Working on a project for years can be arduous, exhausting and unsurprisingly lead to many dead ends. Finding motivation in these tough times is an obstacle faced by most grad students. Recently, while mulling over a short conversation I had with a colleague, I realized one of the principle sources of motivation for grad student researchers. In my opinion, the main source of motivation that pushed me into the field of biomedical research, and undoubtedly intervenes in many other fields, is the simple thought of helping others by devising cool experimental methods to look at a common problem in the hopes of reaching a hypothetical destination known as scientific progress. Of course, this process is easier said than done. However, as obstacles mount and the journey progresses, the aforementioned hypothetical destination can be modified over and over again to renew-the-woo, so to speak.
Everyone who ever spent time sitting at a bench in a lab will tell you, bench work is a tedious, time consuming, brain numbing process…and they are right. Knowing this before you get into research is a must for any potential grad student, and I commend students who come during the summer months and see what this field is all about prior to committing numerous years of their lives to this endeavor. Nevertheless, bench work is a means to an end that can be quite enjoyable when regularly supplemented by stimulating scientific thought and discussion. On that note, finding a lab that promotes the synergy between both of these research tools is a must for any hopeful grad student.
Best of luck,