What do you do outside Lab?
That’s the most frequent question I got whenever I met new person once standard questions like name (Irma), occupation (Grad student), major (Food Science) answered. I think it’s a fair question since the stereotype of scientist promoted by the oh-so-famous-with-never-ending-season TV show is working in a Lab (which I do).
To answer that, let’s do some background first. I am a big Opera/Symphony fan that used to be a racer (this is a story for another day), so, I tried to find things to do in West Lafayette-Lafayette area related to my passions. Luckily, there is Purdue Convocations that sometimes host classical music and musicals. However, the tickets price for those shows are a little bit much when tallied, with student budget, I have to be creative.
Lo and behold, I found CVN, a student organization of volunteer usher for Purdue Convocations show. I registered and started signing up for shows. There is point system, so the more frequent you signed up, the more chance you got selected for ushering. Perks of this student organization is seeing shows for free after ushering duty is done. That, plus free food (Pizza or Donuts) and coffee (or no coffee if the food is Pizza). Also, Volunteer can sign up for pre-show, usually consist of talks (sometimes recorded for WBAA radio) and Intermission Club. Intermission club is for honoring donor patrons of Purdue Convocations, light refreshments like non alcoholic beverages (for alcoholic beverages donor patrons have to pay)and finger foods (cheese cubes, vegetable dips) are provided. Volunteer usher can also have some of those afterwards.
I remember my first show, it’s Calmus Ensemble. The ECHO-Klassik award winning group of They were singing Shakespeare inspired a capella. Needless to point out they are the best first experience for me. One Soprano, Two Tenors, Two Baritones. I am in heaven.
However, free show is not the best experience I gained from CVN. It’s meeting people with similar music taste and more. I met my tribe, people I can rely on for fun (Hey, let’s go to Chicago for Chicago Symphonic Orchestra College Night) and be there for me when I’m stressed out by academic burdens (the Lab, don’t forget the Lab).
This semester is special for me. I won the raffle for Chamber Tickets from Purdue Convocations, yes, all six shows on Classical music. It means I (plus one) get to go to those shows for free, no need to work for it. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic. When CVN other volunteer (a.k.a semiofficial photographer) asked me whether I will still be volunteering or not since I now get free tickets I said yes, for the shows I don’t have tickets for but mostly for fun and the people. Since that is one of the thing I do outside my Lab.