Editor's Note: These five tips will ensure any Scientista lab success. Read on!
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Asking questions shows that you’re curious and willing to learn more. You want to get the most out of your experience at the lab. After all, that’s why you’re there: to absorb as much information as you can. As Bill Nye once said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't.” You can learn a lot from your mentor, a professional in your field of research, just by simply asking questions.
2. Always say “yes.”
Let’s say your advisor wants you to read several journal articles that will help you in understanding the research that you’ll be conducting. Of course, you should say “yes.” Never say that you don’t have time to do something. Say “yes” because that shows eagerness. You were selected amongst a competitive pool of applicants for a reason. Show your advisor that he/she made the right decision in choosing you.
3. Do your readings
If your advisor provides you with background literature, don’t just stop there — go the extra mile and research additional articles that are relevant to the work you’ll be doing. Once you find articles that interest you, discuss them with your advisor. It’ll show that you’re enthusiastic about the research, and you’ll learn a vast amount of essential information. Who knows, maybe the articles will inspire you to take a unique approach to your project, leading to greater scientific advances.
4. Keep a daily lab log
It is crucial to have a lab log when conducting research. Keeping a lab log is important not just for keeping a thorough report of your research methodology; it can also be an important resource for you later. Two years ago, when I was part of my high school’s science research program, I recorded everything that I did and learned in the lab, including the material that was covered during weekly meetings, in a notebook. This proved to be an especially helpful technique that came in handy when completing research assignments, applying for science fairs, and preparing for presentations. Plus, in the end, I got to see how my project progressed by reading the lab logs. It was a rewarding experience.
5. Be persistent and determined
Let’s say that you run an experiment and something (inevitably) goes wrong, leading to inaccurate results. As a scientist(a), it is important that you don’t give up and that you keep moving forward. Error and failure are a natural part of the scientific process, and even the best researchers make mistakes and get negative results. Don’t be discouraged by failure; mistakes are not uncommon and may sometimes lead to wondrous discoveries. Stay positive and have confidence in your project. You should then run a new experiment and hope everything goes as planned.
What tips do you have for succeeding in a lab internship? Leave a comment!
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