Virtual Tour: Choosing a Lab at Nagoya University
Note: Pictures were provided by Nagoya University and are example photos of the campus and buildings.
Hello everyone! My name is Shehab Fadda, a 4th year Physics undergraduate student in the G30 program, and I will be your guide on this virtual Nagoya University tour. Today’s itinerary? Choosing a lab!
Picture this! You, a bright G30 student, have been working hard, day and night, studying smart and hard, promptly completing all the reports due, and hopefully having some fun throughout. Your academic advisor calls you into his office and explains that you have to choose a lab for your final year as a bachelor’s student.
3rd Year: Discussing lab opportunities with academic advisors
You are finally there: no more courses, no more homework. You made it… didn’t you? Good news first, you are right, there are no courses and no homework for the most part, but quoting a great web-slinging superhero movie: “With great power comes great responsibility”. You are now presented with a choice that will certainly shape a great deal of your experience as an undergraduate student. Fret not, we will go through this together.
Touring a laboratory at Nagoya University
First things first, you need to ask yourself an important question: What do you want out of this? Whether you are preparing for a career or an academic endeavour, there is always a place for you. Narrow down the choices of labs you are interested in from information posted on the Nagoya University website or on campus, and Google (or Yahoo, I do not judge) the lab and its professors. Doing a lab tour is always a great idea, especially if you can talk with some of the current members of the lab. It is important to note that confusion is an integral part of the process, and that you will eventually figure it out and it is going to be just fine.
Some students also choose to participate in career counseling to help decide their specific field of study
Secondly, be prepared to work hard for whatever you are here to do. Although lab is a relatively free environment, it is not by any means a lazy one. You will be asked to take on a project, do a seminar or read a book, and all of these things require work. The freedom you yearned for so long may become your worst enemy. But you have come prepared, and you are ready to take it on.
Experiments at the laboratory can be time-sensitive and intense. Be prepared and don’t be afraid to consult with your advisors and upperclassmen on whether a laboratory is a good fit for you.
Thirdly, figure out what you want to gain out of this experience. In general, if you plant apple seeds you will not get bananas, with the only exception being quantum mechanics. If you want to form great friendships within the lab, then you will have to invest time, and perhaps discomfort into it. If you want to get into a graduate school, you will need to research the prerequisites and work hard on them. If you want to find good jobs, aim for research papers, conferences or publications to show in your resume. Being realistic and planning ahead for your goals will help you solve all of your problems, and if they do not, then you were not realistic enough.
Examples of research posters/publications that students write or partake in.
I hope my brief tour provided some help and insight for you. If there is anything that I would emphasize on, it would be that lab choosing is a highly personal experience. Whatever experiences other people have/had will be different. Ask others for pieces of the jigsaw but be the one to put the pieces together. Always remember: all of your seniors, colleagues and I are here!
Consulting and talking with your friends, classmates, upperclassmen, and advisors are an important part of the process.