Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mission to Michigan

    I’ve been in Ann Arbor for four days now and things are off to a very good start! The first few days have been a bit overwhelming in the lab. Besides getting caught up to speed on the project I’ll be working on this summer, I’ve had to go through basic and specific safety training, become acquainted with new (for me) software and instrumentation (Electrospray Mass-Spectrometry and 1H-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy) along with being in a totally new town. A lot thrown at me at once, but I really like it here so far! My lab group is awesome, I’ve got some cool roommates, and Ann Arbor is a great town! I feel so blessed to be able to study ground breaking inorganic chemistry for ten weeks.
    Besides enjoying a new town, taking in some new research, meeting new people, running new trails and hanging out with a cool new church, my decision to pursue this opportunity revolved around one central question that I hopefully will have a solid answer to in the upcoming months: To go to graduate school or to not go to graduate school, that is the question!
    The beautiful thing about conducting research at the University of Michigan is that it is essentially a ten-week preview of what grad school will be like. In my time here, I’ll be collaborating with current graduate students, post docs (those who received their Ph.D. in the last 1-3 years), and even a visiting professor from Italy! It usually takes about five years to earn a Ph.D., and after the first two years, it’s 100% research until you’ve made significant progress in your field and your adviser feels your ready to graduate.
    As of right now, I’m a bit on the fence on whether to pursue further education, but I’m definitely leaning towards it. I’ve been immersed in research since my freshman year at Drake, but it’s clear that those who thrive in graduate school are those who are passionately driven to discover the unknown. You don’t spend five years of your life putting 50-60 hours/week or more into your research if you just like it… you have to love it! It’s definitely a trans formative process, I have been praying that the Lord would reveal His will for my immediate post-Drake future through this experience. It’s going to be a summer of fun and soul searching, I’m ready for the challenge!

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