It’s almost summer again, and when I was in college back home, summer meant going on vacation somewhere. Well, of course we wouldn’t go on vacation the entire summer because we didn’t have money for that, so the other half of the summer was spent working to be able to pay for the vacation. I worked in restaurants and bars, and one summer I decided to combine work and vacation and I worked on a campsite in France for two months. When I was a grad student, summer still meant going on vacation, because back home as a grad student your contract says that you have approximately 8 weeks of vacation. Okay, you’re not really supposed to take all 8 weeks, but most grad students will take a couple weeks of vacation in the summer. And when you travel cheap, you earn enough money as a grad student to go on vacation to the cheaper parts of the world, like Asia and South-America for those weeks. It had NEVER occurred to me that you can also spend the summer working in a lab as a volunteer, but apparently that’s what a lot of students do here in the US. So instead of
drinking on a beach in Spain immersing themselves in a different culture, they lock themselves in a lab for the entire duration of the summer.
I can’t complain about that, because this summer I have a lovely summer student who is super enthusiastic about neuroscience and loves to help me out with experiments. So
I can write a blog post I analyze data, while he is running my experiments. But are those couple of weeks volunteering in a lab really going to look that good on your CV that you are going to waste spend an entire summer in a lab? I still don’t really get it…