Hello readers! My name is Uche and I am an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. I am currently majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Gender and Health. I am going to share my internship experience with you. This summer I am a research assistant in the Wahl Lab. The focuses of this lab include the development of brain tumor treatments using radiation and metabolic information about the glial cancer cell. I have been a part of this group for about a year now. I am very excited to be sharing how lab has changed my life and understanding of science and medicine over the past year. When I joined the Wahl lab in 2017 I was at a very split point in my life. I have just completed my junior year at Michigan. It was a very difficult school year. I was committed to the biochemistry path and my classes were becoming more and more challenging. I began to feel my self-esteem depleting as I listened to my friends and classmates discuss the research they are in involved in. I felt a lot of self-doubts and began to question if I should change my goals. Joining the Wahl lab boosted my self-esteem, but unfortunately did not solve all of my problems.
I was very fortunate to be able to stay with the Wahl lab during my senior year at Michigan. I was a full-time student at 16 credits in the fall and 18 credits in the winter as I continued to research. Although many of my friends believed I was crazy for how thin I appeared to be spreading myself, my past two semesters at Michigan I was academically at my best. Being a part of the Wahl group taught me lessons about being organized, being thorough, and being efficient that I was able to apply to my day to day life. I am not enrolled in classes this summer and as a result, I am able to commit more of myself to the lab.
Now that I am a little over one year with the Wahl group I am very excited to share with you that my self-doubt in achieving my goals has decreased. When I first joined the Wahl group I was the only undergraduate student apart from the lab. I felt a lot of pressure not to fall into the negative stereotypes of undergrads as I continuously tried to prove that I am the studious, hardworking, compassionate, and focused girl that I am. I anticipated that I When we come into new spaces it is hard to remember that our problems do not suddenly go away. Some days I feel a lot of self-doubt about my capabilities of being a “good scientist”. On these days I usually try to remind myself that I am young and still learning and that I should always keep going. I am very fortunate to have amazing co-workers who have been involved in research for a very long time and frequently encourage me to keep going. Now that I am more independent in the lab I am excited, but also overwhelmed. In order to be successful in my work, I know that I will have to remain curious, ask questions, ask for help, and remain resilient through the rough days.