In response to an anonymous post (hosted here) in which a blogger describes her grad school experience, Comrade PhysioProf makes a case for the importance of lab rotations. "While there are some people who have known since undergrad exactly what they are interested in scientifically, feeling this way before starting grad school — and even as a first year — is almost always an illusion," CPP writes. He adds that "even if after your lab rotations you realize that you really already did know what you want to work on for your PhD, if they were selected wisely, your lab rotations will have provided you with a broader appreciation for the technical and conceptual range of approaches available in your field" and that experience may be useful during a student's thesis research. CPP says that the "personal and professional connections you will have made in the labs you end up not joining" are just as important as the skills students obtain while rotating labs. "There are many reasons why lab rotations are considered a key aspect of graduate training in those departments that require them beyond just 'picking a lab,'" he writes. In a comment to this post, blogger Beaker Half Full agrees that rotations "should be mandatory" and says that, if it weren't for them, she "would have missed out on a great opportunity for sure." Reader userj, however, writes that "I know many grad students in my [department] that have done very well without rotations" and argues that "if one is a focused student, one should be able to bypass rotations."
Making a Case for Lab Rotations
Aug 23, 2010