By Eric Kang
Throughout the semester I have experienced the ups and downs of phage hunting to the greatest extent. In just the past few weeks I have been frustrated beyond compare because of endless contamination that comes out of nowhere, bad top agar, and plainly not getting the results I need. However, these negative experiences were very constructive. For the next four years I will be spending hours upon hours in the lab doing research and similarly to my experience in phage hunting, everything will not always go according to plan. Facing all the obstacles that I did throughout this semester gave me increased patience and attention to detail that will surely help me in the coming years. Also, when I am working with much more dangerous and expensive materials/equipment I will appreciate all the pain that I went through in this class with the contamination, aseptic procedure and whatnot. Although there was frustration during the course there was also great joy. For example, seeing the EM images of my phage was incredible. Not only is it mind-blowing to see such a small organism, but also this was my phage, the one I isolated all on my own. I like to compare the experience of a father seeing his unborn child’s ultrasound. However, seeing my phage was not nearly as life changing. Other joys come from succeeding after so many attempts. Being able to finally harvest an HTL after so many failed attempts and so much contamination I was jumping for joy. Lastly, being in this lab setting allowed me to collaborate and interact with my fellow classmates in a way that none of my other classes allow. Looking back the only thing I regret is not being able to get enough DNA to be in the phage Olympics, especially since I know my phage would have kicked all the other phage’s butts (tails). I look forward to another semester of phage hunting.