Over the past few weeks, most of you will have encountered that magical time of year: the research institute end of year bash. A chaotic time that comes but once a year. PhD students, postdocs, lab techs, and even PI’s come together to relieve an entire years’ worth of academic stress. It is truly a sight to behold. Some of you will have gotten through this experience unharmed. However, if you did find it to be a somewhat traumatic experience here are a few dos and don’ts to get you through the next impending scientific holiday season.
? Don’t talk to your boss whilst drunk
It might seem like a good idea to have a few bants with your boss at the Christmas party. This is usually fine; it’s a good, relaxed environment to have a nice chat. Maybe your PI is quite intimidating and this type of setting is ideal to strike up a casual convo. However! Do not attempt this after your third Jager bomb and the x number of tequila shots you’re not sure if you had or didn’t have. Just don’t do it! You will obviously look like a fool. You won’t remember what you said but your PI will. It will be so awks on Monday and you will regret it for the rest of the year.
? Do use the opportunity to network with people
The end of year party is a fantastic time to mingle. Break out your best jokes. Have a bit of a sing-song with the lab down the corridor. It’s all good fun and the more people you know in your building the more people around to help you with your quest for good science! Now is your chance to have a bit of a chit-chat with one of the bioinformaticians that might be able to help you analyze your data. Or maybe you’ve had a bit of a thing for that guy on the floor above you. Now is your chance to talk to him. Maybe he likes you too! Ooo!
? Don’t check your emails at the end of the night
It’s really tempting to go back upstairs, log into your computer, and check those work emails. Maybe you have to wait for a taxi to pick you up. Maybe your mate is making use of the bathrooms. Whatever the reason, don’t check those emails! There’s a good chance you will be in an inebriated, tired, or generally emotionally-charged state by that time. You will pass poor judgment. Your emails will come out like those embarrassing and angry texts you send after leaving a bar at stupid-o’clock, or after the lab meeting from hell, or just following your usual painful commute. Leave it alone. They will still be there Monday and no one will have to decipher your crazy rants.
? Do try to get home at the end of the night
You don’t want to be that massive weirdo who falls asleep in the lab. No one will buy that you were “working late”. Trust me. Especially if you are new to this institute. It’s just weird and no one will ever let you forget it. You will be that guy who fell asleep in the basement or the tea room or the lab or the elevator and that will stick with you for life. Also when you wake up you will not have a clue where you are! Panic will ensue. Then you realize you are at work and you have to do the walk of shame out of your institute and make your way back home. Perhaps this was your last day and you are leaving to go home for Christmas the next day. No one wants to shuffle home, bleary-eyed, just to pack a suitcase and get a flight. Get home. Get in your PJs. Live your best life. Or just go mental it’s up to you really. It’s only once a year after all.
? Don’t try to drink the 100% ethanol
It is a very bad idea to go up to your lab at the end of the party and try to drink any of the alcohols usually used for lab experiments. Just because it says it’s 100% ethanol doesn’t mean you can just dilute it to 60% with some lemonade from downstairs. It will taste nasty! (Apparently…I mean, I wouldn’t actually know…) You will instantly regret this. Most importantly don’t drink the methanol. This is never a good idea. You
could will go blind! Actually, just don’t drink anything you’re not meant to! Not smart. Not cool. By all means do falcon tube shots. These are great fun! Just make sure that what you are shooting does not come from the grimy fume-hood cupboards. Have a nice festive shot of tequila or maybe even a civilized dose of some sort of mulled beverage.
The most important thing to remember is – have a good time! You’ve been slaving away in the lab all year and let’s face it you all deserve a break. Let your hair down. Do some karaoke. Have a few drinks. If it was a bit of a mess this year don’t worry everyone else was trashed and won’t remember. If you were a bit timid and didn’t go the whole hog, also don’t worry. There is always next years party. Now go! Enjoy your Christmas hols. Because it’s back to the lab in January. Woohoo! Science!