So I had a great summer, working at the lab. The main question now is what I will do next summer and whether I will be coming back.
I got this internship because I am a physics major and I wanted to see what it was like to do physics research. The problem is that I didn’t really do physics research, I did more administrative things than actual physics. That was, of course, disappointing, but I do believe that it was helpful for me to see what goes on behind research and also helpful for me to know that that is not what I would want to be doing. Three months was alright, but I can’t imagine being there for nine years like one of my co-workers has been.
In addition, even though I didn’t work on a research project, I still got to experience the atmosphere at a national laboratory and got to see all of the things that are always going on there, from projects to workout classes to presentations to talks to picnics. And I got to meet the type of people that work at a national lab. And though they ranged in personality from the stereotypical socially awkward scientist to much more gregarious, I largely enjoyed the company of all of them. So, though I had never seen myself doing something like that before, after this summer, I seriously think that I could work at a national laboratory in the future sometime.
As for next summer, the lab has put me on indeterminate leave, meaning that I can come back without re-applying, and I’m on the short list to get a project in the High Energy Density Physics program for next year. So while I can’t say for sure that I will be going back, I would say that there’s a pretty good chance of it.