The past three months have been some of the most rewarding months of my college experience. I learned more about myself as a student and researcher than I anticipated. So while, I am extremely proud of the work we all completed this summer, I am even more proud of the people we became while doing so. It doesn’t seem like you can change over the course of a summer, but even in that short time, I have thought about my future and the person I want to be more than I ever have before. On a basic level, I learned a lot about the health care system in our country and how it affects my population of interest as well as how patients with hearing loss feel about their treatment experiences; but on a personal level, I learned that I want to keep conducting research that directly interacts with people, and I want to turn this research into action, to make change for the patients I interview, and to give them better experiences when it comes to treatment processes. The Brackenridge Fellowship was an enriching and inspiring experience. I feel so thankful towards Dr. Say and my peers for opening my eyes to endless possibilities; I am so excited to see what comes next.
Sometimes, research hertz!
Now let’s dive into my research. This summer has been a series of unanticipated uphill battles, who knew research could be so difficult! One of the main goals of my research project was to interview young patients with hearing loss to learn more about patient preferences and the treatment process. In May, I thought this seemed completely plausible, if not easy. I soon found out that is not the case. After roughly two months, I finally gained IRB approval for my interviews and was able to start recruitment at the end of July. While this was not what I expected, it was definitely a lesson in learning how to conduct future projects in a timely manner. It’s now a few weeks later, however, and I am already learning so much from my interviewees! I have found it so fascinating to hear from patients and know that this form of research is something that I don’t want to give up any time soon.
Brackenridge has also allowed me to see the endless opportunities that are given through research. Our work can connect us all, no matter your field of interest. It can open doors to other parts of the globes, to different cultures and people so that we may better understand the world in which we live.
It’s hard to say at this point where I am going to end up. As I finish my nursing degree with a certificate in global health, I hope to keep diving into the world of research on a global level. The Brackenridge Fellowship has taught me that research happens slowly, though, so good thing I have my whole career ahead of me to get started on that goal! Eventually, I hope to return to school and become a nurse practitioner or even a professor to help inspire students like me to dream big and take a chance because “the world can only change from within” (-Eckhart Tolle). I think it’s important to realize that we all have the power to drive that change.