02 February, 2007

A day in the life

Lab Lemming wants to know what I do in a typical day. I’m not sure I have a “typical day”, but today is as good as any other I suppose.

Job title: Paleomagnetism technician (bear this in mind for what follows)
Insitution: School of Ocean and Earth Sciences, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.
Date: Friday 2nd February, 2007

Prevailing conditions:

  • The deadline for handing in the third year mapping projects is Monday
  • Semester 1 exams have just finished
  • Our cryogenic magnetometer is not being used this week because we need a helium refill (which was going to be done this morning but has been put back to Monday).

8:30-8:45: Walk into work
8:50: Switch on my computer and open exam paper to mark.
8:55: Computer beeps – student has e-mailed wanting me to check their map before they print it
8:55-9:15: In computer room consulting with stressed and sleep-deprived student.
9:20: Get back to my office to find another pile of exam scripts on my chair. This lot really liked my question, it seems.
9:20-10:00: Marking
10:00-10:15: Another student wanting help with his cross-sections
10:30-10:45: Yet another student; this one wants his report abstract checked, and reassurance regarding the word limit.
11:00-11:20: In lab to show a fourth year undergraduate how to do susceptibility measurements (for their dissertation project).
11:30-11:45: Get fed up with constant interruptions and go and have coffee.
11:50-12:00: Dragged back to the lab by panicky student who thinks she’s broken the computer. She hasn’t, it’s just so old (DOS, no less) that she doesn’t really get how it works.
12:00-12:45: Marking.
(12:25: Course co-ordinator pops in to check that I have got the latest batch of exam scripts. He’d like them back early next week (!) )
12:45-12:50: Some more students, this time people doing 4th year dissertation who want to book some lab time.
12:50-1:30 pm: Lunch.
1:30-2:45: Finally get a moment of quiet to get through some marking. Promisingly, most appear to be written in a language resembling English.
2:45-3:00: Start sending out e-mails about laboratory schedule for the coming weeks (given that it’s going to be chaos when I leave, I want to make sure everyone has some machine time).
3:00-3:30: Reinvaded by stressed students.
3:30-3:45: A bit more marking.
3:45-4:30: More mapping consulation down in the computer room with even more stressed and sleep-deprived students.
4:30-4:45: Need caffeine.
4:45-5:00: Work on lab schedule for those who have bothered to respond to my e-mails.
5:00-5:30: Finalise marks on first exam question. Two more to go!
5:30-5:45: Tidy stuff up before heading to the pub for a well-earned pint or three.

It’s not like this every day – Thursday was spent mainly trying to sort out someone’s misorientated sample data, Monday will mainly be spent sorting out the helium refill. The common theme, perhaps, is that of me doing a lot running about on other peoples’ behalf.

I’m passing this on to Transient Reporter (assuming that he’s not snowed under changing nappies, I don’t really want to hear about that) and Thermochronic, but everyone should pile in. Now, where's that pint...

1 comment:

Wildtype said...

Oops. Didn't realize that I'd been tagged. Will get on it tomorrow...