For much of the last year my life and schedule have revolved around daily rotifer census. How often I go to campus, at what times, when I have time for anything else and the energy and time I have for anything else have all depended on lab work. When I could rely on my students to take care of it, I could do other things. Frequently, very frequently, my supply of dependable students was not up to the demands of taking data on and caring for several hundred animals each day. Even when my students are scheduled to do everything, it is rare for a day to go by without questions, problems or scheduling issues. If I am not in lab for a day or two both the quality of the data and the survival of the animals begins to decline.
So it feels like a big deal that my lab work will be done this week. Thursday. I've told my students that after that they are free to continue working on their side projects, but I'm not going to be in the lab. I'm not going to spend hours moving rotifers. I'm not going to be harassing them about keeping the lab organized and the rotifers' containers clean. I'm not going to be on campus six or seven days a week. I'm going to be at home, writing a thesis, and will come to campus on Wednesdays and Thursdays. And I'm taking my desktop (the lab's erstwhile main computer) home.
I like my students, and the rotifers are fascinating, and microscopes are fun. But I really like the idea of not needing to be in the lab every morning at 8. And the prospect of being able to have whole days to work on writing my thesis is positively thrilling.