My STEP Signature Project was a research project for my undergraduate thesis. I researched whether the executive function ability, inhibition, could be predictive of children’s interpretations of the quantifiers each and some. In order to do this, I went to a couple summer camps, received parental consents, and ran a 45-minute protocol consisting of several tasks that tested inhibition and a task that tested collective and distributive interpretations of sentences on children.
By completing this STEP Signature Project, I grew personally and professionally in multiple ways. I became more confident and more adaptable. Before this project, I was not comfortable with rapid changes to any plans I had. I liked to have every aspect planned out, as well as any obstacles that might get in my way. I learned that it is not possible to have every possible situation mapped out, and, sometimes, the only way to solve these kinds of problems is to be flexible and adapt to the current situation, in other words, “go with the flow.” I also became more confident in my ability to work in a professional setting without much management. I oversaw my own schedule, my own projects, and my own strategies on how to run the protocol. I had never been able to have this much independence on a project before, and it forced me to learn very quickly how to manage myself and my time.
One of the biggest events that happened during my STEP Signature Project was a continuing issue that arose with the Institutional Review Board in approving different aspects of my project. Because my subjects were people, all of the tasks and locations where research was collected had to be approved by the IRB. This process could take weeks at a time, which hindered our ability to collect data as quickly as we wanted to. This was the main reason I learned to be more adaptable as a result of this project. Because there were periods of time where I was not able to collect data when and where I wanted to, I had to adjust my schedule and strategies so that I was still doing something valuable with my time pertaining to my research project. Additionally, I had never had a lot of interaction with children before this and knowing how to adjust to their moods and whims was a learning curve for me. I often would have to take additional breaks during the protocol instead of running it all at once, or I would have to split the protocol into a few sessions over several days, which slowed down the data collection as well. This was something I could not plan for, so I had to accept each setback as it came.
These changes, being more adaptable and confident in a professional setting, will help me in any career, including the end of my undergraduate career. In any job and in life unexpected issues always arise because it is impossible to plan for everything. Also, being more confident in a professional setting will help me in my future career. I feel more comfortable managing myself and my time, as well as in my abilities to direct my own projects, which will be immensely helpful for me in the future.