Thursday, August 11, 2011

So long and thanks for all the fish

So this is it. This is the end of our program, the annihlation of what has consumed our lives for eight weeks. These weeks were tough, some more than others, and more than one time the question arose in my head if this was worth it. Looking back now, reviewing all my experiences, I can answer that question with a yes.

First off, (when I say this it is in the same league as Oscar the Grouch's voice) what else would I have done with my summer? That's a no brainer though, sit at home, get a dungeon tan, and play video games. Is that neccesarily a bad thing? The lazy teenager in my head says no, but my brain tells me yes. Where else would I have gotten this kind of experience with college level work routines and the college students themselves? I'll give you a hint, the place begins with an n and ends in an e. Give up? The answer is nowhere. Anything I could've possibly did this summer pales in comparison to this project. For once in my life, I really feel as if I've taken the best possible course of action.

I know I'm gushing, but hey it's hard not to. The people here at Duquesne were just fantastic, through and through. My personal mentor, Scott Boesch, has the most patience I've ever seen. Personally, if I had to deal with a know-nothing highschool kid through the long hot summer months, I would've pulled my teeth out with pliers. Luckily for me though he's better than that. he coached me through learning about proteins, equilibrium, use of the Linux operating system, and just about everything else. He isn't the only one who helped though, my professor, Dr.Wheeler, helped me realize how to act in a proper manner. I mean I'm not Conan the Barbian or anything, but I was definitely lacking etiquette. He left it up to me to get my work done on my own, and even set up our group meetings. At first I though he was just being mean, but then I started to look past the actions themselves. What did I learn by him not holding my hand? To take responsibilty for myself, and that when I further my education I'm not always going to have a teacher available. Sometimes, I'm going to need to put my nose to the grindstone and do it myself. Right now I found that concept a little daunting, but hey I still have two years left of highschool, cut me some slack. Last but not least, there's my grad student Linh. When I say nice what do you think of? Kittens? Cookies? Unlimited lives on Pac Man? Well I think of Linh. She was one of the most kind and caring people I've met in my whole life. She supplied me with pictures for my paper and presentations, and her knowledge about cytochrome bc1 itself. Once I learned that my research was going to play a supporting role in hers ( which is a Phd project ) I was very meticulous with my work. Double checking everything as I went,making sure that my numbers were as accurate as possible. These are only some of the many amazing people I met here, and I wouldn't be have been successful in this program without any of those people.

On to my SEED overseer and the project manager. During the school year Mr.Lucas was definitely a different person. He was laid back, joking around, but he always pushed us to do our work. If I remember correctly, he's one of the main reasons I did this program. In the beginning of SEED though, I realized something: Duquesne was no place to mess around. This was a place where people take their learning seriously. I learned that almost immediately and I'm glad I did. It actually surprised me at first, realizing how much I would have to grow up to succeed. Mr. Lucas really helped me at the beginning and most likely set me on a path for success. I had one more influential person in my SEED experience and that was Dr. Aitken. She wasn't around as much as the others, but that was because she was on a sabbatical with RJ Lee group. They are a well renowned research company and I was impressed that she could transfer from an academic environment to an industrial one so well. I should've expected it though, the woman radiates adaptivity. That is why she was so helpful when we spoke, she could see both sides of the coin, and helped me realize that some things just can't be split up black and white.

I can honestly say that this experience was an eye opener. I didn' t think college was going to be easy by any means, but I definitely didn't think my work routine would have to be so disciplined. I'm really grateful that I got to partake in this program, if not for the people I met, then for the oppurtunity to expand my horizon. If all goes well I will do this again next year and have even more fun! Byebye everybody!

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