Monday, January 30, 2012

Lone Ranger?

Having an undergraduate working with me has been a great experience so far. But it's made me think about how things work in my research group, or how they don't really work. Because he's working very closely on one of my projects, I have a very good idea of what his data should look like, and can help with troubleshooting. Much like in writing, sometimes, you just need someone else to spot your typos. Unfortunately, there's almost no overlap across projects in my group. There's no one who can take a glance at my simulations and spot a syntax error in my input file, or remember when they got the same error code. 

In theory, our advisor would be close enough to projects to help with these types of problems, but the reality is that most of us are left to fend for ourselves. You certainly learn more by struggling through to solve problems, but there's a point at which it overwhelms the ability to get anything done. It also makes brainstorming more limited. Collaborating is not something I'm learning how to do right now. 

I'm a little jealous of some of the other groups in my department, who work much more closely with one another. They seem to be less dependent on their advisors. On the other hand, when the equipment goes down, no one is getting any work done. Maybe the grass always looks greener from a distance. 

1 comment:

  1. don't be shy of approaching other groups for advice or help. Collaboration/advice can be easy(ier) at grad student level because there's of an expected quid pro quo.