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Ask Others: “What Is Your Research About?”

Ask Others: “What Is Your Research About?”

Your lab is a bubble. You work with a team of people with supporting, overlapping, or related projects. You might use different techniques, methods, or approaches than your labmates, but overall you’re all working towards common objectives, and trying to solve a few big questions with the science. It’s good to be in that bubble.

It’s also good to get out of the bubble on occasion. Although there are several ways to do this, one the easiest is to talk to those outside of your lab about their research projects and objectives. Whether you speak with a research scientist or grad student from the lab next door or your classmate from the lab across campus, ask others about what they research and why they do it. You’ll gain insight and a broader world-view.

For example, much of research is cross-disciplinary. You might not think that working on a bioinformatics project would give you anything in common with a researcher who handles DNA, but many labs incorporate wet and dry benchwork to accomplish research objectives. What’s most important is to start the conversations and see where it goes.

As a bonus, speaking with others about their research experiences might help you understand your work better, or help you realize how incredibly lucky (or unlucky) you are to have the project, lab, or research mentor that you do.