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Student jobs — From the centre of politics to the most secret rooms in a museum. 73 per cent of all Danish students have a job while they are at university. Clara Franck is studying sixth semester molecular biomedicine and is a laboratory assistant at the the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Centre for Basic Metabolic Research.
I am a laboratory assistant at a research centre that deals with metabolism which includes research into diabetes and obesity. I help to study blood samples, place the right labels on the tubes and clean up – that sort of thing.
I get the chores that the scientists don’t want to do themselves. But they are not just chores for me. I haven’t done it before, so for me everything is new and exciting. Okay, you might get a bit tired of it in the long run, but I think it’s a cool environment.
We are also in the labs for class, but it’s not the same at all. It is one thing is to learn how a pipette works. But it is something else to learn that the things we learn can be used for important research that actually benefits people. It’s only with this job that I came to this realization.
You hear many stories about the people who walk around in white lab coats in the laboratory, so it’s great to have it all demystified. And it’s important to practice things. What if you don’t like working in laboratories? It would be terrible to find out after five years of study. Luckily, this has not happened to me. I have not been frightened away at all.
I really like the fact that you usually know what to do in the laboratory. If you have a blood sample and you need some DNA, you should follow a ten point ‘recipe’.
But I also like the fact that there’s something mysterious and strange about working in a laboratory. I passed a machine for a whole year, for example, without knowing what it was used for. One day I asked a researcher, and he explained it to me right away. My colleagues are always really good at teaching me stuff, and it is some cool stuff they do.