Alternate Title: Things TV Didn’t Warn Me About Conducting Experiments (In honor of getting our final grades for the first semester of Chemistry Lab.)

  1. Safety goggles fog up. All. The. Time. I think I’ve done half of my experiments with impaired vision.
  2. Once heated up, test tubes, crucibles, and Bunsen burners take forever to cool down. And because the universe is cruel, they take longer to cool down when you’re running behind schedule and having nothing to do but watch the rest of the class leave you behind.
  3. Test tubes are really fragile. So far I’ve broken three of them; none of which were actually being used in experiments at the time.
  4. Most of a chemistry experiment is the math you do afterward.
  5. A drop of liquid makes a difference on your experimental outcome. So does the oil on your fingers and whatever residue is left behind by tap water.
  6. And yet “cleaning”  lab equipment involves rinsing it with tap water and distilled water; no soap, sponges or scrubbers to be seen.
  7. Every so often, after all of the waiting and the math and the possibility for human error, you get it right and watch your solution transform from deep indigo to completely clear in what looks like a reverse puff of smoke. Way cool.