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Serious problem.....need serious solution

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by lola12, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. lola12

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    ok like every other curious permed i wanted to know what research is like (or put it down in my application)......either way, I deccided to join a lab past summer. The supervisor interviewed me, liked me and so I joined the lab as a summer student. He did have any extra funding for the projects and so I worked as a suumer student basically helping out the rad students in the lab, and learning various experimental procedures alongside. However, I started liking it and opted to do my honors thesis in the same lab (4th year research based course).

    Rite from the beginning of the summer, there is this one grad student who is very very hostile towards me. The lab is prety smalll since my PI is retiring soon. There are 3 ppl in the lab: me and 2 grad students. I first thought that maybe I am a new addition and so he is behaving like that. But no. He talks rudely and shows off/ bosses around with every single person. But I have a feeling he has a special grudge against me since he was the one who talked about the project with my PI, and maybe he wanted to work on the project. Howver, he is really rough on me ever since I started. He keeps saying things like "I think this lab work is too tough for a 4th yr" "why dont u start thinking (when i make a mistake)"
    Recently, I found out he told on me. My PI talked to me about i need to be mature as a 4th yr and start working blah blah. I am a 4th yr and put in all the time that a typical student does and have produced data that a typical 4th yr does (I talked to other students in the program about their progress). I really dont know how to tackle this problem. I feel like he is on my face everytime evn if it isnt my fault. For any experiment the other grad student does a mistake, they blame it on me saying I have contaminated the sampl or they used my reagent which killed their cells. I cant beleive my PI is following them (I cant blame him as he is away most of the tim and has to rely on their words). Anyways I am hurt deeply and want to find a solution to this until April when I'm graduating. Any advice ppeople. Apologise for my rant. :oops:
     
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  3. 175961

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    tell him where to stick it!!! seriously, dont take crap from anyone...especially a jerk like that. get in his face and ask him what his problem is. I'm serious, you gotta stick up for yourself with people like that. 10 bucks says hes a panzy, backs down and leaves you alone
     
  4. GoBeers

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    as an adult, you'll have to tell the grad student to suck it. then talk to your PI about it.
     
  5. Lukkie

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    to be honest i gotta sympathize with the grad student... students volunteering in labs are kinda annoying. especially the premed ones (pre-grad school students are usually on the ball)
     
  6. otterpop

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    over the years, I've learned to not take other people's BS. Have an honest conversation with your PI about what's happening. If that doesnt work, politely quit and tell your PI exactly why you're quitting. If you are confident in yourself and know that you will be of value to another lab, you'll be fine.

    If, however, you can't quit because staying is the only way of completing your honors thesis, then that sucks. Still talk to your PI and let him know what's going on. If things don't improve, then I guess all you can do is stick with it. If you're not getting treated respectfully, don't treat them respectfully.
     
  7. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    That's life. You will encounter difficult situations at school, at work, or even socially. While some people just swallow the insults and other people quit, I think the best choice is the middle ground. Psych yourself that you need this experience. If you are able to successfully deal with this situation instead of running away, you will learn something that no school can ever teach you and will avoid being in the same situation later in your life when your stakes are much higher (i.e., once you work for real money).

    My suggestion is take a proactive approach. Try to get the grad student when no one is around and have a candid conversation with him. Ask him what is it that he thinks you lack and what suggestions does he have. Maybe he does have a point and you just don't see it. Be willing to go out on a limb and READ books or other materials that will help you with your research and let the people at the lab know that you're doing it. That's a proactive approach. Now rarely you may come across someone who has chemical imbalances in the brain and no amount of logic will surmount that, but usually even these people just back off while continuing to not like you. That will be good enough for your purposes until you finish your research and move on. In my experience, if people sense you are very intelligent, they are very careful about what they say to you or behind your back, be it superiors or not.

    Finally, if you find that you're unable to get through, this is when you go directly to the top - the PI. Let him know that you are trying your best to succeed, express genuine interest, and ask for references where you can learn more about what you're doing. Next time he will not believe everything the grad student tells him. If you're not prepared to do some extra work, then you may reconsider this position or research in general.
     
  8. 229141

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    Have you ever made a mistake that contaminated his samples or in any way wasted him time? Wouldn't you be frustrated if you're trying to get your PhD and an undergrad is messing up your stuff? Look I'm not taking sides but what you are describing is very common...deal with it and don't let him push you around if it bugs you that much. Don't you remember in high school when seniors would try bully freshman?? That is all this is and if you don't stand up for yourself this guy will likely own you. Remember you're an undergrad and a lot of undergrads are seen as nothing but lab slaves..looks like you might be in that scenario in which this might just be an unpleasant right of passage you must deal with..


    I feel bad for even asking the grad students questions...If I were them I'd want all undergrads out of there! Luckily I've known most of them for a while
     
  9. Lukkie

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    yeah that's what i'm concerned about - we are not getting the whole story here.
     
  10. otterpop

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    So OP, are you keeping it real?
     
  11. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    You are right, but only to a point. When a lab admits a student, it is known full well that the student is not going to have a lot of knowledge and may even be immature. That's not a good reason to treat someone so poorly. If you don't want the student, then don't hire him. Everyone would be better off if only the right people were selected for the right job. Students would get the spots they deserve and would not be yelled at for not living up to expectations. If an incompetent student is hired, it is PI's fault, mostly.
     
  12. 229141

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    No you are right- thats a good point. When I signed up for my lab they interviewed me, looked at my grades, etc...so you're correct in that they should not have hired him if they had no use for him
     
  13. Dissected

    Dissected All bleeding stops eventually
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    be careful with this one...stand up for yourself but don't bring yourself to their level.
     
  14. vasca

    vasca En la era postpasambre
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    It gets worse in med school. Senior students are virtually never at the campus when the newbies are around because the seniors take most classes at hospitals, but even when senior students are around, they are always nice to the newbies.

    It's in the hospitals where things can get rough. I've had some nasty encounters with nurses that will harass and yell at you even if you were doing absolutely nothing wrong just because you're a female med student and they suffer from some sort of inferioty complex. Then they treat the male students insanely politely even if they do something stupid. You'd think, let's taddle tale to the doctor. No good. They know damn well that these nurses always give trouble but they aren't much of in a position to fire them.

    As an intern about to experience the true nature of the food chain of a hospital I'll give you this advice: learn to choose your battles. If you can switch to a different lab, go do some interviews, see if you get accepted and then have a personal chat with your PI that you've going somewhere else because you feel like you aren't being treated decently (hoping you haven't screwed up to give people excuses to bite you back). You could have a one-on-one chat with the rude guy, but unless you're stuck in this particular lab, I wouldn't waste my time. To him you're just a dweeb who thinks he's a know-it-all but you're still just an undergrad student. However I bet he doesn't have the balls to yell at you when the PI is around.

    You could talk to other people of the lab that have a neutral stance on the issue and work with them in your free time being polite. They might get to see you're pretty decent for being dweeb and might defend you when the guy that hates you insults you for no reason again.

    University isn't exactly a place for fist fights. If you have a feud that can't be settled decently, go settle it off campus knowing you risk get expelled and stuff.
     
  15. lola12

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    thanks for all the advice guys.....my project is totally different from his project and I have never interuppted any of his work. I am in the lab for only 2 days a week because the rest of the days we have classes. He works seperately and has his samples in a different place from mine. He never asks me for any help and even if he does its not with the experiment but other admin work. I have never even been near his sample....trust me i'm not trying to hide anything out here ....as it is I am anaonymous
    However, when there was no one around I picked up a converstion with him and asked him whether he has anything in his mind that he would like to tell me....he smirked or gave a weird laugh....he just wouldnt tell me....
    Besides another day he told me how much he hates research and his work and wants to finish up his masters ASAP.....i'm wondering if he is taking out all that frustration on me...
    I understand I'm just a 4th yr and I'm willing to learn and take alll their suggestions in....I've never talked back to any of their yellings.....i try not to disturb them at all since I know master is more imporatnt than my 4th yr course work....
    Anyways, I'll try talking again....
     
  16. htownpremie

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    OP, it won't get any better, at least from my experience. i'm a tech in a lab right now (full time job), and anytime anything goes wrong the fingers start pointing all over the place. nobody likes to take responsibility for anything, and that really is one of the things that you should keep in mind when you are looking at joining a lab. the atmosphere and the people in it are just as important as the work in my opinion.

    i hate to say this but you will have to deal with this sort of thing all the time if you stay in the lab. people have to deal with it all the way up to the PI. i've got people taking credit for good hardwork that i've done, blaming me for work that i haven't done, giving me work to do that they should be doing themselves, and i've been having to explain basic data interpretation to people who are about 5 levels higher than me and have been doing this for 30+ years (i.e. small numbers without relevant confidence intervals do not indicate whether or not the numbers or significant). it's almost like a work environment.. people snitch, backstab, and misrepresent themselves and others.

    you've gotten good advice here though. just stick with it, show the PI that you are curious and proactive in addressing your shortcomings. there are always things that you can improve on. lastly, i'd say not to settle with just doing what a "typical 4th year" does. maybe the grad student's annoyance stems in part from the fact that you are just being "another typical 4th year." and if you ever run a lab yourself, be on the lookout yourself and treat the kids at the bottom fairly.
     
  17. dannyboy1

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    just remember you are going to be a doctor while this ******* will be spending his professional career teaching undergrad bio:D
     
  18. mbe36

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    -sit everyone down

    -voice your concerns

    -explain your honest effort

    -ask the student in front of the PI why he does not voice his concerns directly to you. Explain how your always have the best interest of the lab in mind and feel that is the most efficient way to solve any problem.

    -be nice and respectful- but also ask this student to explain himself
     
  19. OncoCaP

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    Do your best to find out what you need to do to avoid aggravating the others, including perhaps not working there when nobody except the jerk is around and double-checking all your procedures and technique. Try to be nice to everyone, including the person you can't please. You'll want a witness to verify that you are doing everything correctly (using sterile technique, etc.). Practice before you work with the real thing so you make fewer mistakes. Talk to your PI privately and politely about the situation and ask him how you should approach it. He will have no ideas but it will provide some defense when there are complaints about you. I would keep the number of people engaged in this drama to a minimum. Try to focus mostly on doing good work and occasionally talk to your PI about any progress or lack thereof in this drama situation. Needless to say, you are low person on the totem pole and at a complete disadvantage here. I'm rather surprised at the number of people suggesting a confrontational approach ... which will only have one result: another complaint about your behavior and you will look even worse. The reality is that you will encounter this kind of situation again. The only thing you can do here is not throw fuel on the fire and avoid becoming an even bigger target. This is really just part of life. Learn to bite your lip and chalk it up as good experience for the future. The idea that you'll be able to get into a fight with the jerk and somehow come out without looking like a disruptive idiot is a complete fantasy; turn this into a fight and you would simply get to a point where you will either get kicked out or leave because you just can't take it anymore.
     
  20. MDizzle

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    If I were you I would make sure I was on my A game all. the. time. Do whatever the guy says even when he sounds bossy and don't come off as flippant or defensive at all. If he blames something on you apologize like crazy and look completely defeated. Hopefully if he is half-human he'll stop with the bullying. Also, as an aside, to impress him and get him to treat you like a peer you need to be doing more than the average 4th year. I did research in college and, looking back, it's a joke compared to what I did even as an entry-level research associate.
     
  21. silverlining1

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    While I certainly agree that you don't deserve to be treated like crap just because you know less than a grad student, I also agree with the idea that you've got to pick your battles when you're in a hierarchical situation.

    I am not sure I understood or got the whole story - does your PI seem to be mad at you or think less of you? Or, is it just this one student who's being a jerk? If it's just the one dude and the PI is treating you as normal and helping you achieve your goal of a thesis, then I think you'll just have to deal with it. Trying to talk to this jerk is a fine idea (in a civil manner of course), but it sounds like he is not receptive to it at all. Some people just have issues that you can't touch or understand. Since you are at a low place on the totem pole, I wouldn't recommend "tattling" to the PI - I really think the best solution is just to ignore it as best you can.

    However, if the PI seems to think less of you because of things that the grad student is saying, then I do think you should talk to him privately about the horrible relationship that's going on.
     
  22. unique135

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    Lighten up

    Chill

    Joke around with him

    Help him out

    Regardless of what he does...




    Doc, you need to treat him.
     
  23. searun

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    The guy is just socially awkward. If he invites you out for a beer, turn him down. You will be doing yourself a favor. If he snowboards, I might revise my recommendation, but I doubt that guy seriously snowboards.
     
  24. lola12

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    Thank for all the wonderful advice guys.....on the bright side he was surprisingly polite to me today...later I learned he earned a chance to go to california for a conference....i was like good for u (my day is not starting off bad today) :D
    Anyways I have decided to take in everything they say....just gulp it all up....and of course pay attn to their suggestions.....and sucessfully finish my project...
    BTW i feel great typing up my botherings here....u guys are really supportive...thanks again...
     

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