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Becoming a researcher

Sharing experiences

Published onDec 10, 2023
Becoming a researcher

My experience as a student researcher has been a roller coaster ride with all its thrills and fears. Starting in a new field with novel techniques is a challenge. In my case, I was in a new country with a new education system. The learning curve for me, like a good roller coaster, was very steep. The most difficult part for me, was finding a balance between being independent and confirming that I was doing tasks correctly. Asking questions is necessary, but too many questions can be disruptive. In a new field, there is a wealth of information to assimilate. After an adjustment period, the lab becomes less stressful and more exciting. As comfort with lab procedures grows, it is easier to focus on the finer considerations of experiments and results. But how can you progress from being timid to enjoying the ride? There is more to it than the theory you memorize, or the practice running experiments. It is the helpfulness and kindness of everyone in the lab. Research is a community of experienced, ingenious, individuals who can guide you along the way. It makes all the difference in your experience as a student researcher when your lab welcomes you into the group and you start to fit in as one of them. I was fortunate to find groups with working environments where I feel comfortable asking questions and I am supported along this daily adventure.

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