Jun 12, 2009
Medical Student
exactly what it says in the title- i will have to be taking a break in the middle of my summer research commitments. one week because I am attending an international student conference in indonesia, and maybe another two weeks to meet my family whom I won't have seen for what will be nearly a year come June.

Im not doing a summer research program, just some work with a professor. But what will she think of this? I don't know what I will be working on- it's my first time in the lab, (first year student) so Im thinking I probably will do the basic basic stuff that won't require continuous commitments, but I might be wrong (about the continuous commitment part) or I might even get a project to do. Which I of course would like to do but with this 3 week break in the middle of the holidays... :S and it's really bang in the middle of the holidays, like one month each on either side of the break.

Anyone have anything to say on this situation? Should I cut down the family holiday? :( I really have no idea what one does in a lab- is it okay to be leaving the lab for 3 weeks or so and come back to it? and most importantly, it's not going to make an impressive LOR is it?


10+ Year Member
Nov 20, 2007
Resident [Any Field]
Even if you aren't sure what you will be doing during your time in lab, you do need to let your lab PI know that you plan to take such a substantial break. In some labs, new students act as unofficial lab technicians and perform tasks that keep the lab running (mixing media, doing dishes, etc). In others, they are "given" to graduate students or postdocs to help out with ongoing projects. Either way, a nearly month-long gap could throw a wrench into someone's plans if they don't know about it beforehand.

I would suggest contacting your PI and informing them of the break ASAP. Apologize for the inconvenience and ask if they are still willing to take you on as a student. If they are, there will be no problem and no bitterness (and your LOR will be fine if you do solid work in lab). If not, find something else to do with your summer.