Friday, May 16, 2014

#1 Woes of a Postgraduate Student

It's amazing how the final year project (fyp) students under my guidance could drive me up the wall. 
And today they did it again. I kinda lose my temper, slightly. 

I was trying very very hard to understand that they are only fyp students, so they are new, there are lots of things they weren't exposed to etc. 

Back to what they did today. 

First of all, they come to lab extremely unprepared. Most of the time, they come to me with empty hands, without their log books or any reference journals. Well, this is acceptable,IF, they have everything they need to do at the tip of their finger or they've fully absorb the details in their brain. But no, they come to me empty handed and just expect me to tell them what they are supposed to do. 

I told one of them to dissolve her material in a solvent and sonicate it for 1 hour. Guess what she did after dissolving the material? She stood by the sonicator and waited for God knows what until I said, " what are you waiting for? Put it into the sonicator." 

Two, they are not initiative. If I don't tell them when they are supposed to do what, they'll just keep quiet and wait. Okay, maybe this is still categorized under the-still-new-not-sure-what's-going-on problem. Maybe this can still be forgiven. 

Since the very beginning of time, I've told them that for research, it is a MUST to read lots of journals. Yes, they may still be new and will not fully understand what they read. But at least make the effort to read. Sad to say, after four months (they started in February), they sent me a copy of their proposal for proof reading and the literature in it was just up to whatever I told them to read. 

They learned how to do two of the characterizations today. When I asked them at which wavelength would they anticipate the peak to appear, NONE of them could tell me an answer. *facepalms* It is a very general characterization where there are A LOT of literature are available. Plus this is not a new characterization to them, they have had encounters with this instrument during their studies. Sigh. For this, I'm very very disappointed la. 

I do not want to spoonfeed them. I want them to have the experience of doing proper research work. So that they can have the freedom of learning and at the end of the day, I hope they'll reap the fruits of their hardwork and feel the accomplishment. 

But it seems like it's not working. 

Should I just spoon feed them? Send them journals to read? Set them a timetable? Tell them what to do step by step? 

I really dunno. 

I'm going on leave for nearly a week next week. I wonder, will they just wait until I come back to proceed with their work? 

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