Learn, Enjoy and Laugh:Experiences with my mentor, research and my mentee

Hello everyone!

 

I think you are feeling little overwhelmed with what I am doing at Research Rookies, and what my research topic is. Therefore, let’s get into the different perspective for my today’s blog: my mentor, my summer, and about me as a Research Rookies Peer leader.

 

If I would choose a word to describe my mentor, he is simply amazing. It is so vague, but I cannot use too specific word to limit how amazing he is. Starting from rapid email response speed, passion about the subject, availability for the question and concerns, humor to make the conversation smooth and natural, generosity to write more than 10 reference letters for the programs that I applied, and strong energy and enthusiasm to help students. I am extremely delightful to have him as my mentor, because without his support, I would not be able to continue my research when I face obstacles. His positive attitude and caring support always helped me to move forward and keep going. That is why even when we found out an potential error in our data, I can redo my steps and keep track on my research without any huge issues. Therefore, my research is going well, almost because of my mentor.

 

For the summer, I am still waiting for many responses. It is possible to have summer research in different institution, but it is up to my mentor’s communication with other professors, so I am trying to find other options by myself too. Also, I applied for an internship, so it also depends on that result. I am hoping to attend AAPT conference during the summer and get to know many Physics Teacher or Physics Education Researchers! Either way, it would be a summer with full of learning and opportunities. Moreover, I hope I can review my physics classes that I learned during the semester to solidify my knowledge about basic physics before I enter the higher level physics.

 

And now, it is about me. I am still in a huge surprise about the fact that I am already approaching the end of sophomore. My mentor was saying that it feels like yesterday when he met me first on the orientation day. And I enjoy the nostalgic feeling of the honors retreat event during my freshman year, when I was astonished with the amount of program and organizations that upper class honors student were participating while enjoying social life and maintaining academic performance. It is ironic that now I am almost reaching that “highly involved” “When do you sleep?” or “How many Wataru are at NIU?” level of involvement. Based on what I know, I do not have many strength, but if I would choose one, it would be an organizational skill. Somehow, I managed to join 6 different programs at NIU, four of them with leadership position, while maintaining high GPA, socializing, research and at least 7 hours of sleep each day without skipping a meal. To be honest, I sometimes forget that I am in this much programs, and when I sat down and think about it, I simply doubt I have done this much work. What I enjoy about my life is that there will be always something or somebody who will bring me back to normal when I become over-confident. My weakness is that I sometime enter the state of “Wait, may be I am actually pretty decent student?” and then immediately struck down by denial letter or somebody who is high more achieving amazing goals than me, and I go back to the original state of “I need to work harder.”

 

As a peer mentor, I cannot believe how much I gained from my mentees since I started interacting with them. To be honest, I thought mentor mentee relationship is one way, where I give them something. But in real life, it was completely opposite, and I am so grateful to have my mentees. They always makes me challenge more and enjoy the life. As a mentee, I would like to improve my language skill this semester. I did not have strong motivation to improve or revise my English skill these years since I always ask for help to the writing center and check my grammar. However, I realized the need for improving when I need to revise something for somebody else. Also, my mentor always have witful conversation and it is little shameful for me when I cannot reply with thoughtful sentences. Therefore, I started watching some show and reading grammar book. Hopefully, one day I can have better English skill!

 

Thank you for reading!

 

Wataru

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