I can’t believe it, but my last day at UCI has already come! I’ve had so much fun being a part of the research process in Dr. Kuhlman’s lab, and I have learned so much about an area of psychology I had never explored. In addition to the hard science, I’ve been exposed a lot more to the entire process one goes through to run participants. Even though I’ve had lab experience in Ann Arbor, I wasn’t really involved in the more administrative work before coming to UCI. Which is great — being immersed in the actual implication of procedure is very interesting, and I learned a lot from that. But during my internship this summer, I saw that 95% of the research process doesn’t actually involve interacting with participants and collecting data. A TON of time is put into writing up grants, figuring out logistics to operate the lab properly, brainstorming new ideas, and writing writing writing.
I can’t thank Dr. Kuhlman enough for showing me these parts of research. She’s been so honest and straightforward about what it takes to do what she does every day, which is what makes her such a great mentor. All the information she’s given me has greatly assisted in planning out the coming years. Going into this summer, I was planning on attending a clinical psychology graduate program in hopes of getting involved in forensic psychology. However, after my time in the Teen Resilience Lab, I’m starting to reconsider. I can’t see myself enjoying the endless hours of work that are needed in order to collect data. And to do that for 5 years seems like a very daunting task. So I’m looking into different avenues — potentially law school?– that somewhat incorporate my interests of psychology in the legal system.
Even though this summer had a lot of parts I didn’t necessarily love, it was nonetheless an invaluable experience. It’s really important to remember that it’s not only helpful to figure out what you like, but just as helpful to figure out what you don’t like. Without this hands-on, immersive experience, I wouldn’t have known exactly what I would be getting myself into in graduate school. Additionally, I met a lot of really great people who are passionate about what they do, which was equally motivating and inspiring. I’m determined to find a career in which I have the same excitement and passion about as my lab members did at UCI.
A HUGE thank you to Dr. Kuhlman for letting me help out in her lab this summer, as well as the LSA scholarship I received to make this endeavor that much more possible. I can’t wait to get back in Ann Arbor, wear some maize and blue, watch some football games, and start searching more into what the next few years hold. But until then, I’ll be repping the blue and gold of UCI.