Doing mostly analytical chemistry, it was tough when there were hundreds of samples to deal with and it was common to see staff staying overtime to complete as much as possible; this showed that the staff really cared about the turnaround time and were responsible. It was the team members that initiated group events that pulled everyone together, creating an atmosphere that was warm and welcoming, causing everyone to know exactly what to do if someone was sick or off duty that day.
It's a fast paced environment and so time management was very important, but the better you are at work, the more gets thrown onto your shoulders and it's one thing that most people hated.The supervisor was not helpful but most of the coworkers were patient and spent lots of time and effort to prepare new/junior staff for the massive amount of work that came in the summer.
The manager was not really there to give support to my department, and the supervisor only pushed staff members to work harder to complete more samples on time and would accept a whole bunch of samples from other locations even though we were already short staff. As a student, it was as if we've been working there for a long time, we're expected to perform efficient and the quality must be good throughout, but support was never given!
The coworkers were awesome! We would hang out outside of work hours and hold birthday parties for each other! It's like a big family here, other than not getting support from upper management.
Be prepared for the fast pace, so get lots of sleep; there are times where senior staff can only explain things once so if you don't understand or missed something, make sure to ask! Be prepared to handle two-three stations on your own if you work weekends because there are less staff scheduled to work weekends and Saturdays are the worst!
Other than that, if you show that you are willing to learn, every analyst/assistant is willing to help in any way they possibly can, so don't be shy!!!