In retrospect | #5

Initially, I was very hesitant in deciding to take an unpaid internship. I’ve waited tables, mowed lawns, and cleaned boats and cars for the last 5 summers, and I didn’t know if the financial loss of not working would ultimately be worth it. Now that I can look back on it, I can’t imagine a better opportunity. It was invaluable in both my academic and career development, as well as social development, and I am unbelievably grateful that it all fell into place.
Academically, it solidified my interest in cognitive science, and career-wise, it made me certain in my aspirations to be a professor. Within this career trajectory, I plan on taking at least a year in between undergraduate and graduate school to further my research skills and/or to be a lab manager. Being able to work in Cambridge exposed me to a new academic environment, and I now know that that is something I hope to be able to do again. I want to be well educated in my graduate school decisions, and have context for schools around the country. This experience also brought to my knowledge that after graduate school, I may never get to choose where I live. This new understanding of the academic job market has definitely added a necessary piece of consideration for my future schools. Socially, it was my first time being entirely on my own. At The University of Michigan, I’ve always been surrounded by friends, and within a few hours of driving from family. In Cambridge, I was not afforded that luxury, and I was forced to adapt and rely solely on myself. I learned a lot about myself, and I grew a lot as a person. Lastly, it also introduced me to many brilliant minds. I have made many new connections that I hope to maintain, both professionally and socially, which has made smaller the academic field I hope to be a part of, because these individuals may end up being my colleagues.
As I approach my senior year, I do not think that this internship could have come at a better time. I will be making very important decisions in the next few years, and I now feel as though I have the necessary information to effectively and efficiently transition from undergraduate school to the job market and graduate school.

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