As a returning Research Rookie, I have really enjoyed having the potential to be a resource to other researchers. The people in my small group may not come to me and ask questions often but I think having someone available is important. Last year, my small group leader made well known to me that I can call on him literally whenever. I try let my own group know this and I gleefully meet some of them outside of out small group meeting.
For my own research, I did not do much lab work the first semester but that has changed since I have gotten back. Now I am doing field sampling and lab testing. I have been allowed to test and sample independently and it has been quite wonderful. There has not been any exciting developments so far, but I will definitely keep updating the blog with al the information that comes!