One of the biggest changes of being a junior that I've had to adjust to is that everything seems like a bigger deal. For example: I only have two years left, so I better take the best, most interesting classes, right? We're in the "hardcore" division for broomball now, we better play harder, right? I only have one more year to eat at a dining hall-- better eat the soft serve ice cream EVERY NIGHT!! Right?
There are two of these "big deals" right now that make me feel like an honest to goodness, not-in-college-anymore adult. And they are:
1. The research project I'm working on with one of the psychology professors. And,
2. Summer Internships
1. The research project is pretty awesome. It's looking at people's abilities to recognize their own faces versus other people's faces, depending on how the faces are manipulated. Being a research assistant, I've basically been involved in the process since its very beginning. The professor, let's call him Prof. X, had students apply for the position last spring, and once we were chosen, he met with us about the ideas for the design and process of his experiment. He even asked us for our input, which was sightly terrifying but made me feel overwhelmingly important. Since then, we've been meeting with Prof. X and his technical team, gathering participants for the study and collecting data. I and the other assistant are fairly autonomous, we get to make a lot of decisions about the details of how the experiment will be run, and do all the data collection on our own. I feel like since I'm still working on a college campus it's somehow not a real job, that I'm doing fake work or something. I have to keep reminding myself that this is Prof. X's REAL research, that he's going to publish a paper and try to get it into psychology journals, and I'm doing real work. It makes me feel strangely grown up.
2. Since I'm already doing research during the year, I decided I wanted to do something a little different this summer. A lot of students are applying to research positions and internships at research universities (apparently the summer after junior year is the prime time for resume-building jobs), but I wanted to branch out a little bit and try something new. The search for the perfect, creative, psychologically-related summer job proved a little overwhelming on my own, so I turned to the Career Center. The Career Center is amazing, and tries to make the job-hunting process as un-intimidating as possible. They even give you cheese and soda when you come in for help, how awesome is that. So after going into the office and talking to some student advisors and spending a couple hours browsing their websites that handily sort internships and jobs by subject area, location, and experience level, I found some great opportunities. My favorite is an internship at a counseling center for children in the city, where I would actually get to sit in on case management meetings!! So I applied, which the Career Center helped me out with (they have great resume writing workshops) and got an interview! The Career Center hooked me up with some good interview skills (questions to ask, strengths to highlight, etc) and even asked me if I wanted to do a practice interview with one of the staff members (which I sadly couldn't do because I didn't have time). SO now I have my fingers crossed that this place will call me back and I will have a supercool internship over the summer! Moral of story: The Career Center is very helpful, not scary, and has good cheese. Plus two life points.
I should mention quickly that not everyone does an internship or research over the summers. It's definitely good experience, but not a requirement or anything. One of my roommates is going back home to the west coast to teach little kids how to windsurf, and another is going to Wisconsin to work at a Christmas tree farm, like she has for the past couple of years! If that doesn't sound like a fun summer, I don't know what does.
So, summary: I feel like a grown up, doing research and applying for jobs. It's a little weird. I'm also sorry there's no pictures for this post, but I felt it would be a little inappropriate, creepy and definitely not adult-like to take pictures during my interview. Just sayin.
Have a good week!