It was with a sense of shock that, earlier this semester, the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology cohort discovered that our department hosts an annual dinner. What surprised me the most, however, was this is a common thing, with a number of faculties hosting similar events. The good investigative journalist I am, I went to the 25th Annual Biochemistry Student Staff dinner last week and report back with five observations:
1. Faculty dinners are a thing
Until this semester, I had no idea that faculty dinners even took place. A very scientific poll of my friends revealed that they didn’t either. Further research revealed that Biochemistry is not the only faculty to host a dinner, with Pharmacology pumping out invites to theirs earlier this semester too.
Ostensibly, the purpose of such an event is to give the students an opportunity to meet the academics working in their department and vice versa. However, added to this is the opportunity to have a nice meal, a few beverages and plenty of laughs.
2. The food was AMAZING
For just 30 smackaroos, we were treated to a three course dinner and drinks at University House. After five hours in the lab, my table was just about drooling when the entrée came out: gnocchi or beef cassoulet. Soon after, once the academics had swapped tables, mains came flying out of the kitchen: honey soy chicken or angus beef steak. With the mains done-and-dusted and belts starting to strain, we all found the room to devour a pear tart or a sticky date pudding whilst we listened to the after-dinner talk.
Folks, I had found heaven. There have been few times in my life that I’ve seen better things on a plate, so a collective round of applause for the staff at University House *big thumbs up*
3. We had fun
Because we have five hour pracs together each week, the Biochem crew is pretty tight-knit. Most people were seated with a group of friends, or at the very least with a group of friendly faces there to meet new people. This made for a really great night, as we all got a chance to let our hair down and get to know each other better outside of the stressful life of proteins & pracs (which is biochem in a nutshell!).
4. Biochemists and molecular biologists are hilarious after a few drinks
After stuffing ourselves full, we were given two after-dinner speeches. The first of the speeches was delivered by PhD student Wei Hong Toh, who took us through three years of late nights, free food and conferences. His speech was good fun and left many of us wanting to do a PhD. Frankly, he had me at free food!
Following Wei Hong was Justine Mintern, who’s a lab head at Bio21. Her speech was an absolute crack-up, taking the form of a number of life lessons, which included: “if you don’t want your hand in a cow, don’t be a vet” and “working for someone who has won a Nobel prize and winning a Nobel prize are two different things”. Justine also left us with some practical advice, sharing with us a paper that demonstrated the efficacy of sticking pork up your nose as a way to stop nose bleed. Sufferers of nose bleeds can find the paper here (I shit you not).
5. You should go to yours!
If you are so lucky to be in a faculty that does host a faculty dinner, go to it! I must confess I was somewhat skeptical at the start about ours, but thanks to the persistence of our practical co-ordinator and the other members of my prac group, I made the decision to attend what was ultimately a really great night.
Uni can be extremely stressful—something we know very well right now in week 7—so having a night to let your hair down with people who are likely to share your interests, and with some who may even get your quirky sense of humour, is guaranteed to be great!
Thanks to Amber, Izzy and Leon for letting me pinch their photos for this post!