This course was my first experience in this type of strictly research-based project. Not only was the research topic nothing that I had experience in before, but I had no experience in composing the excepted derivable. In my field, there is always some lab-based work you need to conduct in order to get results. My resiliency project was nothing like that. I never had to write a literature review before! The topics I was researching were outside my field and my comfort zone; making it difficult to not only find sources and literature, but it took longer to evaluate if these sources were appropriate and relevant for my research. While this was challenging at points, I did help me gain a new set of skills in writing reports. This also was great experience in practicing evaluating literature and gave me insight to topics I would have not considered before.
I think the most influential experience I had during this process was developing a project from, essentially, the ground up. While the topics of this project was already decided on, how the research was to be conducted, what type of data needs to be collected and how these calculations are preformed was dependent on our team. In my other courses and projects, there was always a “right” answer to the project. There might be different methods to collect data or a different way to analysis the data, but there is always particular solution(s) that the professors are looking for. That is not how this project works. I decided what is “right” answer. I decided how extensive our research needed to be. I decided if my sources and data sets were reliable. I set the boundaries of this project; I was the “gatekeeper” of this research. For example, the team and I were able to pick which indicators we would be able/want to focus on for this semester. I have never been in a position like this before; there was times where I had to cut myself and my teammates off from doing additional research because we have limited time and needed to move on. Overall, this was a completely new experience for me! While this project was super challenging, I think it challenged my abilities and made me a better student/researcher.
If you read any of my other reflections, you’ll know that the BEST thing that I took away from this major is it taught me to be a more critical, a more self-aware, a more understanding thinker. This is type of skill that will only benefit me! In my personal life, this skill can help me make choices about where I live, what I buy and my overall impacts to the world and to society. This is also super helpful in my career as it will help influence my decision-making processes and solutions.
Sometimes this career and this subject matter can feel overwhelming. It can make you feel like you’re drowning in the inability of being able to do… anything. But I feel I have developed the tools to overcome and combat this. This field might be challenging, but I feel like its worth it. It is important enough and applicable enough for everyone’s career and future that it’s worth learning.