I worked about 10-15 hours a week at the Cognitive Development Lab in the Psychology department during the summer. I did a variety of activities including running research experiments, attending lab meetings, reading journal articles, learning MatLab, and discussing research with a graduate student. The main activity that I really focused a lot f my time was reading research articles and discussing them with my research mentor as I was considering writing a thesis in this research area.
I enjoyed my STEP experience and while I ended up deciding not to pursue a thesis in this area, the STEP experience allowed me to figure this out in a timely and effective manner. I enjoyed my STEP experience and met some wonderful people through it and learned that I was more capable of critically reading and assessing research articles than I had previously believed.
Before entering college, I never expected to work in a research lab or that quantitative measures would be interest me at all. By dedicating a considerable time this summer to learning about a lab, I really gained a better understanding of research and what goes into research. I also surprised myself because I found it a lot more interesting than I had previously thought!
While I decided not to keep on working in the lab because I wanted to pursue other interests, the ability to work in the lab made me realize this earlier on in my college career. I learned a great deal of what goes into research and have a greater appreciation and understanding of research.
My experience in STEP has helped me move forward in all areas of life. I really wanted the opportunity to research because I was not sure if I wanted to go into a career with research. This opportunity allowed me to see many aspects of research, and while I decided not to continue, I also realized that if I found a topic that interested me a lot- I would able be to and want to pursue research in it. This has helped me narrow my academic focus and helps confirm that counseling, instead of research, may be the best route for me.
I was helped personally by my STEP experience because I challenged myself to read and discuss articles, which I used to be intimidated by. I gained more insight into my capabilities and confirmed that if I put enough effort into something, I can exceed my expectations.
My life goals have become more narrowed since my STEP experience. I learned the importance of trying something out short-term before completely dedicating my whole life to it. I am now pursuing ways in which spirituality and psychology intertwine because I have some experience with research and now have a better sense of how I want to pursue it in my future.