Professional Friendship | #3

No, I am not going to start lecturing you about how to save the environment or the amazing benefits our world provides us. Know that I very much do appreciate the world and its beauty, and that I am a very environmentally-conscious. But this, isn’t the environment I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is my work environment.

I never really understood why the start-up companies in the Silicon Valley always have these mandatory bonding events for their employees. They go on camping trips, Escape the Room (where they physically lock you into a room with your teammates for an hour), and other team-bonding activities. It all seemed fun, but it also just seemed like college orientation all over again. Forcing a group of people to socialize and like each other… Which works… sometimes?

It’s my seventh week of my summer research, and I don’t think I would have made it this far without the support and mentorship of everyone in this lab. The environment that my PI has built, by carefully selecting people to her liking to be in this lab, has made my experience not only educational, but fun. They are not only my mentors and colleagues, but also my friends. We bake treats for one another, head out to watch a movie, invite one another to dinner, it’s like a “professional friendship”.

I talked about this with one of the grad students, whose also my mentor… She mentioned to me how she, herself, is also very surprised with how things turned out. She never expected to form some friendships with a lab settings. She thought she would have “friends of convenience” in lab. But instead, she has made friends who she can hang out with daily, complete data mining together, discuss papers together, etc.


Take this image for example. It was a Wednesday. It was a long day at lab – running protocols, hitting into walls of failures / bumps, and other stressful events. But nothing too out of the ordinary. The whole lab walked out at 5pm, and went to Sava’s to grab drinks. We laughed about the day, ate good food, and messed around with one another. It’s something that I’ve never really done with any job/lab/career position of mine. It has always been very professional. But that’s what made my summer research so much more enjoyable.

I was spending time with my friends doing what I loved. And I couldn’t have asked for a better summer.


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