Over the course of the summer, I learned about how iterative the process of research is. Research is inherently creative in ways that I have had less experience with exploring. I scoured the internet for any information about my research problem and how others approached it. After exploring potential frameworks, I realized that I knew much less about the topic that I originally sought out to understand. It was time to schedule a meeting with my research mentor.
Learning from my mentor’s feedback allowed myself to reprioritize project objectives and pivot my skills to where they effectively aligned with the task at hand. In discussing methodologies and how to approach thinking about research, my appreciation for the creativeness of research began to grow. Research requires you to remove yourself from the worldview that you’ve learned through theory, experiences, and opportunities, and focus on the empirical root cause of a certain phenomenon. One aspect of that process is finding out what others have already noticed about this topic and understanding the key components of their studies. For example, you can commit a specific framework to a research problem, only to have the validity of separate frameworks to push you to question the most optimal approach. I learned that understanding others’ approaches only made it easier to shine light on new angles of the research problem.
As the Brackenridge fellowship comes to an end, the most valuable concept that I learned from the experience was the overarching idea of how creativity manifests itself. I’ve always heard of general sentiments about others’ work such as, “That’s not creative!” or “I’m not creative enough to do something like that.” After witnessing other students work on their projects, I recognized that creativity is not some rare ambiguous trait that only some possess. Creativity is fluid. There is no general structure or process for how creativity is expressed within the world. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to observe how each student’s creative energy fueled their research ideas. Witnessing talented students discuss multidisciplinary topics together was something I’ll never forget! Similar to pieces of a puzzle, each student focused their unique creativity to provide more clarity about our world. I am confident that each of these students have the mindset and abilities to make a beneficial impact on society, and I encourage them to continue to expand on their already impressive creative avenues—whether that’s in their research, work, or life in general.
As for my next steps, my main motivation is simply: