August 5, 2017
Looking back at the beginning of my internship and where I am now, there are many things I wish I could tell myself. One of them would be to not be so nervous. At the beginning of my internship, I was always very nervous. Whenever my mentor asked me a question, I was nervous and afraid I would get the answer wrong. In fact, many times I was wrong. However, it is okay to be wrong in research. Research is about learning from your mistakes and improving.
Another mistake I made during the beginning of my internship is I did not read enough research articles. I jumped into experiments too quick. If I was a little more patient at the beginning of my internship, read more articles, and did more planning, I would have likely accomplished much more. This is especially true with one of my experiments. One of my experiments included checking to see if stimulation of one Toll Like Receptor (TLR) lead to upregulation of another Toll Like Receptor, specifically if stimulation of TLR7 leads to an upregulation of TLR9. I only spent about two hours planning this experiment, and when I ran the experiment I had many problems. The experiment did not work at all, even after two attempts. These two attempts took me about five days.
However, when I went back to the drawing board, and planned this experiment more carefully by reading research articles. I found that many of the mistakes I made in my previous two attempts could have been easily avoided if I read those papers earlier. When I redid the experiment, after the extensive planning period, it was a success. From now on, whenever I plan experiments, I am going to spend more time reading research articles before I actually do the experiment. However, this lesson does not just apply to my future endeavors with research but life in general. In life, whenever you are doing something that is very important, it is critical to plan ahead and plan carefully, even if it means being a little late.