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I feel I'm unworthy and don't deserve to be a part of lab research

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by todpose, May 28, 2008.

  1. todpose

    todpose Banned

    May 28, 2008
    Hi, I'm new to SDN.
    I'm going into 3rd year this September and I just started research this summer for the first time.

    I feel like I'm just too slow, dumb, and incapable compared to other members in my lab.
    I'm not worth being a research assistant.
    I feel sorry to other members and my PI for deciding to work in the lab in the first place, because I really don't know what's going on almost all the time and I don't have interest in my project or other research going on in the lab.
    But it's too late to quit now.
    I have no problem sucking it up for the rest of the summer, but I'm afraid of getting embarrassed and giving others hard time due to my poor performance in the lab.

    Before starting research for the first time this summer, I thought I would want to end up publishing papers in my undergrad career, but now that I actually am into research, I realize I won't have what it takes to be like such rare undergrads who get to publish during undergrads. I'm not even understanding my project very well or making any progress; I'm just getting nowhere. It might look ridiculous at this point to even think about wanting to publish a paper.
    I'm really depressed..
    I just feel I'm not fit for or have the right brain for research.
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  3. Character

    Character 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
    i used to seriously hate when my PI would call on me, and being the only undergrad in the lab, it happend all the time. but i caught on eventually and im sure you will too.
  4. abesha

    abesha 2+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    I think everyone feels like that the first time they're in the lab, give it til the end of the summer and see if it gets better, for most people thats the time they start feeling comfortable or know its not for them.
  5. Senlin

    Senlin 5+ Year Member

    May 28, 2008
    Hi, I'm new to SDN too! I just registered today :)

    I just finished my 3rd year; two years ago, before I had taken any biology classes, I was proud to have landed an internship in a research lab. Because I hadn't taken the classes necessary to understand the research, I absolutely hated it. The textbook I had to read was impossible, the papers excruciatingly boring. It would take me a whole afternoon to read 1 paper! And I still wouldn't get it!

    Two years later, having taken many biology classes, I now look back sadly and wished I had participated more. Rather than feeling sullen all the time, I wish I had asked more questions and been more interested in the research. So my opinion is that maybe you should take a day off, or talk about this to one of the grad students in your lab. When you take more classes, maybe more things will fall into place and it will all begin to make sense! From reading your post, you seem really critical of yourself. In my opinion, many many people have a rough time when they first begin research, and you don't need to feel that you're a burden. You're just learning!

    Sorry if I sound a bit condescending in this post, but best wishes! :)
  6. Character

    Character 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
    yeah, take it easy.
  7. 186321


    Jan 29, 2008
    Don't worry, its like that for everyone and you'll pick it up over time (a couple months). Tomorrow is actually my last day of work at a research lab. After 7 months I still don't know what the hell I'm doing.. but usually I just try to follow the protocol and if I screw up then oh well. Remember that you're a student and your supposed to be taught, not be a work horse.
  8. Mobius1985

    Mobius1985 7+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    Everyone working in your lab was in your shoes once. They all know how it feels to be clueless. Ask your mentor for reprints/on-line address of some of her recent papers. Read them. Ask questions. When I was in your position, I, too, was embarrassed to know nothing. Be pro-active instead of stewing in your ignorance. If your mentor is no help, someone else in that lab will assist you to understand. Don't waste this experience being miserable. You will need a Letter of Recommendation and you must earn a good one.
  9. LikeClockWork

    LikeClockWork Guest

    Jul 23, 2007
    Yeah, I was lost for a good bit when I started my lab job, but you get the hang of it eventually. Even if you don't really understand what you're doing, you at least learn how to fake it well. And hey, it's just for a summer. I contend that most people can put up with just about anything as long as it's just for a few months.
  10. ChubbyChaser

    ChubbyChaser Yummmy 2+ Year Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    I would only feel like crap if someone else was that much better than you if they just started as well, otherwise dont worry about it, and if they give you a hard time tell them to **** off
  11. BluePhoenix

    BluePhoenix 5+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2007
    Don't worry about it. I had an advisor in grad school that said "We expect you to be incompetent coming in, otherwise you'd have no reason to be here." The main point of lab work as an undergrad is just to learn what it is and try things one really expects you to come in understanding everything and knowing all the procedures. Screw ups happen, just try not to do it too often. Ask questions, provided it's not the same question over and over, it makes you seem interested and it's the best way to find things out. Everyone in lab started at the bottom, not knowing anything about the research, that's how we start.

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