PhdLife

12
Sep

Notebook Keeping: Quick Tips to Get Started

—from the Researcher's bench

Ideally, on your first day as an undergrad in the lab, your mentor will give a thorough tutorial on proper notebook keeping.

Unfortunately, from the inquires I regularly receive from undergrads, (and grad students and postdocs who mentor undergrads), notebook keeping is often an afterthought until a few weeks have passed.

Tip #10 for Full-Time Summer Researchers: Expect to Resent the Return of the Fall Term

Wrapping up a full-time summer research experience is exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. But sometime during the first few weeks of the fall semester, a harsh reality will become evident: You don’t have as much time for research. Not near enough time. What would have taken you part of a morning to do in the summer, will now take a week or more to complete. Those long blocks of summer research time will have evaporated along with your increased productivity.

Tip #9 for Full-Time Summer Researchers: Expect to Feel Like a Scientist

Arguably, this is the best part of an epic summer research experience.

After a summer of long hours dedicated to making a contribution to science and overcoming challenges in the lab, you’ll finally feel like a real scientist.

Tip #8 for Full-Time Summer Researchers: Expect Personal Growth

When you spend the better part of a summer engaged in full-time research you’re bound to experience substantial personal growth. Perhaps you’ll refine your critical thinking or organizational skills. Maybe you’ll develop a sense of self-reliance or self-discipline that you didn’t know was missing.

Tip #7 for Full-Time Summer Researchers: Expect Unsupportive Friends

One of the amazing things about participating in research full-time is the in-depth, experiential learning and focus you’ll enjoy in the lab. You’ll loose track of time, the day of the week, and occasionally even the month.

If your friends are spending the summer working through a Netflix bucket list, they won’t understand your commitment to the lab, your research project, and your future. Some might continually remind you about their relaxing summer, and compare it to the work-intensive one you’re experiencing. Stay the course.

Tip #6 for Full-Time Summer Researchers: Expect Stronger Connections with Labmates

Spending more time in the lab during a summer experience brings opportunities to do more than move a project ahead faster or learn techniques too complicated for the regular term. More hours in the lab also means more in-depth conversations that go beyond the topics typically discussed with labmates and mentors during the semester.

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