I am a 1st year undergraduate student in a life sciences program in Canada. I have recently joined a lab and I feel very out of place. The lab does biochemistry and I am more interested in physiology. I am supposed to be helping out in research this summer but no-one in the lab helps me do anything. I only refill pipettes tips and occasionally make mixtures.

I was considering doing research for a living but this is killing most of my passion. I feel like my brain power is so underutilized and I hate it. I am starting to email other professors right now but I don't really know how to proceed.

I really don't want to lose research, as I began renting a place in my area for the summer for the sole purpose of working on research. Can someone give me any advice please?

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    What you're doing sounds more like grunt work than real research. Try not to let one negative experience affect your passion for research. I hope you can find something better. – astronat Apr 3 '18 at 21:43
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    Have you talked to your adviser and asked for more interesting roles than filling pipettes tips? You are a first year student and sometimes you will start fairly low down on the totem pole, but you should talk to the adviser first to see if anything else is available. – Catsunami Apr 3 '18 at 21:44

You need to talk to your advisers/supervisors/group leader about whether or not you can actually be involved in some research. The work you're describing is more aligned with a technician or lab assistant, which if you're not being paid for could be seen as a waste of your time depending on how you view it.

Be realistic though. You are a first year undergraduate and highly inexperienced working in a lab. They may have assumed that you've never held a pipette before in your life so trusting you to doing research may come with some hesitancy, especially since there will be an inevitable cost to you working there.

You essentially have three options.

1. Talk to the people you're working with to see if you can do more than you're currently doing.

2. Look elsewhere to find a position that more closely aligns with what you're looking to get out of research experience.

3. Wait until you're further down your undergraduate to find a more suitable role.

You're not a full time employee or even a part-time employee. You have no obligation to stay with them if it's not what you're looking for. Communicate with them in a polite manner and say that if they cannot provide what you're looking for then you don't want to continue.

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