On the first day of my internship my partner and I were asked to create a document of what was expected of us. This Google Doc was way too long and I expected to be ran dry by the end of the summer. Each expectation seemed like an add-on to the list of steps to do in a certain order, that I would obviously mess up. But over the past few weeks, it has become less about following that document and more about practicing the skills I need for this job and being able to do so independently.
At first, I anticipated that everything I did would be tracked and I didn’t want to appear lazy so I worked extremely hard. But through this month I have realized that it’s my quality of work, not the quantity that my mentor wants. It is completely okay if I don’t complete that day’s T0-Do list and have to pick it up tomorrow. Since I’m much more comfortable with my job and the skills to do it well, it seems less forced and intimidating then the first few weeks.
Besides the full time in the lab, my program has done an amazing job making sure the interns as a whole are friendly. We have interns from all over the world and through my lab, I have a friendly environment to learn about their lives and their interests while also developing more research skills. Each week, we all have meetings together and although they can be dry with review, it gives us the opportunity to sit and talk to one another. I am also fortunate because out of the three labs in my program, the girls in mine are all very close. We have social events every other week, plus random nights where girls will go out for tacos or to trivia. This isn’t the type of environment I imagined a research lab being like.
We may be stuck in a basement with the most artificial, headache-inducing lighting in the world, but the people and the kids really make it worthwhile. After leaving my summer day camp job to pursue this research one, I was bummed and homesick from the kids I loved and the my coworkers who were all so close. It took about a month but I have realized that I needed to push myself out of the comfort zone of my hometown and starting this internship allowed me to explore and understand that.