The good and bad of being a postdoc and student mentor at a research lab…

One of the best things, and one of the worst things, about mentoring and supervising students and postdocs at my institution is when they leave for their next position.  This last month has seen a remarkable confluence of the above.  Two postdocs (Tarah and Meg) have now moved on to fabulous new Assistant Professor positions; my graduate student (Migun) has graduated and moved on to a postdoc; and a visiting summer graduate student (Stacy) has returned to her studies and teaching.  And as if that wasn’t enough, Emily another grad student I co-advise, will finish in November!  This is particularly remarkable as I don’t have a huge group and have never had more than 5-6 students/postdocs in my lab at any given time!

As a mentor, I couldn’t be prouder!

I must be doing something right, or at least have done right initially in picking some smart scientists and dedicated individuals to work with over these last few years. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!

As a Project Manager, PI and Mid-Career Scientist all I can say is yikes! 

All of the projects these folks have worked on have further studies to complete in the near term or are continuing for the long term. This will be a challenge for me as I try to keep making progress over the next few months.  I suspect that I may be having some more hands on time in the lab.  This is a very iffy proposition as I’m extremely rusty in my bench/laboratory skills.  How will I succeed in the lab, analyze data, write papers, conduct searches for replacement students/postdocs, manage projects and budgets, write grant proposals, serve on review panels, peer review and edit papers, serve on committees, etc., etc., and make any reasonable progress on any one of the above?

Check back with me after the new year… If I’m still sane/standing that is!