Chronicles of Nerdville: Attack of the summer interns

The months May – July in a research institute are hell. Well, firstly, it’s extremely hot, courtesy: summer. And then, you have a plethora of summer interns thronging every nook and cranny of the ever so vast campus. Population explosion gets a whole new meaning. Which makes me think… isn’t this a perfect setup to explore change in interpersonal dynamics of the people around me?

The first place where the sudden influx of academically oriented minions shows the most effect is of course the labs. Working in a crammed workplace delights no one. It’s not that the lab is noisy. Well, my lab has been noisier in the past due to other project assistants and students. The summer interns are quite tame in comparison. But well, the seniors don’t set a good example, so I won’t be surprised if after a few sessions, these kids start mingling too well with the pre-existing noisy crowd.

Then of course, is the cafeteria. I was simply terrorized watching the bulk of crowd flocking the cafeteria for its substandard food. Of course, it’s just a matter of time before they get utterly bored of the monotonous taste and resort to trying other places… oh wait. There aren’t any.

The advent of summer interns also implies other research staff joining the lab. There’s a post doctoral candidate who has recently joined our lab. And with that, the group dynamics of my lab-mates have changed. Of course the ‘cool’ group (also the most dim witted one) had to sample the new cool girl for their own group. This has also strengthened affiliations of a certain geeky robotic person, with the said ‘cool’ group. Why? Because the small talk group, as he refers to them, finally has a ‘large’ talker, hence averaging out the small talk content of group discussions. Well, let’s just say that he has a better excuse to hang out with them, so that he can assert his presence in front of a certain girl in the group that he might like a lot.

Then there’s this feeling that often strikes us oldies… these interns are so young, and they’re doing some cool stuff. Wish we could have done something like that when we were their age. Then again, I can guarantee, with a high probability, around half of these people are never going to do research again. The other half will contemplate whether they actually liked working on their project. Probably around half won’t. Such a waste!

And then there are the socially awkward lab outings. Why? You don’t know the new members well enough, you don’t get along with some of the old ones. There’s a very specific set of people you don’t mind talking to, without feeling like your head will blow off.

Work wise, you feel drained out. You’ve made it through yet another academic year. You need renewed motivation. You need a getaway. Good thing is, I have one planned for the weekend. Hopefully I’ll come back with oodles of excitement for the rest of the summer. On that note, I’ll end my not so summery post.


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