So I'm sitting on a happy GPA and an acceptance letter to transfer to a nice school for the rest of my undergrad, my dreams of a PhD looking bright, and this terror just grips me like a swimsuit out of water. I've never actually talked to a professor about how research works. I've read a lot about it-especially the million threads on here-but I've never asked someone about it. Here's my impression of how it works. Let's assume I get into an REU or a professor says, "Hey, you're a smart lady. Let me show you my lab." My dreams are realized and I'm in the grit of real research. I take just the right amount of time to absorb everything I can about what's going on in this project. After that point, I either get involved in collecting the data by helping perform the experiments, or I look at the data and try to extrapolate some meaning from it myself. I know the latter will probably be the responsibility of the grad students, but hey a girl can hope. I then make some sort of contribution to the write up of the results, and god-willing I get named as an author. Ok, so that's if everything goes well if I'm not horribly mistaken in something. But I don't know how anything in that ideal scenario changes as things evolve. I don't even know how to make all that stuff go in my favor. How do I make a contribution enough to get authored. Does it matter what I research at all, or should I pick something and stick with it. Do I bring brownies to the lab to make people like me? I just don't know. I know there's a lot of uncertainty in this post, but it'd be cool of someone to just put all of it at ease and make me feel like I'm on top of the world again. Or you could just be significantly less cool and point out that there's no answer to my questions. Which is less cool by about five orders of magnitude. Just sayin'. Regardless, thanks for any support. I normally read old posts for stuff like this but I can't find any details on these questions in the first several popups of the title tab suggestions. You guys are awesome.