I’m nearing the end of the internship now, as most of the research work has been completed. From my perspective, over the past few weeks especially, I have made good progress, over the past two weeks especially, towards the goals I had set near the beginning of this experience. When I return to my work in the fall, I will have much better understanding of the project itself and have further developed my skills in order to solve future problems in the project in the future. I’m really happy that I decided to spend the summer working on this project, as it has been an extremely enjoyable experience that I am sure will prove valuable in the future.
I think one of the best things about this internship was that it was a standard forty hour per week job. This was my first position of that type (full time rather than part time), and before this I never really understood what it was like to spend forty hours a week working. This is a really good experience for someone who is early in their career to have since it shows potential employers that you understand the commitment of a full-time position and that you are able to meet that commitment consistently. This specific experience is especially valuable to me not only because it was full time, but because it was a full-time research position. I got to see what someone who does research for a living may be expected to do in their line of work. After this internship, I do know that I would not like to be a researcher as a career. I enjoy the process, but overall there is too much inefficiency and unpredictability in research, and especially in academic research. Sometimes, it felt that a week or two would pass by and I would still be stuck on the same issue. At other times, the plan of action that I had developed would have to be quickly changed in order to accommodate new findings or new ideas from my PI, which made it difficult to know what to expect. On the other hand, I spent a good deal of my time reading scientific literature, troubleshooting broken equipment, and brainstorming ideas for how to overcome problems I was experiencing in my project. I got to determine the most effective use of my time most days, which, while at times was extremely beneficial, was typically a bit difficult.