Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Office

As a graduate student at UNC I am given an office with a desk. Because my class was rather large (25 of us, they normally have less than 15) they had to find a place to put us. So they cleared out an unused lab and put 11 of us in one office. It has actually been convenient because generally there is always someone there working on the same homework assignment as me and that makes my homework easier.

The downside is as a first year, and as a member of the large class of students, there aren't the same amount of basic resources, such as desks and bookshelves that grad students normally have. Thus we have to make due with whatever we have. I was lucky (or fast) to get a larger desk, but for a place to put my books I had to improvise, as can be seen from the photo to the right. Yes, that is a sink next to my desk, remember this used to be a lab. (OK, funny side story. As an old lab we used to have a warning sign up on our door detailing the hazards in the lab, level 3 reactivity, level 2 flammability, level 2 radioactivity, and it would scare the undergraduate students that had to come find one of us during our office hours. We would always have people knocking on our door and asking rather timidly, "Can I come in...Is it safe for me to come in? There's a sign out here saying there's radiation." But they eventually took down the sign, so now the only problem we have is that our office doesn't have a number.)

I found the particle board shelves and put them on top of my desk so that I had someplace to put my books. I know it's cheap but we didn't have a lot of stuff. I also had to go through several chairs before I found one that was the right height and wasn't broken. In the photo you can't really see my chair because it has my coat on it. We also have two couches in our office and a padded chair, as can be seen in the photos below (taken from my desk).

That's Dave on the couch. His desk in the other corner (the corner in the photo on the left), he's also an astro student, so we have all the same classes. We also have some very similar research interests. The couches are questionable, as we got them from the undergraduates. Some people will not even touch them, while others in the office sleep on them on a regular basis. We are considered lucky to have this office because we have so many windows. I must say it is nice to have a view of the outside, even when it is freezing cold, it's nice to see out and look at the snow (that's why the windows are so bright in the photos, it's the glare off of the snow).

It's not the most "designer" building on campus, but the building was built for practicality, not looks. It's hard to make the building look nice when we constantly have to add pipes and electrical cables to allow us to do our work. That is something that is entirely missed in Hollywood movies and TV shows, the wires, the cables, the pipes and random things (sinks, next to their desk), and no one really cares. We just work around them.

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

Your little home away from home? It's great to see a little view of your world.