We did it! I can’t believe it’s over! Okay, prepare for a long and emotional ramble ahead about everything this program has taught me and the experience I had. I have quite a lot to say, and all of it is positive!
When I went into this program, I had no idea what to expect. The idea of conducting research in a lab seemed intimidating to me because up until this point, every experiment I’ve done on my own was more straightforward (growing plants, psychological studies, etc). At the interview, there was a group of alumni who shared their projects from previous years. They were listing things like head trauma and proteins, and honestly, I was really confused on how they did that. So for someone who had no clue how this work, everything coming out of their mouths seemed really intimidating.
Alright, flash forward to day one. The only thing consoling me is that this is an introductory day where we’re just getting to know each other and the lab equipment. Simple enough. I was still scared for what future days held ahead.
I was remarkably surprised at how easy everything turned out to be (not easy if you tried to learn it on your own, but easy because the instructors were so incredible at guiding the students along). If it weren’t for the clear directions and helpful tips and support of the mentors, I think I would’ve been in tears by day three, trying to figure things out.
Even as the program continued, I was still confused on how things could work. The head trauma one alumni mentioned at the interview intrigued me, and I realized it’s a lot simpler than it sounds (just a matter of slamming down a metal bar attached to a vial). Glucose assay? How are you supposed to test glucose on a fly? Well, no worries, there is a packet with step by step details of everything I needed to do, and a mentor on hand to answer questions as I went. Anxiety? How on earth am I supposed to test anxiety in flies? No sweat; I just have to see whether the flies avoid each other in a glass chamber.
Everything I ever wanted to try unfolded before my eyes. There was more homework than expected, but it taught me how to answer any question I had about a fly or making solutions. And when the whole class was confused, struggling to wrap their brains around the math of making stock concentrations, Dr. Purdy was right there at the board, showing us examples.
It’s extraordinary when I look back to see how far I’ve come since being a nervous wreck on day one. I’ve learned a lot about how science really is, and I learned that in order to grow, it takes failure. It’s impossible to avoid failure in a lab-setting, and I think we’ve all had to learn that lesson one way or another. But that’s what led us to improve.
I also designed this website? Which is crazy! I’ve become a part of TRIP’s inner workings now, and I’m so honored to be able to help expand and develop the program’s reach.
TRIP has been weeks of growth, both in terms of academics/science and in terms of character. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer. So thank you. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, and thank you to everyone who will continue to.
Author: Sasha Temerte