Everyone tells us that our summers during high school are important. Especially after sophomore and junior year. You finally have the time to devote to something, whether that be an internship, a job, or a passion project (like this blog!). Now, even I have already told you this (go read this) but it’s worth a reiteration.
Even though whatever you do in those summers is undoubtedly of value and helps your growth as a person and as a college applicant, there are a few summer programs that are almost like a neon sign screaming “Look here! This one’s the real deal!” These are ones that mark you as one of the best in the nation at its respective focus and are opportunities not to be passed up.
In fact, a lot of the applications for these summer programs are opening around this time (I know, it feels like summer just ended, but the next one will be here sooner than you know). So I encourage you to apply, even if you think you don’t have a chance - you never know.
Well, it’s over. Weeks and weeks of pouring over stained slides, slaving over the VS120, perfecting the poster and my paper, and it’s done. It has definitely been an amazing amazing experience. I practically ended up living in the lab and I did not like waking up at 7 am every morning, but I would not exchange the experience for anything. Plus I loved it so much that I’m now staying there! Until school starts. Besides being an actual part of actual science, I can take so many other valuable lessons from this experience.
Honestly, both of these weeks were full of so much of the same things, that after I wrote a week 5 update it didn’t feel like enough information to actually post an entire post. So I decided to combine both of them together. Sorry if these are short or particularly boring (the weeks themselves felt short and particularly boring), but alas, this is a part of science as well.
I can’t believe summer is already halfway over! And that I’m only going to be in the lab for 4 more weeks :( But regardless, 4 weeks is better than none; I’m super excited for the next few weeks where we’ll really start working on compiling all our research together for our paper and poster and so forth. As for this week, we did a lot of prep with our final presentation in mind. Lots and lots and lots of IHC. And flow cytometry. And protein assays. But mostly IHC. So much. And along with all of that, there was so much failure this week. Nothing we did this week was a success. It was “You get a failure! You get a failure! Everyone gets a failure and complete waste of time!” Sigh…
This week was the week of learning. Along with continuing to do the procedures that we had already learned, we learned so so so many new things. Most importantly, we finalized what we’ll be doing for our final “project” that we will eventually present in August during the Liberty Science Center Symposium. This week, because it was another THED week, was also spent working with a lot of other grad, undergrad, and high school students (including one of the smartest people I have ever met). And in case you haven’t read my earlier updates, here’s the first one.
Another week has passed by like the blink of an eye (hey, I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it! Sigh, I’m such a nerd) and my experience in a lab has only gotten more interesting and fun. This update will be shorter, considering I’m not going into all the introductory stuff. (In case you missed it, I wrote an update for week 1 with all the intro stuff, check that one out here: http://tanzerina.weebly.com/blog-archive/liberty-science-center-partners-in-science-update-week-5-1)
As most of you know, I am spending this summer as a Liberty Science Center Partners in Science Scholar. I’m working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and 8 weeks this summer, inside a lab at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers. And it is amazingggggggg!!!!! I honestly did not think I’d like it this much. Just in one week I have learned so so much. Ahhhh, I love it. I’m doing real science. Like real science. With a possible global effect. I’m discovering things, making connections, counting cells. That last one doesn’t sound that interesting and you’re right, it’s not, but it’s science! As you can see I am very excited.
Every year, there are those programs whose application due dates are like a good 2-3 weeks after the majority of the applications I fill out, and if I don’t fill out the later applications with the earlier ones, well there’s an almost 100% chance I will not get around to filling out the ones that have a later due date. Now of course, I’m just a lazy person like that, and I’m not saying everyone is like that (props to you if you aren’t!), but I really really wish I would’ve filled these applications out, I might have gotten something out of it. Well, it’s too late for me, but please guys, don’t abandon applications just because they have a later due date and you just wanna be done with them. Learn from my mistakes.
Here is the second part of this post.
Now, this is when sh*t got real. If I didn’t find a productive way to spend this summer, I was pretty much going to be a failure (in my own eyes). So I sat down, did some real research, regaled in the fact that I was finally old enough for all these programs, and set up a plan for everything I was going to apply to. This is the year, where along with research and similar programs, I applied for pre-college programs, where I would be getting credits at a particular university while studying alongside their undergrads.
We’ve all heard the spiel, “the summer of your junior year is the most important one in high school! It’s your one chance to show colleges you do something other than sleep 14 hours a day and binge watch How I Met Your Mother during those days in July and August.” Doing something productive in the summer (and no, getting through a season of House in a day does not count as productive) is also a great way to separate yourself from the pack when it comes to college and applications.
I am a firm believer in applying to selective summer programs to try and get a leg up over most of your peers, and more than just that, to give yourself an opportunity to experience things beyond the regular high schooler. Whether that be through high school summer research, shadowing, or interning, every opportunity allows you to grow as a student and applicant.