Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Padawan Training

Imagine a Jedi wearing a lab coat instead of his cloak with their little padawan by their side (with ponytail).

That's sort of what I'm up to at the moment supervising a student's undergrad project. Whenever my PI mentions supervising students in the office I try and avoid eye-contact. Not entirely sure why but my knee-jerk reaction is it'll take me twice as long to do something I could do on my own. The odd thing is that when I do supervise students I wind up really enjoying it.

How come? Maybe I've been lucky in that the students I've worked with have so far* being competent and interested in their project. Most times I actually get them to do experiments while I do something else meaning I get twice as much done and that initial investment pays off.
I think that their interest is the key factor in why I ultimately enjoy supervising.  When I'm caught up in the day-to-day experiments  I tend to  forget that what I'm doing is still interesting and dare i say occasionally fun. When I have a "captive" audience doing experiments with me for the first time I'm reminded of how things work in experiments. A maxi-prep is usually pretty dull but when you explain what's happening at each stage and what you're ultimately achieving it's not so bad. When you explain how you get a fluorescent tagged protein into a cell-line I can't help but think  "this is a clever technique" (obviously not my own invention).

So it does require a bit more effort but it is a nice change of pace to have a student around. Let's hope I haven't jinxed things and that the current one doesn't go all Anakin on me - contaminating everything he touches and laying waste to my little empire.

*need to keep the current one honest!

No comments:

Post a Comment