Heading to a Research Interview?

As tempting as can be to end your search and accept the first research position you're offered, only do so if you are genuinely interested in the project, topic, or techniques. Equally important is only accepting the position if you can uphold the required time commitment without compromising you academics (and that you WANT to).

Both your happiness and success in the lab are tied to a genuine interest in the work, and having enough time to devote to the project.

Career Path Honesty

When you apply to an undergrad research position, be honest about your career path. For most lab positions, it won't matter if you are premed, pregrad, or headed for the job market after graduation, or undecided.

If your career path matters to the lab, and you aren't on the "preferred" track for a position, then you won't want to join the lab anyway. You want to join a lab that will help you meet your personal and professional goals.

Handling the F-word (Failure)

When you start a project in a research lab you’re bound to have a few hiccups at the research bench. Mistakes are an unavoidable part of learning something new or acquiring new skills. However, also keep in mind that how you react to failure will tell your labmates how easy you'll be to work with in the long run.

Your labmates will be much more willing to help you fix a problem or prevent one in the future if you stay positive. It's okay to be disappointed when something goes wrong --just develop a strategy to stay positive and be resilient.