Although I’m always working on something related to my research project, the research atmosphere at my host university seems more relaxed than I was expecting. Graduate students and their undergraduates set their own work schedules, and downtime isn’t uncommon while students wait for equipment to arrive. And while student schedules may be relaxed, professor’s schedules certainly are not. For instance, coming from my home university, I took it for granted that professors were available at most times of the day for a quick word whereas here, everyone seems to be fighting for face time with a professor, which is definitely incentive enough to make every encounter count.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to see the day-to-day workings of two different lab groups, which is enough to know that individual experiences during graduate school, even within the same institution, are bound to differ depending on one’s lab group. Luckily, my experiences with both thus far have been very positive.