So I received an email two weeks ago from Dr. Nicole Herbots, a professor at ASU whom I was working with, asking me if I could attend two lab sessions as a visitor. I hesitated at first because every time I remembered her research, long and boring papers would come to mind along with complex formulas that I did not have the understanding to grasp. The first lab session was on a Friday at around 1:00 PM and the second one was on a Monday around the same time on President’s day.
I decided to reject the invitation for the Friday lab session as I had school on the same day and to get there on time, I would have to leave at around 11 am. She replied saying that she understands my situation and asked me if I could attend the second lab session on President’s day as I would have the day off. I decided to ignore her email and wish she would not notice my silent disapproval. Two days later, she emails my physics teacher about that lab session asking her if I could attend. I had to agree on going as I had no valid reason to reject the invitation. I can endure four hours of boring lab work.
My host mother drops me off at ASU at around 12:40 pm. “I am 20 minutes early!” I thought. It took me 10 minutes of going through Google Maps and ASU’s online campus map to figure out the location of the building I’m supposed to be at. I eventually get there, and have 10 minutes left to waste. I decided to sit in the hall downstairs and wait the remaining time away. I looked around me and saw different college students on their phones or laptops while only one was eating what looked like green herbs out of a plastic box. Is this what college feels like? I guess I’ll have to wait to know.
It’s 1:00 PM and I decided to hop inside the elevator and go to the lab where I’m supposed to be. I quickly realized I have no idea what floor I’m supposed to be on. There were 3 other people with me in there and the guy asked each one of us for floor number we were heading to. When he got to me, I just nodded my head and he thought he already chose the floor I was heading to. Before he got off at the last elevator stop, I interrupt and show him the room I’m heading too. I had the website on my phone and it said GWC B34. GWC was the code name of the Gold Water Center, while B34 was the floor number followed by the room number. I did notice there’s an elevator floor numbered B and had to embarrass myself with that question. He told me it’s on floor B and I just head there.
I knock several times on the door and no one answers. There is someone in there, I saw their bald head! I texted Dr. Herbots but I received no reply so I assumed she was busy in a lab where she could not use her phone. Half an hour later, Alex pops out of nowhere with her skateboard. She said that Dr. Herbots sent her to look for me as they were running late and how she was not allowed to be in the other lab anyway as she was wearing shorts. Her key to the lab did not work so we just sit down and talk about random topics to kill time.
Dr. Herbots eventually show up with 3 other student researchers and someone’s mother. We headed into the lab, put our coats and hairnets on and started looking at the simulations. “Never start taking scientific measurements unless you have an idea of what you should get.” said Dr. Herbots. That’s why were looking at our simulations, so we could predict the outcome of our experiment.
I’m not sure of what I could disclose on the research but long story shorts, it was more exciting than I expected, I was actually in a lab for the first time, I got to work with a REAL particle accelerator, I was the guy taking notes (at least for the first part) and Dr. Herbots is a really interesting person. I also got really hungry and Yash’s mother gave me a clementine, shoutout to her!
My host mom comes back to pick me up and she asks me: “How was it?”
EXHAUSTING. FUN BUT EXHAUSTING.
On the ride back home, we discussed religion, her kids’ future, whether dinner is ready and teenage relationships. She is a really smart woman. Do I end up with the intelligent people just by chance or what?
At around 7 PM, I started skyping with a fellow Lebanese exchange student in North Carolina. I had a small crush on her because she looked like the perfect match for me: she was a Lebanese atheist, she loved science, she was really smart, she’s cute and she could actually debate ideas. I couldn’t really ask for more. Okay maybe it was not a small crush.
Anyway, I discovered she can be a bit sassier than expected. She implied I was a white girl because I have a Tumblr account, I straightened my hair at one point and can’t grow a full beard. I was offended because I actually liked her and I felt rejected although she could be just playfully teasing me. At the end of the call, I kinda just got angry at her and said “You have a short hair! Do you call yourself a women?” and she, with a smirk on her face, replies with “Really Moe? Bye.” Not a good way to end a call with your crush. Learn from my mistakes.
Okay, so then we texted for a bit and made a few jokes. She started making the same joke again and I said it’s starting to really annoy me. She apologized and I had to soften the mood and tell her I’m only annoyed because I myself make fun of white people. I suppose I have failed for the day as she said decided to go to bed.
It’s 12:45 am, it’s technically not February 15th anymore and I’m writing this journal for no one to read. Can life get any better?