– post by Golgi –
At first glance, the transition from college student to research associate didn’t seem like a big life change. I had worked in this lab as an undergraduate and would spend anywhere from 4-10 hours a week at the bench. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the lab. It provided a type of challenge that was a welcome break from the typical lecture hall environment. So it felt like it would be a more or less effortless adjustment to take on lab work full time.
Now that I have been working in the lab for about two years, I can see that it was a much bigger transition than I had imagined. Most notably, I’m coming to understand the true meaning of carrying a research project through from beginning to end. As an undergrad, I tackled small subsets of projects, but now I am conducting lab work for entire projects. It’s stressful and exciting at the same time. It means spending a lot of time at a lab bench, possibly developing carpel tunnel, but hey, I’m in my twenties so I basically regenerate in my sleep and feel brand new in the morning.
But in all seriousness, bench work can be repetitive and draining both physically and mentally, so it’s very important for me to continue a very engaging and active lifestyle. The most efficient way for me to stay sane is to take on hobbies that keep me healthy and socially engaged at the same time. For example, I recently picked up indoor bouldering. It’s a great way to stay in shape, feel like a badass chick, and make new friends to boot!