My STEP signature project was in Brisbane, Australia where I completed research at the University of Queensland. For seven weeks, I stayed in South Bank and took a bus to The Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence (PACE or UQ School of Pharmacy) and completed a research project under my supervisor and graduate students.
By completing this project, I learned a lot about myself. I have never traveled abroad by myself before and it was scary because I didn’t know what to except. This was way out of my comfort zone because I tend to dislike change especially when the change is occurring, but I don’t know exactly what the ‘change’ will be until I am already there. So, I was able to learn that change is not always bad. I am more in touch with who I am. I think this is because I had to find my interests in a new city while meeting a lot of new people and making friends. It reminded me of my freshman year of college but on a bigger scale. The things I learned about myself during this project will definitely help me if I am relocated for graduate school or a job. It’s all about putting yourself out there.
The entire 7 weeks I was doing research at PACE, I was out of my comfort zone. Even the 20+ hours of travel to Brisbane, I was way out of my comfort zone. I was very nervous to go into a lab and complete a research project when I didn’t have any previous research experience and I had to learn all of the background on the project in about a week. However, during my seven-week adventure, I learned that it wasn’t that scary. Everyone is there to help you. You just cannot be afraid to ask for it. That is probably the biggest thing I learned during this research project. It also doesn’t hurt that I was asked back in the future if I’d like to do further research in the lab.
The first encounter I had with the other students in the program was when I first landed in Brisbane. With the more outgoing people, it was easier to have an idea of who they are and what they are interested in. I am always immediately drawn to the quieter people because that is more my personality and I like the mystery in figuring out who they are and what they’re into. I was able to form many new relationships with people who also go to OSU and with people who go to different colleges. I am hoping we all stay in touch and have a reunion because I will always remember them. This project was a very significant event in my life.
The reason I chose this specific program was to become more familiar with research. I have been considering graduate school since my sophomore year but have not had any research experience. This project allowed me to become fully immersed in a research environment to make sure it was something I wanted to go further into. With this project, came two lessons. The first lesson is that the type of research I completed was not something I would be interested in pursuing. Everything I was doing was on the nano scale and I prefer being able to see what I’m creating or changing with the naked eye. The second lesson I learned is that I like the research environment. It is very laid back but also busy at the same time and everyone in the lab is there to help. By completing this program, it has confirmed my decision in applying to graduate school.