Welcome to the end of 2013. I haven’t posted nearly as much as I would have liked to. That one post since I started grad school? That was 11 months ago.
I’ve had a number of eye-opening experiences this year. It surprised me that my PI expected me to train undergrad students just a few months after I got here (not to mention of course the new graduate students). I wasn’t an undergrad very long ago…
As time progressed, I got the feeling (and now know for a fact) that my advice — think: tips and tricks — became very unwelcome to one student, I’ll call V. I’m really trying to pin down the cause of this so I can be a better mentor to future students, but it’s difficult. V and I are of similar ages, but V is a 3rd year BSc with two summers of lab work (including the one with me). I’ve run through a number of situations and scenarios but I can’t get a firm hold on why we’re not working well together.
Since V plans to be a grad student in my department in the next few months, and her project will use a similar approach to mine, I thought it best to talk with our PI about the issue. Together, we think V just wants to be independent… to receive similar trust and the same “hands-off” approach from the PI that I get.
How do you allow a person their independence? I thought it was more privilege that was earned, at least in the labs I have been in. Is the best approach to be “hands-off” and let V figure out that the others in the lab can offer valuable advice?