One of the courses I took this semester, as part of a specific opportunity provided by the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program, was the Biomedical Externship. In this course, students with proper visa qualification were encouraged to volunteer in a lab or research program during the Spring term. My experience working at the Henderson Lab of the Boston Medical Center was so gratifying that the number of hours I worked there exceeded the requirement. In the following weeks, I will finish my experience there, but I have some recommendations for the next students:
Dear Future Intern,
I’m here to warn you about a few things regarding your time as an intern. You will be part of a very hardworking team and you better make sure you do whatever you can to stand out and prove your worth. You will be forced to raise the bar and become a full-time learner.
Future Intern, I see you rolling up your sleeves and becoming independent in your experiments. Day by day, you are growing and acquiring new skills. You may not know now, but you will have the best mentor you could ask for, make the most of them - they can be your most valuable career management tool!
Be on time. Nothing gets noticed more than someone constantly turning up late. Even if your colleagues are late, or if your boss says they do not care – they do. Try to do things right and be associated with problem solving, not problems.
I must tell you that you will fail at some tasks. You will forget to apply a crucial reagent, and will have to endure your supervisor correcting it. But the following day will be a fresh start and a new chance to do things right. So push for real feedback and be open to hearing any advice, whether you agree or not. If you’re defensive, you’ll never get real criticism. Avoid the confrontation and put time into thinking through what you could do better.
Have a good relationship with your colleagues. There’s no such a thing as “my project” or “your project.” Nobody cares how great of a student you are; you won’t be working alone. Get over yourself. Don’t be arrogant, be humble. If you all work as a team and support each other you will have far more to contribute to the lab.
By the way, talk to everyone - from the doorman to the chair of the department. Make yourself noticeable. How can you expect to be the best intern ever if no one even knows you exist? Be kind, be respectful and B(e) (yo)U!
Instead of solely taking your internship as credits for school, go out of your way to be the BEST intern ever – who knows what doors you may unlock!
Fully Sponsored BSMP Student
MET International - Boston University