I can’t believe my summer at Shepherd Center is coming to an end. It feels like I just got here and now it is time to head back to school. I came to Atlanta hoping to find out if research was really my passion or if I just thought I wanted to pursue it. I am so glad that Dr. Seel was willing to take me under his wing and give me a taste of what the research field is really like. He was honest and straightforward. I was told research isn’t easy and that I would have to really apply myself in order to be successful. I watched, I listened and I learned. Great news for me….I really really like research! I am a methodical thinker who tends to be a perfectionist and that may come as a surprise to some because my personality is more go with the flow. But in my work, I am a check it once, check it twice and make sure it is right, kinda gal. Especially, if I know that others are counting on me. I have read more studies and analyzed more data than I would have ever imagined in one summer. There were days when I thought my brain was going to explode. This was the sort of work that required a quiet environment and it was at times quite solitary. I have learned the difference between good studies and bad studies as well as the back stories behind the way journal articles are written and how the studies are conducted. Dr. Seel has taught me the importance of making sure that all of your data from all of your participants is accounted for as well as how to move forward even when things don’t seem to be going the way they were planned. I learned how to tabulate every journal article, how to do a literature search and how to review those articles. My writing skills were also put to a test. I was asked to write journal reviews that will be used in our published article. These reviews were originally intended for just the introduction of our journal article but as Dr. Seel read my reviews he realized that they could be used in the discussion section as well. Being a student in classes where we read these articles all the time, I was overjoyed to think that someday a student somewhere might just be reading the words I have written. I hope that someday I will be able to mentor a student as he has mentored me.
I am a senior in college….how did this happen??? I feel like I blinked and here I am 21 years old and thinking about going into the real world. Scary, scary, scary!!! I have plans….I want to go to graduate school and study the autobiographical memory recall in Alzheimer’s and stroke patients using music. Someday I hope to publish the results of research that I have done that will have major impact on people and the way they live. I know this is a grand expectation of mine and I also know it will require much work, diligence, thought and enthusiasm. I believe I am ready for the task ahead! I want to explore new places, meet interesting people and discover the unknown. Dickinson College, Shepherd Center and beyond…..look out world here I come!!!! AMANDA BOULWARE: BRAIN ENTHUSIAST, KNOWLEDGE SEEKER, FUTURE SUCCESSFUL RESEARCHER!