Versatile experiences and feelings of success – Summer job as a research trainee at VTT’s Nanodevices team

Blog post

Our summer trainees’ blog collects the experiences of our young employees of working at VTT. The first blog post is written by research trainee Tarusisko Hirvenoja in our Nanodevices team.

From feelings of doubt to joys of success

Doubting my own skills, studying theory, getting overwhelmed about new things, nervousness while doing things on my own for the first time, getting frustrated when nothing works and at the end being proud of first successful samples. All of these feelings have been featured during my first months in VTT. Especially at the beginning, the amount of new things was so huge that after getting home, I was so tired that I didn’t have energy to do anything other than lie on the sofa. But the feeling of seeing the pictures of the first successful samples was quite incredible. At that point I felt like going around and showing those pictures to everyone I saw. I, myself, designed those structures!

When I started my summer job as research trainee in micro- and nanotechnology center Micronova, the most prominent feeling was doubt about my skills. Are they expecting me to do all of those things, how can I ever learn everything? But with my instructor we were able to divide the project to sensible and concrete steps, which we started to execute one by one. And while time has passed, I’ve noticed that learning happens almost without noticing it, when just start working on things. I’ve always gotten help and instructions when I’ve needed them. It’s been nice to feel myself as an equal team member, even though my own knowledge and skills are not as good compared to other scientists who have done this job for years.

Learning new skills and experiencing exciting moments in cleanroom work

My work includes a lot of cleanroom work, and the most exciting moments have been times when I’ve gone in for the first time on my own to do some part of the process. Those same steps I have done several times with my instructor, but doing them for the first time without supervision is quite nerve-wracking. Big part of the experimental work is something going wrong. And quite often, that happens when you would like everything go as smooth as possible. It’s easy to plan to spend morning in the cleanroom working on certain process and then just have it done, but in practice those plans don’t always come through. Or process might work as it should in theory but the outcome doesn’t look as expected. Cleanroom work teaches patience because sometimes it can take weeks to move on the next step of the project.

The summer has passed extremely fast and seems to be turning towards the end just when I’m properly getting into things. Summer job at VTT has offered versatile experiences and many new friends. At the beginning I didn’t even know what to expect, but I’ve been getting more and more excited after all the thing I’ve been able to do. I’ve learned so many new things, even though there has been also uncomfortable and challenging situations. In addition to gaining new skills and knowledge, the idea of what I want to do in the future has become clearer. Overall, the summer has been great and rewarding experience!


The author is studying technical physics at LUT University. She works as a research trainee in the Nanodevices team at VTT.