Thursday, March 13, 2008

Making grad students happy

OK, so I can't necessarily speak for making all grad students happy (except free food, funding, sleep), but over the course of the past 2 weeks I have acquired 2 things that have made my grad life much better!

First off is a lamp that mimics sunlight by using the entire spectrum of light! It also has 3 joints that swivel in different directions to help with positioning. My desk is in what I lovingly call a dungeon in that it is in the middle of the building and thus gets absolutely no sunlight whatsoever, has horrible fluorescent lights (that used to turn off on me when I was in the room by myself), and gray desks/cubicles. Ever since I started grad school I've gotten headaches most days of the week from sitting at my desk, partially from the lack of good light. However, now I have a light that makes everything white and bright instead of yellow and dim! I'm actually staying at school later into the evening to do work instead of leaving in the late afternoon, because I am happy to be sitting here! Granted I still don't have a window to look out of like I did this summer, but this light is still absolutely fabulous and is changing my life! And my adviser even paid for it. Since it brightened my cube so much, all 6 desks in the room now have one.

Second is a new flat panel widescreen 19" monitor! I've had an old CRT on my desk since my first year, and not only does it take up a massive amount of space, it also was not very bright or clear so it added to the headache problem. I've barely used it for the last year. Now I have a monitor that is crisp and clear, which makes it an actual pleasure to work on! This addition to my desk solves multiple problems, as I have a laptop that must be plugged in to an external monitor to work, I have an ergonomic keyboard that is less useful when I don't also have a monitor to use, and I have to be careful about eye strain. My adviser also bought this monitor, as well as another one for another desk in the lab! Although my monitor at home is actually bigger...

It's amazing how these 2 small changes suddenly make working at school so much better. I've often preferred to work at home, which sometimes is more productive and other times is not, but now I am actually happy to be here (yes, I'm blogging from my lab desk). These are changes we've talked about for at least a year, so it's great to finally have them happen!

Affordable technology makes life so much better, and grad students so much happier!

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