How to “conquer” a mentor for your academic projects

Juliana Souza is a Brazilian undergrad student in an exchange experience at the Florida State University for a year, studying biology and seeking for work opportunities. She loves writing stories, reading biology books, Japanese culture and marine creatures.

Getting an internship is something that all college students dreamed about once in their academic lives. Although it is just as simple as “Ok, I’ll go ask that professor if I can work with him”, it’s not that easy to get scientific projects during your college life. Most of the professors that work in good projects are not interested if you’re the best student of your major, but they would like to see if you’re capable to do a great work. They will actually make you work hard to deserve that dreamed scholarship in that awesome project.
The first thing that you must think about is: does this work interest me? Once you have the answer you have to think if you are ready to learn (most of it by yourself), spend time and do your best to make things work well. Working on something that is interesting for you is the best way to add experience and knowledge in your academic skills. You must show the professor that you’re required for that project and you are willing to do the work and write papers about your researches. The best way to “conquer” a mentor for academic projects is to show that you really want to try it. Once you get the project, you must remember that you’ll spend much of your time on it and you would not like to lose your pace during it.
If that internship requires punctuality or you must accomplish a certain number of credits you would like to be always on time and to fulfill all credits you need in order to have that good “first impression”. The best thing to do to organize your time is to create a schedule in which you must divide your activities and manage the hours you have to fit your internship works in. If it’s not a work that has its own time to start and end, you can manage your schedule the way you like, not forgetting to check if all credits needed fit. Following this schedule will help you to organize the other activities in your life and will allow you to have more free time to enjoy as all your tasks are completed by the end of the week.
Another thing you must have in mind is to be always efficient. Being on time at work every day will not help you if you do not have your assignments done. If you’re given a research to do but the “boss” did not give you a deadline, you must do it anyway, don’t wait for him to remember about that; when he does you must be ready to show your research and your results. If you have a deadline but you don’t have enough time to fulfill your research, manage your time in your schedule to use the hours you would be spending in practical work for researching and writing any papers or articles you need to. This will not delay your work, but the opposite; you’ll have your research done on time and will probably have more information to write about by the ending of your project. It’ll also be a good thing to have some questions to discuss with your mentor about.
Regardless of how your researches are going, if you can be organized and efficient you’ll conquer your mentor’s heart!

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