You just finished an internship in a lab and are moving onto the next adventure in your life, be it another internship, a full-time job, or graduate school. How do you move forward and make sure you made the most out of your internship?
Maintain your network
Even when you leave a lab, you will still rely on the relationships you made during your internship. You may need a reference letter from your supervisor, a job referral from a colleague, or advice from a friend. The field of science can be a small world, so it is important to maintain these good relationships. Follow up with your colleagues occasionally and keep in touch to maintain strong connections!
Be honest in your intentions
A lot of positions in science, especially when you are starting out, are temporary. People expect you to eventually move forward to other opportunities. Be honest in what you are hoping to achieve and where you want to go. Nobody will fault you for moving forward if you put in good work throughout your internship. Just be careful not to make it seem like the internship was only a means to an end.
If you had a good experience, acknowledge those who helped
A simple thank-you can go a long way. If you had a supervisor or colleague you feel really made your internship worthwhile, then tell them. Showing people that you recognize the time and energy they put into supporting you can help you leave on a high note!
Maintain a good lab book
Hopefully, even when you leave, the project you were working on will be passed onto someone else or prepared for publication. A messy lab notebook can make this nearly impossible. Make sure to leave all your work well organized so others can keep moving forward with it.
In summary, always try to leave any job on good terms! You never know when you may need to reach out and rely on these connections again. Good luck!
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