I guess today marks the last day in my lab.
My experiments are over. The analysis has been done. My presentation is submitted for our program’s symposium tomorrow, and has been practiced twice with feedback from lab members.
Going from working full-time to having weeks off is always bizarre for me. The same feeling occurs over winter break, when students go from working hard day and night on finals to suddenly having nothing to do for two weeks. It’s strange to know that things have been winding down and that I won’t be waking up early again to start my morning as one of the first ones in the lab. Next week I will have some downtime and will be finishing secondary applications to medical schools before heading out west for the last week of summer to visit friends. When I come back, I’ll have some new roommates living in my house, a new schedule to adjust to, and some textbooks to buy before my final year. As excited as I am for my new courses, particularly one in neuropsychology, I’m also very sad to not be spending all day in the lab.
I’ve learned a lot this summer. I didn’t do some things I thought I would. I didn’t really make friends in my program apart from the ones who subleased from my housemates; we didn’t really hang out, especially because I truly had no time to myself these past months. In that way, it was a bit lonely. All my best friends were gone, I didn’t have time to visit the few friends I have still in Ann Arbor, and I rarely saw family. But I also did some things I wouldn’t have expected I’d get to do. I got to use awesome microscopy techniques, apply biochemistry concepts, present in multiple lab meetings, make new friends, and improve my scientific thinking. That is what this summer was mainly about: becoming a better scientist and building a love for the field. I definitely succeeded in those areas.
I have one more blog post in store tomorrow after my final presentation, with some notes about what I’ve learned about being a professional and having my first “big” presentation. I won’t just be presenting to classmates and one teacher, but to other labs, other fellows, and even people unaffiliated with the program who thought it would be interesting to just stop by. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!