Question: Life brings many disappointments as well as satisfactions. Tell us about a time in your life when you experienced disappointment, or faced difficult or trying circumstances. How did you react?
Originally, I got into more detail about the internship program I was in, but it was getting very lengthy, so I had to cut that bit off (thus, the essay may need transitions as some points) but please let me know how it is. Be completely honest and as of now it is 600 some words (needs cutting). And also, please let me know if I made my internship experience sound too insignificant beacuse I wanted to get across the point of my dissappointment compared to my expectations, but I still wanted to show that it’s a special experince.
<pre><code> Armed with a micropipette in one hand and a lab notebook in the other, I have always imagined myself in the future as a biologist; I would make great strides in biological research finding a cure for cancer and AIDS and the slew of mental disorders (if time permits, of course). I love biology and have been fascinated by the subject since an early age. When I was in elementary school, I would pour over any zoological book or magazine I could obtain and learn as much as I could about animals, plants, and other living organisms. In high school, my schedule geared towards the sciences; a day would simply fell incomplete if about half the day wasnt dedicated to science. Though I always feel this amazing rush when I solve a particularly complicated physics or chemistry problem, nothing supercedes the eureka moments when a biological concept suddenly makes sense. Biology never fails to fascinate me; there have been several instances when my mouth just drops open with awe, enthralled by how perfectly everything seems to come together and function. Filled with these lofty ideas and a love for biology, I naturally headed into my selective Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsored internship at the National Institutes of Health light-hearted and excited.
It was certainly a plunge into reality when my mentor led me to my work area, an office, and began describing my daily tasks. Well, I want to involve you in all aspects of the research. We scan on Wednesdays, and you can accompany Margo on Tuesdays to help give the tests. I began to grow uneasy; the tests seemed reassuring though. These tests had to involve lab work. Ill try to get you started on the imaging data as soon as I can, and here, you can get started on updating this database. Any questions? Well I believe that you neglected to show me where the lab was, and what real work I would be doing.
While my fellow interns talked of their lab work and complained about the vast number of PCRs they had to perform, I remained silent, ashamed that my internship seemed where near as exciting as their experiences. My research focuses on the subconscious learning patterns of schizophrenic patients in comparison to normal subjects, and involves a good deal of computer work and data analysis; I usually help process data and give learning tests to patients and subjects. All in all, I initially felt cheated out of a worthwhile internship experience. How would I ever become a renowned biologist?
Appreciation for my work didnt come immediately or in a sudden, miraculous epiphany; it came slowly as I begun to fully comprehend my research. Aligning fMRI scans of the brain requires as much precision as loading gels; data received from the tests given to the subjects is just as valid and valuable to scientific research as the results obtained from a Western Blot. And wow how many high school students have the opportunity to work with brain scans and learn how to run MRI machines? Most of all, though, I have learned that studying the areas of the brain activated by subconscious learning is, contrary to what I had believed earlier, actual work and real research.
Though I would have liked to have lab experience in my internship, it is no longer a necessity. I may be a biological researcher in the future and be able to conduct lab research for the rest of my life, but I would also have liked to dabble in other areas to experience how work is conducted in different fields so that I will be perfectly content with my career in the future, since I would have expended all the potential what ifs. Also, it is very pleasant to come away from work each day free from the aroma of latex gloves and LB bacteria broth that is redolent in many of my fellow interns.