I LOVED being on the inside of a real biopharmaceutical laboratory, not just my basic chemistry lab at school. I have always been a hands-on learner, making labs my favorite aspect of my studies. Seeing this environment in action was not just liberating, feeling like a real adult scientist, but also stimulated a lot of thoughts about my future career path. I am very passionate about learning health care details, having two parents in the industry has always been fascinating to me, and this experience re-instilled my love for this realm of learning.
What I wish was different
I wish that the environment at my summer work location was more personable and engaging. Unfortunately, a large majority of the other employees were older and much more used to going through the motions each day, whereas being younger I was much more curious about each step in proper pharmaceutical testing.
I would let prospective students who have high-energy personalities and are also entering stem fields to understand that not all people are as excited to learn as you are at this stage in our lives. I was faced with a lot of challenges: learning to dial down my excitement while remaining engaged with mentors, creating healthy workplace dynamics with those much older than you, etc. but I learned a lot about what it means to be an adult by going through that. Just do not let any person dim the light to keep learning, even if they may find it insignificant.