This summer, Ive got three undergrads in the lab.
While some might view this as babysitting, I love it. Love it!! ... which is probably why I have three this summer... but it is easy to love when youve had the fantastic students we have had in the lab in the past, and the three awesome young women that are playing in my lab this summer.
The thing is, when you are dealing with n00bs, who have no clue what you are talking about, much less what you are doing, much less how to do what you want them to do (or why), you do spend a lot of time explaining whats going on. And when you have three little ones to look after, I realized today I spent the entire day sounding like the "An den?" lady from one of the best films of our time, "Dude, Wheres my Car?"
"First you need to do this an den you need to do that an den we are going to do this an den you are going to do this an den you all need to take the samples down to Dr. Xs lab an den you need to do this an deeeeeeeen......ANDENANDENANDENANDEN!"
Im waiting for one of them to scream at me "NO AN DEN!"
But they just keep doin what I tell em to do with big ol smiles on their faces!
... But the summer research experience is young... LOL!
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And they're probably too young to get a "Dude, where's my car?" reference.
Kids these days.
Our lab of two grad students and two postdocs (I am one of them) has six summer students this year... with all this help, I kind of imagine this to be what a PI feels like.
They might get even more motivated to work hard if you offer them the opportunity to create molecular "patches" for various human ERVs -to make those viable again-, and then insert those DNA patches into highly contagious ordinary viruses for a bit of fun. I can see Stewie Griffin work 20 hours a day for a chance to pull it off (demented laughter).
Yes, I know it is nearly impossible to get the right DNA to the right place, but it is cheaper than building a bomb. That uranium hexafluoride is really messy.
In chemistry (I'm a medicinal chemist), we have a saying: "A good summer intern doubles your work load. A bad one takes out a wall."
Against my better judgement, I took on an undergrad part-time this summer (shared with someone else in my lab). So far, everything he has touched has turned to golddust. The PCR on the new primers worked first time. That never happened to me!