The internship is what you make of it. You can work just the minimum hours and do a normal amount of work and whatever the outcome is, you take it – or, you can come in early, stay late, work weekends, take on those extra tasks and projects, do some of your own research and brainstorming, and help others. What you put into it is what you get out of it. 10-12 weeks for laboratory research is not a lot of time to get work done, and you are given the opportunity to create new knowledge with all of the resources given to you, so it is so so so important to maximize your time while you are there. It’s better to look back at your experience and say “wow I can’t believe I did that” compared to “I wish I would’ve been able to do that.”
Make those connections, meet those people, help your peers, enjoy your time with them while being able to do great work, and you will walk away from all of it with so much satisfaction. With all of your hard work, you also need time to have fun outside of the job. I’ve spent a lot of time with my fellow lab members towards the end of the internship after work and I wish I would’ve made those connections in the beginning. The summer flies by and sooner than you realize you’ll be saying “wow I only have a week left?” Take advantage of every opportunity and shine.
Question what you do. Why are you doing this? What’s the rationale? What can you do better? How can you make it better? How can you the best at what you do and the most contibutional as possible? I invest myself in my work very deeply and passionately, and while it is very important to listen to what you are told, go into it with an open and curious mind. You can blindly follow orders, or you can become a big part of the tasks you are given. Everyone brings a fresh perspective to the table, regardless of your level. Be somebody memorable and you will get the most out of your internship.