new to lab

26
Oct

10 Things to Expect Your First Semester of Research

—from the Researcher's bench

Even if you have previous lab experience from a high school or college lab class, the first few weeks of a new research experience in a professional research lab will have its challenges, surprises, and likely be quite different from what you're expecting.

When possible, Set Target Dates Instead of Deadlines for Research Goals

Sometimes researchers, particularly those who are new in a lab, try to set deadlines for all research goals. Although progress is important, and so is setting goals each semester, not every goal needs a deadline.

And So It Begins

Whether this is your first semester on campus or your first semester in a new lab some awkward nervousness is to be expected. If you find yourself a little overwhelmed remember that almost everyone new is going through the same thing. Not sure that's true? Look to the PEEPS for a little bit of wisdom.

Those marshmallow bunnies have it all figured out.

11
Jul

Hey, Who Moved My Stuff?

— from the Researcher's bench

Recently, we received a request for help (edited here for brevity):

Thanks for all your great posts. As an undergrad in the lab, I'd like to know what your advice would be if your materials go missing. No one else in my lab uses it, and I have never used it myself. I have spoken to my coworkers to ask if they know anything about it, but no one has responded. I was just wondering if you had any tips regarding safeguarding one's materials in a lab? I feel surprised and a bit angry that somebody would move something not belonging to them in a lab.

Navigating the Observe to Learn Position

If you're offered the opportunity join a lab as an observer, know that it's important to be genuinely enthusiastic and work hard starting on the first day.

Many labs offer an observe to learn position instead of putting undergrads on research projects right away. Although officially it's done to let the student determine if they would be happy in the lab, at the same time the other lab members are deciding if the student seems like a good fit.

Why Choose Research?

Undergrad research is more than benchwork or fieldwork. The skills you learn will help prepare you for any career path because an in-depth research experience will present numerous opportunities to develop personally, professionally, and academically.

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