For years I envisioned myself sitting at a bench, working towards unearthing new discoveries that’ll change humanity’s understanding of the natural world. With BSURF, I now have the chance to know what the reality of working in a research lab is like. In the upcoming weeks I look forward to learning what research entails: from spending a day in the lab preparing samples to reading literature related to your research to finding out that your results may not end up like you hoped. In the past week, I already learned that a research scientist (who’s dedicated to their work) is subject to their research and would work late hours just to ensure that they completed all tasks needed to be done for the day (along with any prep work for the next one).
I also hope to develop relationships with my mentor, other members in the Alberts Lab, faculty at Duke, and my peers that are a part of BSURF and other research programs. My mentor, Dr. Laurence Gesquiere, welcomed me into the lab this past week and taught me the procedures I’ll be doing for the upcoming weeks for my project. (I’ll explain more about my project in the next blog!) Dr. Susan Alberts (my PI) has been absent this past week, but I look forward to talking with her again about her career and interests. Although the other members of the lab and a few other undergraduates are focusing on their own projects, there are opportunities to talk and interact with them in the lab. Similarly, engaging with Duke faculty and other students here over the summer could enhance my experience here at Duke this summer.
My ultimate expectation (at least for right now) is to figure out if I foresee research in my future. I’ve idealized the idea, but having the first-hand experience working in a lab will help me determine if I would want it to be my future career. While my interests and plans can change throughout the upcoming years (and the rest of my life), BSURF is an opportunity that will help shape the rest of my time here at Duke and beyond.
If anything, I expect the next seven weeks to be fun, hard-working, and enlightening. And if the past week gives any indication of the rest of my time here, then I think my expectations aren’t too far off from reality!
(I also forgot to take pictures in lab, but next week I’ll be sure to include some!)