Part of working in a research laboratory is mentoring other students in techniques that you are keen on. It’s one thing to tell somebody how to do something or to tell them that a certain way is better, but it doesn’t help them as a scientist if they do not understand why this way is better, why the other way is not as good, and how you made that conclusion or discovery in the first place.
Research labs are the place for learning from your mistakes. In my opinion, that is the best way to learn. I always tell myself and others to question everything you are doing and ask questions about how the technique works, why it is in a certain order, why is it done in that timing, why those concentrations are used, and what is happening at the molecular and chemical level. Sure, we can’t know EVERYTHING about what we are doing, but the more you know about them, the more you can look at a failed experiment and know exactly where to start adjusting – rather than just trying random things to make it work. I lead people to develop the skills to approach a problem and to discover a possible solution with strong rationale. If I did not have that skill set in the lab, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I would not have had the same motivation as I currently do. Failures can easily discourage the novice scientist, but being able to approach these failures scientifically, you have a much higher chance of solving the problem. And when you do solve that problem, it feels good knowing that it is because you used scientific reasoning and thought about the interactions of what you are working with, rather than something working by chance.