The Change-Up

Good afternoon,

I am not a fast worker.   Not for academics nor for research.  Thank God, however, that multitasking does not require speed.

One the first lessons I learned while in the Harbron Lab (first semester, sophomore year) was the necessity of multitasking.  I realized its use when I began performing purification columns on my own.  The first column I conducted took me all day.  And that was with help.  As a more experienced individual, I have no idea why it took that long.  But when the process goes adversely the saying is “Every column is different.”

The procedure is the same but done one by one, I would never be able to leave lab.

The column needs to be packed tightly and correctly otherwise it will crack


Enough solvent must be mixed(at the start and during)

Said solvent must not disturb the top sand layer, craters in sand layer = life is harder

AVOID the solvent level to dropping below the sand layer ( a dry column is … not good)

product prep ( may change according to situation)

impurity/desired product identification while column ongoing

NO STOPPING ( unless completely unavoidable)

On and on the list goes.

Thankfully, like everything else, it gets better with time.   I have applied multitasking to my summer research a time over.  Side projects may arise for some topics, miniature experiments with variables from solvents to dye derivatives.  In the end, the ability to process and organize a continuing influx of information is aptly tested.

Time is winding down and school is lastly approaching.  I can’t believe it.  This has been no doubt the MOST PRODUCTVE summer I have ever had.  I am looking forward to more such summers.