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Topic: A chemist who is scared of lab  (Read 2876 times)

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Offline saippo

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A chemist who is scared of lab
« on: February 18, 2017, 01:39:49 AM »
Well this is gonna sound a bit dumb but I always enjoyed the theory behind chemistry. I liked pchem and ochem in general and the idea of studying these subjects more deeply excite me. I've spent hours doing problems and have enjoyed them. However I'm a bit of a worrywart and I feel uncomfortable in lab even when dealing with safe(ish) chemicals. I don't mind too much when someone is there with me and can double check what I'm doing but usually it's just me and I'm pretty terrified. Despite my best efforts, I've broken more test tubes than I can count and have been lucky that the substance inside have not been too toxic.
For some time I had hoped to be involved in synthetic/medicinal chemistry but do I need to give up these hopes?

Offline Dan

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Re: A chemist who is scared of lab
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2017, 02:13:06 AM »
How long have you been working at the bench? If you are very inexperienced, it may pass as you settle in. Chemistry should be respected but not feared. As highlighted in your post, the more you fear handling reagents, the less safe you will be and the more accidents you will have. You do need to get a handle on it for your own safety and that of those around you.

Are you performing formal risk assessments for all your reagents and planning what to do in the event of spills etc? This process will help you understand, respect and minimise the risks. Having a plan for dealing with accidents will also give you more confidence.
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Offline Ibrido

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Re: A chemist who is scared of lab
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 04:12:39 PM »
Chemistry should be respected but not feared.

This should be carved in stone, and the resulting plate exposed... well, everywhere.

That said, the problem pointe out by the OP sounds quite normal; I'm a theory freak too, and it got a lot to feel comfortable in the lab. You just have to do three things: practice, practice and practice.

And remember to breath deeply, every now and then  ;). Slowly, you'll start to become more and more confident.

Always trust yourself. Your solid, hard-learned theory will be invaluable in the lab.

Offline scientific

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Re: A chemist who is scared of lab
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2017, 04:06:39 PM »
Depends heavily on how long you have been in lab! My first day of my internship, I broke a sink full of dishes  ;D And apparently that was par for the course in that group.

Fear is good, but not so much that it causes mistakes. If you're a beginner, they're unlikely to let you stay alone in a lab setting, so make sure to get comfortable and be honest if someone asks if you can do this alone or need someone to show you--better to be safe than sorry!

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