Thankfulness: Weeks Nine and Ten

There are days when I don’t feel like doing what I’m doing. This actually applies to most things. For example, there are countless days I don’t want to roll out of bed and go to class. Dishes, laundry, and cleaning can also get tiresome and cumbersome.

These last two weeks there has been a LOT of computer time for me as there is a lot of DNA analysis to be done (So. Many. Base pairs). After feeling worn out I had to ask, “Why am I doing research?”

And, after taking a break, a realization occurred. A thought came. “You know what? There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing and if it came down to it, I would not have picked any other major than biology if I had to go to college again.”

Let me explain. During my junior year of high school, I thought of professions and majors. Some thoughts were: pharmacologist or pharmacist, majoring in English, being a translator, being a librarian and majoring in marine biology.

Long story short, after my first year of college taking general chemistry courses, I realize I wasn’t skilled enough in chemistry to go into the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, I came to the conclusion that I would not write again if I majored in English. As far as being a translator goes, being able to speak multiple languages is an amazing skill. However, somehow that never stuck. In the end, my final conclusion was even if I majored in biology and had a difficult time, post graduation, in some form or fashion, I’d return to biology without any negative feelings. Plus, in high school a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) was also appealing. Why not combine biology, books, and information?

Along the same idea, this past week, some graduate school students (UPS Alums) came to speak at the weekly summer research meeting. Overall, they talked about what they wished they had done and what their programs were like. They talked about the importance of reading literature and taking an immunology course, but most of all, the importance of getting along with the people surrounding you. In addition, they also talked about the difficulties of graduate school research. Examples include the possibility of not getting along with the people around you, the length of the program, working long hours, and a receiving a small stipend.

Even though there was a lot of information to take in and process, the overall theme I took away was the same conclusion that I came to this week. They would not have picked anything else to do. All were thankful for the opportunity to do research.

As my summer research (for me) is coming to a close, I’m beginning to reflect on the summer as a whole. I’m starting to think about what to put on my poster and talk about during my presentation. There’s still a lot of DNA analysis to go and a ton of work to do, but these two weeks have really showed me the importance of appreciating and being thankful for the chance to do summer research.

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