While you might work on a UROP for several terms, years, or just one semester, working with your mentors to plan ahead for your offboarding is key to a successful transition out of the lab and on to new projects, and can help ensure things are left on good footing.
Here are some tips to aid in a successful transition:
- Establish a clear project end-date with your mentors to make sure that all are on the same page about when you will no longer be available to work on the project. If there are pending patents, publications, etc. in which you will be involved – be sure to establish clear boundaries about your availability and/or willingness to continue contributing to these efforts. The lab should not expect you to continue after compensation options end and/or when you need to transition to other commitments – so be clear about your needs in this regard.
- Plan for knowledge transfer, especially if you have been in your UROP for a number of terms – be sure lab notebooks, code and/or other project documentation is left behind to aid colleagues in picking up where you left off. Some labs may have a new student work with you and your mentor for your final UROP term so that you can transfer knowledge in real-time to a newer member of the lab.
- Provide a status report on where things stand with the project – work you have been able to complete and any outstanding items that someone else will need to pick up once your term concludes.
- Discuss receipt of recommendation letters and the proper process for requesting letters should you require additional recommendations in future.
- Return any lab-owned equipment, files, code, other materials, and or keys, etc. that have been supplied to you for use during your time in the lab.
Should you encounter any issues with your transition or need advice on how to have an offboarding discussion or setting end of project boundaries, please remember UROP staff are here to help!