Dec 12, 2012
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I made the mistake of getting research from the university's Biology Department's head, and he has put me in his research. When I went up to him today, he assigned me the topic and basically told me that I will have to learn about the procedure on my own. There were two graduate students there in the lab, and everyone was warm with me. But when I showed interest in the research and said that I would thoroughly research the procedure--read articles, contact other professionals, etc.--I noticed that everyone became ruder toward me. I don't know what I did wrong: it's my first time as a researcher--I am a freshman--but I thought my advisor wanted me to show him that I will work my butt off on the research; but it seems my enthusiasm had an opposite effect. Wth did I do wrong? I don't want to piss off my research advisor and head of Bio dept. What should I do??! Also, I am not very cognizant of my social environment, so maybe I missed something?
 
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I made the mistake of getting research from the university's Biology Department's head, and he has put me in his research. When I went up to him today, he assigned me the topic and basically told me that I will have to learn about the procedure on my own. There were two graduate students there in the lab, and everyone was warm with me. But when I showed interest in the research and said that I would thoroughly research the procedure--read articles, contact other professionals, etc.--I noticed that everyone became ruder toward me. I don't know what I did wrong: it's my first time as a researcher--I am a freshman--but I thought my advisor wanted me to show him that I will work my butt off on the research; but it seems my enthusiasm had an opposite effect. Wth did I do wrong? I don't want to piss off my research advisor and head of Bio dept. What should I do??! Also, I am not very cognizant of my social environment, so maybe I missed something?
You can be enthusiastic without talking about how enthusiastic you are. Try taking the initiative by asking if the grad students need any help with their work in exchange for some training. Grad students may be a little turned off that a freshman is coming into their lab, especially if you are being overly enthusiastic, and not want to help. I would suggest just chilling out, taking it slow, becoming a helpful part of the team, and showing some modesty when you're learning new things.
 

mehc012

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I made the mistake of getting research from the university's Biology Department's head, and he has put me in his research. When I went up to him today, he assigned me the topic and basically told me that I will have to learn about the procedure on my own. There were two graduate students there in the lab, and everyone was warm with me. But when I showed interest in the research and said that I would thoroughly research the procedure--read articles, contact other professionals, etc.--I noticed that everyone became ruder toward me. I don't know what I did wrong: it's my first time as a researcher--I am a freshman--but I thought my advisor wanted me to show him that I will work my butt off on the research; but it seems my enthusiasm had an opposite effect. Wth did I do wrong? I don't want to piss off my research advisor and head of Bio dept. What should I do??! Also, I am not very cognizant of my social environment, so maybe I missed something?
It probably has something to do with the bolded statement :shrug:
Perhaps your timing was less than ideal. Honestly, unless you are going to do something specific to help their research efforts, you are pretty much irrelevant as far as the grad students are concerned. Maybe they really are warm, friendly people and wanted to say hi, but then they had a lot of work to get back to and didn't want to get drawn into a long conversation about what you were going to do and research and look up?

I dunno. It's not really feasible to evaluate your social interactions via internet hearsay when we don't know any of the people involved (including you), the context, how you said things, or pretty much anything.

Just do your thing and show the PI that you are willing to work hard, and they will respect that. Your job is not to be bffs with everyone in the lab (though it wouldn't hurt). Explaining what you are going to do won't help...just freaking do it! :laugh:
 
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Thanks for advice guys, but it sucks to deal with research bureaucracy--and today was my first exposure.
 

Ruhroh

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You're a premed. Graduate students tend to abhor premeds because of their inner regret of choosing a sh!ttty career. Plus you're a freshman, which is the absolute worst kind of premed.

Just ignore the graduate students. Go to the lab, lift hard. and get out when you're done.
 
OP
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You're a premed. Graduate students tend to abhor premeds because of their inner regret of choosing a sh!ttty career. Plus you're a freshman, which is the absolute worst kind of premed.

Just ignore the graduate students. Go to the lab, lift hard. and get out when you're done.
Thanks for the reassuring comment, man. But those grad students are the ones who have to teach me all the procedures. I'll just try to act dumb and subservient toward the grad students and try to suck up to them. Hopefully, things will turn out well.
 

mehc012

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Thanks for the reassuring comment, man. But those grad students are the ones who have to teach me all the procedures. I'll just try to act dumb and subservient toward the grad students and try to suck up to them. Hopefully, things will turn out well.
No, no, NO. And no to the above comment as well!

The reason I didn't even consider medicine for waayy too long was that I hung out with grad students/postdocs too much, and absorbed a little of the premed bias. They don't dislike premeds because they're inexperienced, they dislike it when anyone wastes their time by sucking up and going through the motions. Researchers do what they do because they REALLY ENJOY science. It is undeniably frustrating to see so many people parade through your workspace simply to check a box on their app, without any real respect for the work that is being done there. Enthusiasm for science is fine, enthusiasm for showing how awesome you are is annoying, and bootlicking is just awkward.

Don't tell them how awesome they are, how efficient you'll be, how much you loooove their work. Just respect the science, discuss it with them, and try to legitimately interest yourself in the work. Acting dumb is the last thing you want to do...act intelligent, interested, but inexperienced. Because, you know, you ARE intelligent, (hopefully) interested, and inexperienced. Don't try to play anyone or suck up.
 

911 Turbo

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I made the mistake of getting research from the university's Biology Department's head, and he has put me in his research. When I went up to him today, he assigned me the topic and basically told me that I will have to learn about the procedure on my own. There were two graduate students there in the lab, and everyone was warm with me. But when I showed interest in the research and said that I would thoroughly research the procedure--read articles, contact other professionals, etc.--I noticed that everyone became ruder toward me. I don't know what I did wrong: it's my first time as a researcher--I am a freshman--but I thought my advisor wanted me to show him that I will work my butt off on the research; but it seems my enthusiasm had an opposite effect. Wth did I do wrong? I don't want to piss off my research advisor and head of Bio dept. What should I do??! Also, I am not very cognizant of my social environment, so maybe I missed something?


......wut?
 

mcloaf

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Thanks for the reassuring comment, man. But those grad students are the ones who have to teach me all the procedures. I'll just try to act dumb and subservient toward the grad students and try to suck up to them. Hopefully, things will turn out well.
If anything it sounds like they could be annoyed that your first move was to talk about doing a lit search and calling other labs rather than asking them about your questions.

Hard to tell with this little info though.
 
OP
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If anything it sounds like they could be annoyed that your first move was to talk about doing a lit search and calling other labs rather than asking them about your questions.

Hard to tell with this little info though.
Wow, you may actually be right, as my adviser kept hinting that even if I found procedure tutorials online for other mammals, I'd still need the procedures found in the lab for the frogs--developed by the grad students. I was too idiotic to consider that he was trying to get me to get acquainted with the grad students. :diebanana:
 
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FKKKKKKK!!!! I ate my fking ego and went up to the grad student and literally told him I'll be his fking manservant. I said, "hey, what's up? If I could help with some of the small stuff like washing the dishes, could you please let me know?" He didn't even look up and only nodded--and even that because there were others around me. I highly doubt he's going to ask me to come to the lab. This is so not fking fair that I get such fktards as colleagues.
 

Lamel

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FKKKKKKK!!!! I ate my fking ego and went up to the grad student and literally told him I'll be his fking manservant. I said, "hey, what's up? If I could help with some of the small stuff like washing the dishes, could you please let me know?" He didn't even look up and only nodded--and even that because there were others around me. I highly doubt he's going to ask me to come to the lab. This is so not fking fair that I get such fktards as colleagues.
Seems to me like you have a powerfetish.
 

URHere

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Your reaction to this is so over the top that I can't tell if you're trolling or not. If you are being serious, here are a few things to think about:

1) You are a freshman. While it's great that you want to get involved with research, you currently know very little about it. When you tried to act enthusiastic, it is possible that the graduate students were thinking, "Does this person even know how to do a literature search? Do they know how the techniques work well enough to even understand these papers? Why would they contact someone in the field as a freshman? That just isn't done."

Your best bet is to admit how little you know and ask for someone to point you in the right direction. They could find you good textbooks to read, or give you copies of relevant protocols, etc. No one wants you to fail, but it's frustrating when someone new comes in and thinks that they can master the field immediately. You may have accidentally given off that impression.

2) The graduate students are busy. If my day is packed with experiments, I occasionally ignore my own advisor (which he is OK with). You can't expect someone to put down everything and give you their undivided attention. If you want someone to train you, ask if there is a good time for them to sit down and chat with you. Better yet, offer to come in on your downtime and watch them do some of the techniques you have to learn. Grad students are usually willing to help as long as it doesn't demolish their own experiments/schedules.

So...don't freak out about this. It doesn't mean that anyone hates you, or that you work with bad people. It just means that you have a lot to learn. Training a freshman takes up a lot of other people's time, so it is your job to work around other people's schedules and make yourself as unobtrusive as possible. Once you're trained, if you can help others in the lab, and actually make their lives easier, they will adore you for it.
 
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I agree with URHere. When I was in the lab and we had students come in, it was common practice to roll your eyes and cringe because explaining your work or training people usually isn't fun. HOWEVER, when we would get students in who paid close attention and asked good questions, it made it a much more enjoyable experience. Some were obviously just doing their required rotations without caring while others were genuinely interested in learning something. Be someone they want to train and you can overcome their initial dislike.

And DO NOT act like they are "fktards". And the fact that you used this phrase already makes me suspect you have. They know way more than you and they are not required to teach you anything. They will only help you if you are polite and helpful in return.
 

mehc012

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FKKKKKKK!!!! I ate my fking ego and went up to the grad student and literally told him I'll be his fking manservant. I said, "hey, what's up? If I could help with some of the small stuff like washing the dishes, could you please let me know?" He didn't even look up and only nodded--and even that because there were others around me. I highly doubt he's going to ask me to come to the lab. This is so not fking fair that I get such fktards as colleagues.
aaaaaaannnnnd this is exactly why premeds get a bad rap in labs. They don't want some suckup lackey. Watching you fawn over them and fall over backwards in a desperate attempt to prove that you are wonderful and awesome and deserve DA BEST recommendation ever isn't pleasant. It's disrespectful and annoying. Stop sucking up and start paying attention to the science. The only way to get respect around lab is to demonstrate that you know how to think critically about the material...if you just blindly go through the motions without understanding the purpose or being able to pick apart the reasons behind the expts that go wrong (and some will go wrong), you will continue to be ignored.

Ugh, your attitude makes me squirm all the way from here. Think beyond your precious resume and stop using these people as a stepping stone to your goal, and maybe they won't be so offput.
 

mehc012

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successful troll is successful


look at his post history dude
No, that would be more work than just responding to him! :laugh:
Besides, it's not like this is an uncommon attitude for people to have in lab...not sure it's really trolling if it's still relevant!
 

EnergyDrink

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aaaaaaannnnnd this is exactly why premeds get a bad rap in labs. They don't want some suckup lackey.
Speak for yourself. If I had an undergrad to wash my labware, I'd love him.

OP sounds awkward as hell, and is probably a bit weird to be around.
 

mehc012

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Speak for yourself. If I had an undergrad to wash my labware, I'd love him.

OP sounds awkward as hell, and is probably a bit weird to be around.
:shrug: At my first lab, we just paid someone to do everyone's glassware. Actually, it wasn't a lab-wide policy, it was the whole building. That was just how it worked there!