Fall 2014 reflection: What I find out about Research Rookies and my characteristics

Happy new year! Thank you for coming back to Wataru’s blog again! I hope you will have a wonderful year too.

Last semester was full of surprise and fantasy for me. I feel fortunate when I coincidentally meet Evan on the replacement test day, and get informed about Research Rookies. When I was listening to his explanation, I honestly did not understand how important it is to join the research program, to have a mentor, and to begin researching in the early time period. At the beginning, I was thinking to apply the program because I would like to research about my field. In addition, I did not understand what research actually is, I thought program might help me.

However, despite the fact that it is only half way through the program,  I can’t imagine how many time I was surprised about the quality of the program, and what they provided to me. Having a mentor is extremely helpful in terms of creating a connection, finding the appropriate resource, and coming up with creative ideas. Reading the article and organizing the data could not be done if I was not doing research. In fact, I learned how to use Excel more efficiently through my failure during the data organization.

What I also liked was a monthly meeting. The meetings not only provided the pizza, but also gave me a passion to aim higher and achieve better by connecting with highly motivated students and staff member. In addition, the atmosphere in the meeting is always appropriate for each situation. Before the meeting or discussion time, the atmosphere allow me to talk with the other people in the table easily. When speaker is presenting, it shifts to the serious mood and everybody actually listens, but does not forget the humor and laughter. Dr. Spears speech is always frighteningly effective and straightforward. I feel I need to study more, I can achieve more, and I should try more by simply  listening to her speech.

In contrast to me, who needs some more work, OSEEL members are always unbelievably hard worker. For example, reviewing over fifty proposal in a month with limited people, checking the Rookies’ blog every single time, even leaving a comment, and other paperwork and research to give us more opportunity that I can’t even imagine. I am very thankful that they provides me the information about other programs and internships. I could have missed opportunities if I was not in this program.  Research Rookies has the name “research” in it, but the program itself  provides the experience beyond the research and above the expectations.

Therefore, my most rewarding activity in the last semester was simply following Evan’s direction and joining the program. I really like to high five to the past Wataru when he applied to Research Rookies. On the other hand there were couple of difficulties during the research. Organizing the data consumes three hours easily. Writing the proposal was first time for me, which confused me. Simply reading the article was sometimes difficult due to its length and amount. But, I was able to overcome these difficulties because of many people’s help. So, the most challenging part  for me was to believe in myself. It is so easy to believe somebody for me, but not myself. “Is it true that I can do this?” “Am I working hard enough?” “ I don’t think I will be accepted” Every time when I try to do a new thing or challenging material, negative images appear. I usually forget those negative emotion just by going into the bed and wake up in the morning, but it never stop appearing.

But, by applying many programs, getting accepted to those programs, and listening Dr. Spear’s speech built my confidence. Yes, Dr. Spear’s speech is so helpful, especially the one in the last meeting during the previous research rookies student panel where she said that every student in Research Rookies “will” go to graduate school without paying. I can’t stop questioning why Dr. Spear is completely confident and believing that student will, or going to be successful. It was very shocking for me, who have pretty low self-estimation, but also gave me an urge to move forward. Not only Dr. Spear, but also many other people are believing me and helping me, which made me felt I want to achieve more in order to give back the tiny portion of help. Since I am an international student, I don’t know how to say thank you in fancy and sophisticated manner, so I chose to show it by an action and result. From now, my new year of Research Rookies will, begin.

Thank you for reading!

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