Some of the best lessons seem to coincide with the most memorable screw-ups. Here’s some lessons I’m relieved to have behind me (and a few I am VERY glad to have learned second-hand!):
1) If you ever superglue a part in place…you’ll find out you need to adjust that part’s position about 5 minutes after the glue cures.
2) Don’t let anyone complement you about how careful you’re being with a sample/piece of equipment, etc. Because once they do, you’ll drop whatever you’re holding and it will shatter into a thousand, very-expensive pieces.
3) Don’t wear synthetic shirts while using a grinding wheel, or other fun toys that are going to shoot hundreds of little sparks and bits of hot metal onto your chest. This tends to produce hundreds of little melted shirt-holes. Always good for a “I’m so hot that I’m just melting out of my clothes” joke, but rather painful.
4) Setting the open knife down for a second while you hammer that press-fit part in with the palm of your hand is a lot less inconvenient than dealing with the gaping wound that you’ll get when you accidentally impale your hand on the blade.
Similarly, try not to pull jammed parts apart by yanking them towards your face. Broken noses are so not in.
5) Don’t try to drink gatorade out of a bottle while simultaneously using a bottle of rubbing alcohol to prep a volunteer for EMG electrode attachment. Accidentally scrubbing your test volunteer with gatorade is the better of the possible outcomes.