What to expect?

My journey into research has been one of immense serendipity.

(The whole first paragraph is a bit off topic, but I think it gives a lot of context into how my expectations are shaped.)

I came into Duke with tunnel vision- I was going into the medical field and that was it. I didn’t know labs existed on campus or that people conducted research as a profession. Honestly, I didn’t even know scientific articles existed until almost a year ago, much less ever read one. After a couple of happy accidents, however, I found myself in biology classes that required me to read scientific papers. In the beginning, I sucked. I would go to the basement of Lily and sit in a cubicle for hours, googling what seemed like every other word. (I still didn’t understand much). As the weeks progressed and more papers piled up, I don’t know why, but I slowly came to love the whole process. I started to analyze the methods a little bit more. I started to dig back into the authors past paper to try to grasp why and how the research question may have emerged. I started to think maybe I could even be a part of research. I merely mentioned this to my college advisor in passing, but I was very lucky and she offered me a place in her lab.

So began my career in research, and the rest was history. Haha just kidding.

I loved my previous lab, but because I am very new to research, I wanted to join B-SURF to discover the general topic I am the most compelled by. *Insert cliche about college being the time of your life to explore your heart out* *Insert another cliche about not being able to fully appreciate the light if you haven’t seen the dark yet* I previously worked in a fly lab, and the assays consisted of dissecting and immunostaining the larvae. Now, I work at a plant lab, and the assays consist of germinating plants and measuring plant phenotypes. Each lab is unique, so I hope that through these experiences, I can gauge what type of research I am the most enthralled by. I think finding the specific topic or question I am interested in will be a lifelong process (or at least I hope it is, because questioning is always fun), but I hope to find a topic that I will be happy to study the ins and outs of during my time at Duke.

On another note, something that really resonated with me during our group discussion on expectations was when someone said they wanted to make a positive impact on the lab. I used to be constantly worried that because I wasn’t familiar with the lab, I would be a more of a hassle than an asset. But I am slowly allowing myself to fail and lean on others in the lab in hopes that I can grow and provide assistance later on. I, of course, don’t expect to make a mind blowing contribution to the lab, but I hope that by the end of these 8 weeks, my lab mates will know that they can count on me for any task. Whether that be washing lots of pots or helping to record phenotypes

My journey into research was both surprisingly happy and happily surprising, so who knows what other revelations will unfold in the weeks to come 🙂

One of my favorite threads: https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-most-incredible-coincidence-that-ever-happened-to-you

Here’s a prime action shot of me doing a germination assay:

One response to “What to expect?

  1. Michael Williams

    Wow, we really do live in a society

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