TRIP has shown me that I shouldn’t be scared to try new things, and to commit myself to different programs, since no matter the outcome, it will be worth it in the end."
Even though I wasn’t the most talkative in the program, it didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it. The TRIP program was at first stressful, especially right when I began my independent project. For the first two weeks of working on my blue light project, I pretty much got nothing done. My vials fell or I didn’t have enough progeny to perform my assays, and I knew that if I messed it up the following week, I wouldn’t have gotten enough trials for my data. Luckily, I had enough flies the next week, and I was careful with my vials. As the weeks went on, it went more smoothly and felt more and more routine, like I had been doing it for a lifetime. However, I was still worried I didn’t have enough data or vials to create a cohesive story for my audience to hear.
When I looked back at all my data, averaged it, and graphed it, I felt very reassured I could make something with it. I found that during fly development, exposure to 12 hour cycles of blue light increased their anxiety, decreased their socialness, and drastically decreased the number of progeny produced. I wish I couldn’t tell you why this was the case, but clearly blue light was harming the fly’s mood and development. While I do feel a little bad for destroying the flies’ lives by blasting them with rays of blue light, I am really happy to have figured that I was destroying myself as well.
Working with PhD researchers was nothing like what I expected. They weren’t just bland stressed out adults working at a lab for an unhealthy amount of time. Instead, they were understanding, passionate, entertaining adults working at a lab for an unhealthy amount of time. I’ve said this before, but they really are the best mentors you could ask for. Even though I love science, I knew I probably wouldn’t fall in love with working at a research lab when I applied. The repetition and failure would have killed me if it wasn’t for Dr. Purdy and Dr. Leystra. However, I still loved going to the lab on Saturday mornings because it was a place where I felt like I could make mistakes, where I could talk to mentors that could provide more than what typical school teachers could.
Even though I won’t be a lab researcher going forward, this experience taught me how to work independently and adapt to adverse roadblocks. Many of my TRIP classmates have realized that this research road of science is for them, which is obviously an extremely valuable piece of information especially at such a young age. However, figuring out the parts of research I enjoy such as the questions and applications, while also realizing the parts of research I wouldn’t be able to do for a living, is arguably just as valuable. TRIP has shown me that I shouldn’t be scared to try new things, and to commit myself to different programs, since no matter the outcome, it will be worth it in the end.
I am really grateful for Dr. Leystra, Dr. Purdy, and my TRIP classmates for making this such an enjoyable and memorable experience, and I hope that we can stay in touch!