What is work? A job – a monotonous, persistent pursuit of promotion? Is it sitting at a desk, eight hours a day mulling over some characters on a computer? Is it speaking into a microphone for four hours a day to an unknown source of people? Is it smiling at the camera, waving goodbye to millions of people? Or is it pointing the camera at such persons?
Well, whatever it is, the US social climate demands work to dictate the majority of one’s life. In addition, the first twenty years of a person’s existence involves learning how to survive and possible careers for the workforce. Oddly, it isn’t until the final three or four years that students receive the serious challenge of choosing a profession, but that’s a story for another day.
I’m entering that final stretch of education. College looms, and I’m terrified, but once the experience comes, the fear will pass. However, before any of that occurs, the pre-requisites for the next education and even the real world include internships. So, as all encouraging Asian parents do, they toss their children into the teeth of the flames and ask them nicely to not die.
And, I would’ve much rather face fire than the hazards of a chemistry lab, as not only could I start a fire myself but also that there were plenty of other mysterious substances that could affect my well-being. With that fact in mind, mother grabbed me by the throat and figuratively dropped me into a Jefferson University Neuroscience Lab. Under the direction of Dr. Yu and Dr. Chen, her goals for me were to experience science and perhaps convince me to enter the scientific field. However, my goals were a little different: try not to waste grant money and don’t die.
If you are reading this, then most likely I have not accidentally gained an unhealthy disease. Most likely. On the other hand, in the lab, I may have screwed up a few times to my chagrin, but hey what’s new. Regardless, I picked up a few important details about lab work.
Last summer I interned at UPenn, and while doing similar experiments, a year changes a lot. First of all, it appears that the jump from 15 to 16 in age grants a few extra perks. For example, I ran PCRs and electrophoreses, cut frozen tissues and stained samples, even received an intern badge! Suddenly, I found myself in a lab coat casually pipetting DNA samples into Eppendorf tubes for analysis alone (sounds cooler than reality).
While nothing changed between my experiences this year and last, there is a more professional notion at Jefferson-- possibly due to a larger amount of Asian scientists. It was a different type of work as well; a lot more individual projects in an open lab space. I’m pretty sure I could’ve gone an entire day without communicating if needed.
As for this experience granting insight on my future… well, I remain undecided. While science-ing in a science-y lab, work wasn’t particularly *fantastic* or sensationally appealing. There were parts I enjoyed – experiments, mostly – and parts I didn’t. Thus, I suppose I’ll try again next year, but maybe not a lab.
(Chinatown in Philadelphia 06/12/2019)
(N. Wales Station, PA 06/12/2019)
(Jefferson Station, Philadelphia 06/12/2019)
(Lubert Plaza of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia)
(Multiple Sclerosis of Wt vs. Mt at Hind Right Leg in Mouse Model)
(Sculpture "Starman in the Ancient Garden"
Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia)
(Stadium of Temple Univ., Philadelphia)
(Temple Univ., Philadelphia)
("Around the Clock" Daycare Mural
914 W Girard Ave, Philadelphia)
(Neighborhood in South Philadelphia)
沃尔特·惠特曼大桥(Walt Whitman Bridge)