Grade Three – Conversation Tips for Briefings!
As we have already passed the halfway point of this semester and approach the reading week, several events have been organized by some research groups of the University. These have been specially laid out to share potential research areas of the honors project for third-year students.
I attended two of them – one organized by the MRC PPU and the other by the James Hutton Institute. Both events involved different PIs/post-docs representing their lab and research interests in an informal discussion session. Thus, we were informed of the current research interests of their laboratory and the potential skills that we could explore during our project. Following this, we were also able to ask any questions we might have face to face – something that has become more valuable after the COVID-19 years. And so, here are some tips for such “open days”!
- No question is silly – take the initiative to speak! Since you are an undergraduate, you have a new perspective on things; therefore, no question is silly. Don’t be afraid to ask a real question.
- Do some homework! Since you are approaching a PI/lab representative to discuss a potential project, read a bit about their lab and their work. Check out their latest articles. If you can, develop a research question based on their work that you might want to explore in their lab. It’s a good way to understand their work, and it also helps to show your enthusiasm.
- Chat with a post-doc/doc in their lab! Apart from the scientific aspects, you should also try to understand the work culture in this lab, as this will be part of your course for at least two months. And the best way to understand the culture of the lab is through post-docs or doctoral students. So think about approaching them!
And above all, be genuinely interested in the area of research in which you are trying to find a project; spend time understanding your inclination instead of hustling. I hope these little tips help you! Thanks for the reading! Happy reading week!