Surprise! You Have More Students
I’m already busy in lab doing my own projects and supervising some undergrads who are helping me on some sub-projects. Yet this morning, I was surprised by a new task–to mentor a couple of high school students who want some experience in a science lab. I have no problem with this, per se, but originally some other professor (not my advisor) was supposed to teach them. That prof had thrust these high school students to a support scientist to mentor, but he’s leaving on a much needed vacation tomorrow. And now I’m apparently in charge of them.
I have mixed emotions about this. First, there’s the exasperation because this is just one more thing on my plate. I was hoping that I would have enough time to myself to concentrate on getting things done during the summer so I will have some actual data for my next committee meeting. Second, there’s idealism. There’s always the possibility that maybe I’ll inspire these high school students (or at least get them excited) about science so they could actually help me on my project. Third, there’s cynicism. They could be bored out of their minds as they think what the hell is she talking about? while I’m trying to explain something. They could just not get it and cross off “science” as something they’d want to do when they grew up.
Today, I had them practicing some basic microbiological techniques. And they set some paper towels on fire. Perhaps I should try to be optimistic. At least they didn’t burn down the lab.