For my signature project, I was a research volunteer in the Wilgus lab at the Wexner Medical Center. I continued to work on my research project looking at the effects of the VEGFR-1 pathway on keratinocyte function.
Throughout the course of my signature project, I really got a glimpse of what my life after graduation will be like. For the first time, I experienced a small amount of what employment might be like post college. I had personal responsibilities that required the ability to work on my own and complete projects on time. In addition, my project required me to collaborate with others in my lab. Without this collaboration with others, progress on our research would not advance. This project taught me valuable lessons on working in a professional environment.
In addition to the demands of my lab, this signature project taught me important lessons on living on my own. For the first time, I needed to satisfy all of my needs in order to be productive at my work. This included the basic tasks I have done for years like laundry. Additionally, I needed to provide food for almost every meal I ate. Without the convenience of the dining halls, this proved to be challenging sometimes. I had to budget and plan my grocery shopping well in advance. I learned quickly how important some advanced planning was to ensure everything went smoothly.
One major source of this transformation was my interaction with the staff in my lab. Many of the techniques and procedures I needed to complete in the lab were things I have never done before. It took me quite a long time to learn some of the more difficult procedures. I still struggle to get accurate results with some techniques today. Thankfully, my PI, Dr. Traci Wilgus, taught me the best ways to complete many of these techniques and remained patient the whole time.
In addition to the training my PI gave me, I also received plenty of assistance from an older student in my lab. He was always willing to help whenever I needed it. Early on, I would often ask him for aid with procedures I was unsure with. Whether it be teaching me some helpful tricks to more easily accomplish a task or reading a result for me, this student proved to be an invaluable resource. Working with the other members of my lab taught me many important lessons that will stay with me the rest of my life.
One of the biggest challenges of this project proved to be living on my own. Providing myself with food ended up being more challenging than I thought. I was living on a tight food budget that left very little money for eating out. In addition, I did not have a car and getting to the grocery store was sometimes difficult. After eating nothing but pasta for three days in a row, I quickly learned the value in making a grocery list and planning out the food I intended to eat in advance. This lesson can also be applied to many other aspects of my life. Following this experience, I now feel adequately prepared to live on my own post-graduation.
This signature project was significant for my life because of my future career plans in the medical field. It gave me my first research experience. As I move onto medical school, these experiences will give me insight on the process new treatments follow to get developed. In addition, this project taught me the valuable skill of reading scientific papers. I now feel more confident in gathering and evaluating the important information found in journal articles. This project will assist me with my future career plans every step of the way.