The program that changed me to a different person


It is a last week for McKearn Fellows Program summer. There were many obstacles and difficulties that made me struggle during this summer. Before going into the challenging experiences, I would like to thank many people. Dr. Lisa Freeman, thank you for providing the powerpoint workshop and giving the clear advice for the presentation. In addition, thank you for coordinating the McKearn Fellows program and supporting us. Dr. Anne Birberick, thank you for letting us have an opportunity to discuss about the interesting story, French Fairy tale during this summer. Moreover, thank you for organizing the McKearn Fellows program and providing various opportunities and events during the week. Dr. J.D. Bowers, thank you for assisting the McKearn Fellows as a program coordinator. I will never forget your humor, the 7am meeting, and the smile.

Mr. Jason Goode, thank you for your hard work during this summer. Despite the change in McKearn Team and busy schedule, your work was always perfect and helpful for me. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to organize the McKearn Fellows program, but your high quality performance led us to the end without any major issues. Ms. Stephanie Zobac, thank you for providing humorous and cheerful environment during the 7 am meeting. When you say the word, it becomes funny, and when you say the sentence, it becomes hilarious. You always made the environment positive and welcoming. Ms. Brittany Warner, thank you for taking your time and helping McKearn Fellows during this summer. Despite the busy schedule you have, you have never complained about the tight schedule. Your help was always amazing and impressive: conducting weekly meeting, sending email reminder, correcting poster, and revising final report.

And, I would like to say a special thank you to Mr. and Mrs. McKearn for providing the various opportunities, funding the program, and allowing us to have a chance to become better person. I will not be able to have such a immeasurable experience at Northern Illinois University. Since I am an international student without an permanent residency or U.S. citizenship, it is difficult to join the program outside of NIU. Therefore, McKearn Fellows program was the one of the only program I could apply, and the only program that gives me such a high quality experience. Without your generous idea and support.

Through the McKearn Fellows summer research, I learned a various skills and knowledge. I learned how to communicate with people not only in the public area, but also in the private place. It was always difficult for me to join the conversation among other native speakers, but because of other cohorts patients and kind attitudes, I was able to learn how to be myself without any hesitation or consideration.

The organization and time management skill is the also a huge factor. Since the research is based on the flexible time, it was difficult to stay focused. However, there are many useful apps, such as google calendar, and reminder, which keep me organized and on-task. In addition, the fact that every other nine cohorts are in the same situation, or even more difficult, gave me motivation and enthusiasm to complete the project.

The networking skill is a precious skill I learned during the St. Louis trip. First, I need to say “hello!” with clear and appropriate volume. Then, ask question, let the person talk to me, and the conversation will go on. It sounds simple, and it is simple, but I was not able to do the simple conversation. I was afraid about if I am saying the sentence correctly, if I am making the conversation interesting enough, or if I am simply speaking in an appropriate manner. Despite the concerns, since the Alumni people in the St. Louis were friendly and generous, I was able to form fun and interesting conversation, and became confident about my speaking skills.

The most surprising and useful knowledge I gained was the other cohorts’ characters. I already knew that they were smart, talented and kind people, but this summer experience helped me learn more about them, and improve my behavior and character. Playing board game and discussing the interesting facts about language with Tripp Weiner helped me to breakthrough my shell to talk louder and speak comfortably, and taught me we had a similar favorite games and interest.  Joining various activities, such as Chinese game night and Zombie apocalypse with Jessica Cox was fun and enjoyable, and also taught me that we enjoy fun events, and make it even more fun by doing it seriously. Discussing three different countries: Indonesia, Japan and America with Andrew Waite not only gave me the prospective and history of other countries, but also create the connection between us and helped me changing the sentence in my mind from “I am inferior” to “I am different.” Living as a roommate of Jake Swick, I found out that he was extremely polite and careful about sharing the bathroom and bath sink, such as asking “Is it okay to put shampoo right here?” which always makes me feel comfortable because of the politeness. Talking about the various problems that both Japan and U.S.A. with Katie Denius provided the information that she is more friendly than I thought, and knowledgeful than I realized. Listening at the schedule and the project, I found out that Maggie Miller’s project is difficult and she is extremely busy. However, I also found out that despite the amount of project, she has a talent and hard working mind to complete the project at the end. By providing me food and reminding us what to do, it was not so long for Christine Wang to have a mom position in the cluster. Her caring attitude toward others and humorous and cheerful behaviour help the cluster to have positive mind and environment. Joking around with Jack Sauter helped me learn that he is an extremely nice guy, and has great communication skill. When I say joke to him, he reply with the sentence that is funny, easy to understand and caring at the same time. My nickname for him is “communication master” due to the fact that he say “hi” to anybody with smile and shake hands. Playing badminton, table tennis and tennis with Jayson Shiau made me realize that he was not only an intelligent person, but also an athletic man. It was always a stress reliever to play sports after the research, and made the motivation to enjoy more research on the next day. These nine other cohorts were scary at the first time for me due to their talent and knowledge, but turned out to be an amazing group of people.

After the summer, I became a new person. I can join the conversation immediately, ask question more often and enjoying life much more. I am not the person who stay on the chair and simply listen the conversation for the whole time. I am not the guy who think he understand everything but he do not. I am not the boy who is in the small world and only accepting the event happening in his world. It was not my skill that I gained by myself, but it is other intelligent and talented people’s skill I met during the summer, which helped me to destroy the old skill and reformulate the new character. I cannot say how much gratitude to every body who helped me, but I would like to say it one more time. Thank you, for supporting my life and helping me to become successful.

Thank you for reading!

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