Pros: location- being able to volunteer at ubc made it easy for me to allocate my time efficiently
Cons: time- as a full time student, i was not able to offer as much time as i would have like to
At this volunteer position I was able to learn a lot and become influenced by some of the smarted people I know. Working in the Riparian and Stream Ecology Lab at UBC, while the work was not as glamorous work, I had the opportunity interact with masters, PhD and Postdoctoral students in the same field of studies I hope to pursuit one day.
My job entailed sorting through terrestrial invertebrate samples, identifying and organizing them for a PhD student's research project. In addition to this, I was able to help collect data in the field which helped me to better understand the project. Once I had spent some time in the lab, I was able to ask each person about their projects, what they have done in the past and what they see for them selves in the future. This was the best part and the part that allowed me to come up with my own research project as a part of an individual directed studies at UBC. For this directed study, as one of my electives, I had to find a supervisor and write a proposal for for a research project. I am still in the process of this project and am very exited to see the end result!
This position, while not paid, has really helped to fine-tune my future direction, it has allowed me the chance to work independently and efficiently as well as part of a team. While the hardest (dullest) part of this position would have to be the lab work of sorting samples, at the same time it is the best part because you know you are helping with research that can be for future capacity building within the scientific community.