• I often hear that choosing the right research lab is extremely important.
  • There are stories about “getting a terrible advisor and having two dark years” and also about students “evaporating” or “disappearing” from their labs.
  • It’s something to be cautious about.


Personally, I think I developed my abilities a lot because I was in a place where research topics were assigned from above, and I was shuffled to different labs periodically, like in a company. I imagine that if I had gone to a traditional university and gotten a job, I would have become a worse researcher than I am now. But it really depends on the individual.


When I was in my master’s program, I applied to six companies and seven research institutes that I wanted to work for, but I got rejected by all of them. I felt like I had been stamped with the label of “not qualified for research.” However, I later enrolled in a doctoral program and now I’m enjoying my research at a national research institute. So you never know what might happen, but I think it’s important to make an effort to change your surroundings on your own.


I think it’s easy to end up in a mismatch if you decide on a university based solely on its entrance exam scores or competition ratio. So, I recommend gathering as much information as possible (and sometimes asking direct questions to get firsthand information) and making judgments with your own thoughts instead of being swayed by others’ opinions. By the way, the same applies when choosing a seminar or a job after graduation. When someone gives you their opinion, it’s important to consider the standpoint and perspective from which they are speaking and listen calmly. That way, you won’t be easily influenced by others’ opinions.


When choosing a research lab, what’s important is first the compatibility with the faculty members, and then the compatibility with the colleagues and seniors whom you’ll spend a long time with. Only after that comes the research topic. The interest in research can change drastically, and the image of the field that you had before joining can be very superficial. Thinking about it, it’s tough this year because we can’t get a sense of the atmosphere.