I am still in disbelief that this semester is coming to an end, along with my research project that I have been working on for the past 2 years now. With the support of the CURF Fellowship, I was able to successfully defend my Bachelor of Philosophy honors thesis to my committee members last week. And now, I will be graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a BPhil degree in less than one month.
Getting involved with research at Pitt was the best decision I made during my undergraduate career. I have had so many amazing opportunities that I did not realize were possible to achieve as an undergraduate student. For example, this semester I was able to (virtually) present my research at the international Society for Research in Child Development biennial conference, which was a great way to network and share my findings with other researchers in the field of child development.
My valuable research experiences have taught me so much and have inspired me to further my education and pursue a graduate degree in developmental psychology. It is rewarding to think back to 2018 when I first started working as a research assistant in the Kids’ Thinking Lab and see how much I have accomplished since then. I am proud of all the dedication and hard work that I put into my independent project, which was able to then evolve into a BPhil honors thesis. The 2 year-long process taught me resilience and patience. For instance, in the beginning I was tasked with creating a novel coding scheme, which needed to be revised multiple times. I realized that a research project is a work in progress and does not turn out perfectly on the first try. To figure out what worked, I needed to see what did not work. Some of the steps along the way were time-consuming, but also important and worth it, because I ended up with measures that were accurate and reliable.
I am so thankful that I was awarded the CURF Fellowship during my final semester here at Pitt. It was a great opportunity to connect with the other recipients and read about their individual projects. I think that these blog posts were a great way to connect while still being virtual. I have realized the many similarities and also significant differences of the research process in different disciplines, which has been really interesting to discover and learn about. I feel as though I have become better at communicating my own research to those who are not from a psychology background. Ultimately, I am ending this semester, and my undergraduate career, with a more open mind, better communication skills, and a broader appreciation of research!
So now what?
Graduating is bitter-sweet; however, I am super excited to start the next chapter of my life. I have decided to take a gap year to gain full-time clinical research experience before diving into graduate school. I am currently in the process of hunting for a position that is the right fit. After getting some full-time work experience, I hope to join a graduate program relevant to developmental psychology.