks are supervisors wanting publications, students wanting help with homework and the rest of the world wanting answers to a laundry list of questions on everything from the cosmos to cures. They have obligations to fulfill and deadlines to meet. Normal work hours and weekends are never guaranteed.

To put it bluntly, being a scientist is demanding career. Thankfully, the scientists at Texas A&M, are able to find ways to smile through it all, no matter how strenuous it gets. It’s that whole ‘all work, no play’ notion, and big surprise, they excel at that, too. Here’s a lighthearted look at some of our faculty finding joy in the job(s) they do so well.

One thought on “All Work and No Play — OK, Maybe Just a Little Play

  1. Pingback: 2014 In Review | Texas A&M Science

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