Learning Through Observation #2

During my first few weeks working in the lab, I primarily observed the tasks my mentor, Dylan, completed while taking notes on the various techniques. Since I had no previous experience with any of the techniques, this was a nice way of easing me in and getting me acquainted with how to properly accomplish things. By observing Dylan, I was able to gain a better idea of the methods used in the lab so that when it came time for me to try the techniques for myself, I was better prepared and more likely to be successful. In those first few weeks, I started helping out with basic lab duties such as refilling pipette tip boxes, autoclaving, and washing dishes. My first hands-on attempt at a more specialized lab procedure was conducting a miniprep of plasmid DNA and performing a restriction digestion afterward. This was a fun task for me because I felt like I was really starting to be involved in the research part of the lab. Autoclaving and dishwashing are certainly necessary duties in any lab setting, however what’s really exciting is working with the biological components. Looking back at my initial weeks at the lab, I recall being more unsure of myself compared to the final weeks of my internship. Since I was unfamiliar with the lab and everything that went on there, it took me some time to become comfortable in the environment. Slowly but surely though, I learned where everything was kept, what devices were used for which procedures, and how to be self-reliant while completing whichever tasks I was given.

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