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Practical labs 06

The four walls of the dark classroom, the same old rickety benches, theory examinations, thick books (err… guides and ‘all in ones’ to be specific), the incessant yawns, the monotonous lectures, the heart pumping Question – Answer sessions, the dreaded surprise tests and assignments – can’t a student’s life be any better!? Well, then one is definitely mistaken to think so! Fortunately, the Indian education system still continues to give it’s due respect to Practical Laboratories and Practical Examinations! (Picture: Some risky experiments! Credits: Candy Floss)

Lab reports, experiments, observations, results, lab equipment, apparatus and breakage rules still have a key role to play in the stressful academic schedules of students. “Bookish knowledge is not the end of the world. Practical knowledge, which enhances your skill, understanding and conceptualization is the order of the day. So this practice will benefit students in the long run”, urges Mrs. Usha, the Head of the Department of Botany at St. Ann’s College. “Practical classes are a breath of fresh air. They completely relax us and they are so much fun. The Anatomy practicals do not contribute to the fun element in any way, though! But to top them all, I love writing records slowly and neatly, while watching my favorite movie or with the headphones on, and spending all my study hours only writing them!” chuckles an excited Sirisha, a third year medical student from Osmania Medical College.

Quadrant streak plating of bacterial colonies! Credits: Candy Floss

Quadrant streak plating of bacterial colonies! Credits: Candy Floss

One may dwell on the impression that the Science and Engineering students are the burdened lot with continuous practical sessions and nerve racking viva questions, but the Commerce students too have a sad story to share. “We are given lengthy C and C++ programs to solve during the computer lab sessions and the Taxation and Accounting problems take up a great deal of our time!”, complains Bhargavi, a B.Com Vocational second year student from Aurora College. While some youngsters complain about practical classes as an extra burden over their shoulders, a majority of them are glad that at least a part of their syllabus is ‘lite’ and the marks can be easily taken care of!

The Engineering students have their own share of practical sessions to deal with – especially those pursuing a degree in the core branches like Mechanical, Electrical and Electronics, Computer Science, Electronics and Communications and Chemical. The aspiring Mechanical engineers have to sit through the Machine drawing, Hydraulic Machines Systems, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) classes. The Electrical and Electronic Engineers have to rough it out in their respective workshops – be it the Electronic Devices and Circuits lab or the Physics lab. The budding Computer Science Engineers have C, C++ and Java in their syllabi.  On the other hand, the Civil Engineers have Auto Computer Aided Design workshops.

Sabouraud's Agar for the culturing and preservation of fungi! Credits: Candy Floss

Sabouraud's Agar for the culturing and preservation of fungi! Credits: Candy Floss

The Life Sciences’ students too have their own share of fun. The experiments in the Chemistry Lab yield colorful and ‘sparkling’ results while those of the Genetics Lab have students estimating their own Hemoglobin count and Blood groups! “I was initially very worried about taking up subjects like Microbiology and Biotechnology, since I dreaded their practical labs but since they are selling like hot cakes abroad, I took them up. But now, I have realized these labs are so exciting and lively, especially the Leucocytes count and the streaking of bacterial colonies on the variousforms of agar like Nutrient Agar, Blood Agar etc., that I have made up my mind to pursue these subjects even in my post graduation! Thanks to these helpful lab technicians, we can sail through our practical examinations without a second thought!”, gushes Vani, a final year Microbiology student from Bhavan’s College. The Nutrition and Hotel Management students get to make mouth watering delicacies and the Botany students have as interesting an experiment as Bonsai Techniques! The Arts and the Journalism students are not left far behind. In fact, their syllabi include Theatre, Documentary Film Making and Photography workshops, which are a rage among today’s youth.

“The various precautions we take in the laboratory like wearing masks, gloves, aprons, boots and helmets, if necessary and the instructions and guidelines given by our lecturers help us understand the subject in depth and as a result, we can score well in our theory papers as well! The icing on the cake is that these experiments trigger our grey cells to think innovation and this is the reason we do really well during our technical fests”, opines Sumegha, a Chemical Engineering student from IIT Madras.

Considering today’s corporate world, lecturers and students realize the importance of ‘thinking out of the box’ and not just remain mere book worms. Contrary to all this, every batch still takes in many students, who fear dissecting that wretched frog or that disgusting lizard at the end of the year! Well, who wouldn’t want to take up subjects having practicals when they get to wear a doctor’s apron? ;-)

'Eye'ing the lens - Microbiology Laboratory! Credits: Candy Floss

'Eye'ing the lens - Microbiology Laboratory! Credits: Candy Floss

Safety precautions to be followed are a prerequisite! Credits: Candy Floss

Safety precautions to be followed are a prerequisite! Credits: Candy Floss

Pipetting out Bromine - not a child's play at all! Credits: Candy Floss

Pipetting out Bromine - not a child's play at all! Credits: Candy Floss

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4 Responses to “Practical Labs – A sigh of relief!”

  1. srikyreddy says:

    cool….this info shows how much knowledge and fun science & engg students gain at practical labs…
    great job by candy floss..

  2. Satish Mantha says:

    Sure. I loooooooooved practicals too. Experiments, of course, are enjoyable, but they also used to be interaction-sessions between classmates. Note that many experiments in my field — Civil Engg. — take a long time to finish and they used to be outside the department, sometimes outside the campus! So a company or two is great.

    Nice reminiscences, thanks to you! :-)

  3. pa1e says:

    candyfloss , u collected a gud info.ur presentation style is really very gud

  4. Meghali Ghosh says:

    hey..sorry for the late comment…bt great way of presenting that lab sessions we have in college…n who can forget the breakage thing…u know it better i guess candy floss??????

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