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Internship hunt: It's venting time!


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#1 acetylcholine

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 11:51 AM

The internship hunt is almost schizophrenic in its complete lack of rationality, for a field that is supposed to be all about rationality, considering this is science and we in science ought to know a thing or two about rationality. I do one thing with one internship offerer and it doesn't work, then do the opposite with another internship offerer and it doesn't work.

Hey, maybe I'll write an entire cover letter to wash dishes. Sure. I've got experience washing labware. Plenty of it.

I even have a Humboldt squid hat. Maybe I should wear that to the interview if I get one. IF.

Also, no matter how good my GPA is, there will always be someone with a better GPA and more experience. Always. Even if I have the most, there will always come along someone who has more. My GPA's great, I try to compensate for my lack of experience as much as possible by sounding enthusiastic (especially by adding a poo-eating grin when I deliver my cv and cover letter in person!), and I'm pretty darned sure what I put on paper is grammatically correct.

It doesn't help that my country's economy sucks.

I'm even offering to work for free! Except, nah, nobody's accepting me for that either.

Do I need to do a song and dance? Do I need to stand on my head and spit nickels? Do I need to introduce myself in the only other language I know, which is unfortunately only useful in a handful of Eastern European countries? (Yeah! You can use me to interpret stuff from your colleagues there! Right?)

And this stuff about needing experience to get more - how do you get your foot in the door in the first place?

I do not comprehend it.

#2 casandra

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:06 PM

The internship hunt is almost schizophrenic in its complete lack of rationality, for a field that is supposed to be all about rationality, considering this is science and we in science ought to know a thing or two about rationality. I do one thing with one internship offerer and it doesn't work, then do the opposite with another internship offerer and it doesn't work.

Hey, maybe I'll write an entire cover letter to wash dishes. Sure. I've got experience washing labware. Plenty of it.

I even have a Humboldt squid hat. Maybe I should wear that to the interview if I get one. IF.

Also, no matter how good my GPA is, there will always be someone with a better GPA and more experience. Always. Even if I have the most, there will always come along someone who has more. My GPA's great, I try to compensate for my lack of experience as much as possible by sounding enthusiastic (especially by adding a poo-eating grin when I deliver my cv and cover letter in person!), and I'm pretty darned sure what I put on paper is grammatically correct.

It doesn't help that my country's economy sucks.

I'm even offering to work for free! Except, nah, nobody's accepting me for that either.

Do I need to do a song and dance? Do I need to stand on my head and spit nickels? Do I need to introduce myself in the only other language I know, which is unfortunately only useful in a handful of Eastern European countries? (Yeah! You can use me to interpret stuff from your colleagues there! Right?)

And this stuff about needing experience to get more - how do you get your foot in the door in the first place?

I do not comprehend it.

Hi acetylcholine,

Welcome to Bioforum. That's quite a rant so you've come to the right place ;). Perhaps you can tell us first what you meant by internship cos personally I'd associate this with medical internship (or the Whitehouse)? And you're hunting here in North America?
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#3 acetylcholine

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:13 PM

The internship hunt is almost schizophrenic in its complete lack of rationality, for a field that is supposed to be all about rationality, considering this is science and we in science ought to know a thing or two about rationality. I do one thing with one internship offerer and it doesn't work, then do the opposite with another internship offerer and it doesn't work.

Hey, maybe I'll write an entire cover letter to wash dishes. Sure. I've got experience washing labware. Plenty of it.

I even have a Humboldt squid hat. Maybe I should wear that to the interview if I get one. IF.

Also, no matter how good my GPA is, there will always be someone with a better GPA and more experience. Always. Even if I have the most, there will always come along someone who has more. My GPA's great, I try to compensate for my lack of experience as much as possible by sounding enthusiastic (especially by adding a poo-eating grin when I deliver my cv and cover letter in person!), and I'm pretty darned sure what I put on paper is grammatically correct.

It doesn't help that my country's economy sucks.

I'm even offering to work for free! Except, nah, nobody's accepting me for that either.

Do I need to do a song and dance? Do I need to stand on my head and spit nickels? Do I need to introduce myself in the only other language I know, which is unfortunately only useful in a handful of Eastern European countries? (Yeah! You can use me to interpret stuff from your colleagues there! Right?)

And this stuff about needing experience to get more - how do you get your foot in the door in the first place?

I do not comprehend it.

Hi acetylcholine,

Welcome to Bioforum. That's quite a rant so you've come to the right place ;). Perhaps you can tell us first what you meant by internship cos personally I'd associate this with medical internship (or the Whitehouse)? And you're hunting here in North America?


I'm an undergrad looking for an internship in a lab in the United States.

#4 acetylcholine

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:47 PM

Also, my online record, what I can make of it, is practically spotless and I'm not particularly ugly either.

Maybe it's my voice. Is it my voice?

Or maybe it's the fact that my car is a clunker.

Or maybe it's the fact that I wore pants and not a skirt.

I'm feeling particularly dour today, can you tell?

#5 casandra

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:47 PM

Hi acetylcholine,

Welcome to Bioforum. That's quite a rant so you've come to the right place ;). Perhaps you can tell us first what you meant by internship cos personally I'd associate this with medical internship (or the Whitehouse)? And you're hunting here in North America?


I'm an undergrad looking for an internship in a lab in the United States.

ok I get, for the experience as well as the possibility of getting into a graduate program. Then empty platitudes aside, you need to be patient and you have to persevere. You're learning as you go so that's not really a total waste of time. Besides, science esp in the US is very competitive so don't sell yourself short and drop that grin. Can I just ask where you come from and are you limiting yourself to the US only? Have you considered taking a masters first from your country and then applying for a PhD in the US- you'd probably have a better chance?
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#6 acetylcholine

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:52 PM

Hi acetylcholine,

Welcome to Bioforum. That's quite a rant so you've come to the right place ;). Perhaps you can tell us first what you meant by internship cos personally I'd associate this with medical internship (or the Whitehouse)? And you're hunting here in North America?


I'm an undergrad looking for an internship in a lab in the United States.

ok I get, for the experience as well as the possibility of getting into a graduate program. Then empty platitudes aside, you need to be patient and you have to persevere. You're learning as you go so that's not really a total waste of time. Besides, science esp in the US is very competitive so don't sell yourself short and drop that grin. Can I just ask where you come from and are you limiting yourself to the US only? Have you considered taking a masters first from your country and then applying for a PhD in the US- you'd probably have a better chance?


I'm a US student, so I can't afford to go anywhere else at the moment.

#7 casandra

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 12:58 PM

Also, my online record, what I can make of it, is practically spotless and I'm not particularly ugly either.

Maybe it's my voice. Is it my voice?

Or maybe it's the fact that my car is a clunker.

Or maybe it's the fact that I wore pants and not a skirt.

I'm feeling particularly dour today, can you tell?

Yup you can join the sulking club...;)....and yup, it could be your voice...have you ever considered taking singing lessons...take it easy dude....I was gonna write dudette but the pants gave you away..
"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#8 mdfenko

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 08:43 AM

what i did, as an undergraduate, was approach one of my professors and volunteer to be a research assistant (unpaid) in his lab.
talent does what it can
genius does what it must
i do what i get paid to do

#9 chason

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 12:29 PM

If you haven't done it already, I would recommend taking an Undergraduate Research "class" if your university offers it. You do the work for free (actually, you are paying for it!), but you get course credit (you do have to write a paper). Your academic adviser should be able to help you with this.

Also, having a clunker shows you have "character". And you will not piss your PI off by having a nicer car than him.

#10 lab rat

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:53 PM

Chason has a good idea, but I'll add a caveat emptor: make sure you get into a lab that provides good mentorship.

I have seen many undergrads come into labs, excited to get to do "real research," only to find that they have gotten thrown off the deep end, or that they are the lowest priority in terms of the lab's focus. The students that stayed in research were the ones who got good guidance from the start.
42..."An immutable fixed-precision number of unlimited magnitude." <a href="http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)</a>, accessed 25June2009.

#11 acetylcholine

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 09:53 AM

Chason has a good idea, but I'll add a caveat emptor: make sure you get into a lab that provides good mentorship.

I have seen many undergrads come into labs, excited to get to do "real research," only to find that they have gotten thrown off the deep end, or that they are the lowest priority in terms of the lab's focus. The students that stayed in research were the ones who got good guidance from the start.


Problem: I don't know who's going to provide me good mentorship, I don't know what good mentorship should be, and I don't know how to find out who's a good mentor without running afoul of people.

Another problem is timing. My timing was spectacularly bad today. I went to a lab, all dressed up, with a list of questions, and found out the PI's lab was full - including of minors. (I have a problem with the fact that they've started funneling high school kids - who are KIDS with zero qualifications, not even courses - into laboratories when there are plenty of perfectly qualified undergrads who are actually committed to what they're doing and have classes under their belt and who want to go to grad school and need research experience. I am too old to be bitching about this, being in my early twenties, but I can't tell you how teed off I am to have my pool of possible positions decreased by someone who's too young to vote and who may be too young to drive.)

#12 casandra

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 10:54 AM

[
Problem: I don't know who's going to provide me good mentorship, I don't know what good mentorship should be, and I don't know how to find out who's a good mentor without running afoul of people.

well, you'd never really know until you get into the lab and in the end, you could be assigned a good or a bad mentor but then many grad students have gone thru this...so yours won't be a special case anyways...people oftenly find ways to get around this....

Another problem is timing. My timing was spectacularly bad today. I went to a lab, all dressed up, with a list of questions, and found out the PI's lab was full - including of minors. (I have a problem with the fact that they've started funneling high school kids - who are KIDS with zero qualifications, not even courses - into laboratories when there are plenty of perfectly qualified undergrads who are actually committed to what they're doing and have classes under their belt and who want to go to grad school and need research experience. I am too old to be bitching about this, being in my early twenties, but I can't tell you how teed off I am to have my pool of possible positions decreased by someone who's too young to vote and who may be too young to drive.)


just curious A-choline...so how did you react after seeing all these minors? cos you're soo dripping with frustration :P....if the position is a competitive one, then you shldn't worry cos you have an advantage over these high school kids....

Edited by casandra, 04 June 2010 - 11:01 AM.

"Oh what a beauteousness!"
- hobglobin, personal comment about my beauteous photo......

#13 acetylcholine

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 04:42 PM

[
Problem: I don't know who's going to provide me good mentorship, I don't know what good mentorship should be, and I don't know how to find out who's a good mentor without running afoul of people.

well, you'd never really know until you get into the lab and in the end, you could be assigned a good or a bad mentor but then many grad students have gone thru this...so yours won't be a special case anyways...people oftenly find ways to get around this....

Another problem is timing. My timing was spectacularly bad today. I went to a lab, all dressed up, with a list of questions, and found out the PI's lab was full - including of minors. (I have a problem with the fact that they've started funneling high school kids - who are KIDS with zero qualifications, not even courses - into laboratories when there are plenty of perfectly qualified undergrads who are actually committed to what they're doing and have classes under their belt and who want to go to grad school and need research experience. I am too old to be bitching about this, being in my early twenties, but I can't tell you how teed off I am to have my pool of possible positions decreased by someone who's too young to vote and who may be too young to drive.)


just curious A-choline...so how did you react after seeing all these minors? cos you're soo dripping with frustration :P....if the position is a competitive one, then you shldn't worry cos you have an advantage over these high school kids....


Regarding mentoring, are there questions I can ask and things I can watch out for?

Regarding my reaction, I saved my reaction for after I got home. :)

#14 acetylcholine

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 04:45 PM

If you haven't done it already, I would recommend taking an Undergraduate Research "class" if your university offers it. You do the work for free (actually, you are paying for it!), but you get course credit (you do have to write a paper). Your academic adviser should be able to help you with this.

Also, having a clunker shows you have "character". And you will not piss your PI off by having a nicer car than him.


I've done this. I have asked MANY MANY people if they have any spaces open. Most of them have said 'nope'.

Should I just wait until the fall? 'Cause this is irritating.

I have two more interviews, one of them for a position at an aquarium (which is my backup if the interview for the research assistant position goes to crap). I should get the last one if I don't get the second one.

At least I got interviews.

#15 acetylcholine

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 04:47 PM

what i did, as an undergraduate, was approach one of my professors and volunteer to be a research assistant (unpaid) in his lab.


Did that. Everyone's lab is full for some reason!




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