A Laboratory is supposed to be that booring place where you have to spend 3 hours a week doing nothing while pretending to be interested,and finally writing a hell of an exam to get another course added to your CV,isnt it? Well, not any more..
"A Lab should be like your home.. where you can come ,go and work anytime you want..where you can try out then and there if you have an idea or a brainstorm..a place to do things" .. said Mr.Sachitanand Malewar,Director of NEX Robotics to us,when he came to our institute recently for a workshop.
So this day we got together at 5:30 pm in this Electronics lab,cos we had a deadline for the 5th April,which means we would be dead in 3 days.A complete nightout was in order.6-8 of us poor hopeless lost guys from S6-Electricals who were beginning to feel the whooshing sound of the mini-project deadline approaching fast got together..and we saw that a lab can actually be a really fun place to learn things!!
Soon it became apparent that mini-project was not the only thing on our minds.Some of us soon launched ourselves into a Computer Tennis tournament(the 3 guys you see there),while some of the others who were not in favour of wasting away our time playing games,decided to do so by seeing movies (thats me there, on the right).I finished 'Eragon' right there in the lab.Once in a while,one of us would suggest that we were not concentrating on our work,and we would go back seriously to our task at hand our miniproject.My own miniproject,which was a sun-tracker,made great progress that day.Ya right..
When dinner time approached,restlessness began to show on everyone again..me and Josef went out and had our dinner,while some of us(Naren and Laxmi on the left) decided to have dinner in their very own lab..now THATS calling Lab a Home!! There were other time passers too.. Manu would sleep off on the teachers desk every 20 minutes,wake up to find everyone either playing or sleeping,and go back to sleep again..Bijoy decided to go around doing a bit of photography.And Josef would go off on the phone every now and then..
But to be frank,it was a day of fun and learning..i learnt quite a bit about laboratory culture and circuit handling like I'd never before done in lab classes that day..all of us learnt a lot of new things that day just trying out again and again at new ideas we could never before unleash on our lab..and also grew to appreciate the power of a lab that only months ago we were cursing to the death..we went a full 12 hours in that lab, till 5:30 am the next day morning..practically having lived in the lab for a day..
A Lab is a place to learn stuff,not to be bored to death..Minimum freedom and open resources can ensure that a student can enjoy the potential of his lab to the maximum while still enjoying learning..otherwise practical lab sessions and experiments in our colleges will remain as boring as normal boring classes,and scare away any decent guy who plans to actually learn things the hands-on way.. like our Electronics lab,where 71 of us Electrical guys spent a whole year without knowing what it was actually made of..