As I felt more comfortable in my role, I began to explore the boundaries of what I could do with the access granted to me by NYU. I explored museums, parks, and restaurants, and because New York is a place which seeps into every conversation, every action, thought, or idea, I started to think about research ideas that could be executed in New York and New York alone.
I continued to work with Philip on the moral decision-making study he was pursuing. My newfound curiosity and ambition allowed me to contribute imaginative ideas to the word lists and nonword lists we created together. Yet at times I felt I neglected my more tedious work in favor of exploring Brooklyn, or grabbing dinner in Chinatown. The freedom afforded to me by my mentors was a beautiful and terrible thing. I was able to design my own schedule, but I was also responsible for keeping track of my hours and my accomplishments.
I was slowly but surely learning how to handle this responsibility. I started attending lab meetings, weekly brown bag sessions with other RAs, and I set up meetings with my professors to discuss applying to their graduate program. I was getting in the swing of things.