I got an internship! It's just some lab work 2 days a week, but it is so much more than what I had before.
I have an amazing supervisor. She's easy to talk to. She's a graduate student whose done her own traveling in China and some other places. Her research involves looking into making polymer films that can help separate out certain elements in water. It depends on the number of electrons the element has on whether it can pass through the film or not. I am there to help her make the films. I am simplifying it a bit, because I would prefer not to use this blog as a lab report; I already have one of those I have to finish, and I don't want to need to write another.
My first day on the job, I worked on getting some of the films that were already made out of their petri dishes, which is harder than it sounds, since you don't want to tear them in the process. Water can be used to help. I also, measured out some water to dilute and dissolve some sulfates into a solution, and then added that to a certain amount of the polymer. The solution mixture and the polymer were set aside at the end to stir for 24 hours. Not the most interesting thing for some people, but I was very excited. It's so much like cooking. There is a lot of waiting and patience involved, but I enjoy that not only are you learning something, but it is something where all you need are a set of instructions and measured out ingredients, and there you have it! Stir and serve. I also, did a little on seeing how their IR spectrometer worked. I have used IR specs before, but the ones undergraduates get to use in their labs versus the ones graduates get to use is incomparable. There is so much more possible in the computer programs they have because it is being used for research rather than just as a learning exercise.
On a side note:
I am learning German on my spare time. I am not devoting hours upon hours on it, yet I am using it as a means of entertainment when I am working on mindless tasks, or tasks that need less brain power. For example, on the days that I cook, I can listen to this Coffee Break German instead of listening to music.