Well we have reached the conclusion of our individual experimentation and I can confidently say that this lab experience has been one of the most informative experiences for me. Functioning in a lab goes far beyond the correct operation of micropipettes and weighing scales. To succeed in the lab, you have to manage a plethora of responsibilities through organization, time-management, discipline, focus, and clarity of mind. Especially in a lab setting, where quantities, biology, and chemistry are in play, mistakes cannot afford to be made. Before suiting up in a lab coat and goggles, I’ve learned that the planning of an experiment and proper development of ideas is 90% of the effort.
In truth, I should have approached my planning far more thoroughly than I did, expanding even more on my prior research and daily activities. Only through the effective guidance of my mentors and incessant notes/logs in my notebook did I manage to keep everything afloat till the end. But in professional research settings, in universities and institutions, planning and research are the most integral facets of research. This principle extends far beyond the life sciences. Research conducted in every field follows the notion that planning should never be underestimated. For a long time, I have trusted myself with organization and planning but this research experience has taught me that no amount of preparation is too much.
To conclude the weeks long discussion on my experiment, I have also learned that the outcomes of an experiment may not always perfectly align with your hypothesis. But that’s okay. After an experiment, the only thing that matters is that you have reached viable conclusions on a research question that you have decided to pursue. And I am far from disappointed with my results. For minds like mine, which feel inclined to try anything and everything impulsively, I now have the wisdom and experience to caution us to slow down and logically think things through. Despite partaking in science fairs for a number of years, I never had the chance to work with such knowledgeable mentors and aides like those I have had here at TRIP. Years of working in labs and living in the world of science have given them a new intuition and sixth sense about their disciplines and this knowledge is invaluable to the rising generation of scientists and academics.