Samantha is a senior psychology and sociology major from Watertown, WI. She is conducting research this summer in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Virginia as part of her involvement with the McNair Scholars Program. She is one of four Ripon College students sharing their stories of research internships and jobs over the course of this summer.
In everyone’s life there comes a time when they may feel a little lost. When they’re just not sure which way to turn. When every direction begins to look the same and it isn’t quite clear how to reach the end. I have been experiencing these rather unsettling feelings in the past few days while in Charlottesville, and in more ways than one.
On top of my duties as a research intern and participant in the program, I have begun to look into PhD and Masters programs at graduate schools. The McNair program encourages scholars to apply to a fair number of schools to increase the chance of getting in, so I have a lot of searching to do. I thought that it would be simple; find a school I like, make sure they have the program I like, and apply! But instead I’m finding that it’s very complicated, that each program has different research and different opportunities for funding. Some schools don’t even offer programs for students wanting to become practicing psychologists. I’ve looked through tons of universities’ websites and just don’t seem to be making much headway. Everything seems like a bit of a blur and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever find my way out of the maze that is finding and applying to graduate schools.
However, there is always that glimmer of hope that everything will turn out just right. Yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a short-cut home from the workshop I was attending on UVA campus. I walked down some stairs, through a parking lot… and then was hopelessly lost. I wandered through what I now know was the engineering complex for about twenty minutes without finding anything that looked familiar. And then I came across a little courtyard. There was no one around; it was completely silent except for the chirping of birds. This serene space of grass and trees was a beautiful surprise in the middle of a rather frustrating journey, and I found myself glad that I had gotten lost in the first place.
To read more updates from Ripon College students on summer internships, click here.