Summer’s almost here, and everyone on campus is enjoying the beautiful weather. For many Patriots, this warrants a time to rejoice. Sandals, flip-flops, gladiators and the like are all here to liberate our feet. Many people have added carefree fashion pieces such as Capri pants, sleeveless shirts and some sheer clothing to their wardrobes. However, there’s a place on campus that this freedom is forbidden: the chemistry lab.
It’s already a bothersome part of most people’s week, and now the strict clothing policies add another reason to dread going to lab. Slogging through a two- to three-hour laboratory, with all of its procedures, calculations and other nuances, is tedious enough.
Added to this stressful situation is the fact that missing a lab is an unforgivable offense. If one attempts to make it up, at least an hour’s worth of scheduling is involved, which ends up being so frustrating that the endeavor is often dropped altogether. A large number of chemistry students recently experienced the attendant frustrations following a missed lab because they failed to comply with the dress code.
It is the purview of lab monitors to walk about the laboratory with their goggles and clipboards, inspecting our materials and making sure that we treat the lab as the sanctuary they believe it to be.
There were tumultuous moments in this paradise last week as droves of students were turned away at the door because of various clothing infractions. Maybe one student wore flip-flops or another wore Capri pants. Even worse, some students were midway through their experiments when the monitors noticed some dress code infraction and expelled the violators, who had to abandon the data from over an hour’s worth of work. Sadly, labs that are regularly filled to the brim appeared less than half occupied.
Though lab regulations might seem unnecessary and unfair at times, they are definitely a needed precaution. If we’ve learned anything from the hour-long safety videos, it’s that spilling something on yourself is a lot less farfetched than it might seem.
Though it seemed as if last week’s war on spring apparel was waged unexpectedly, it was a stern reminder of chemistry lab protocol. This may seem like a harsh way to end the semester, but there’s only one more lab left in the semester. For many College of Science students, this means washing their hands of general chemistry forever, which is a much-anticipated milestone.