Sunday, July 1, 2012


“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” – C.S. Lewis

    Tuesday marks the halfway point for my REU experience in Ann Arbor, and one of the most important lessons I’ve been learning so far regards to living, working, and acting with integrity. Doing “the right thing” has something I’ve always firmly believed in, and is easy to implement in situations that are black and white. For example, it’s easy to wonder if you’re doing the right thing if you’re thinking about stealing a shirt from a department store. It’s wrong. Case closed.
    I’ve been learning a lot about integrity here at the University of Michigan in my job. As a researcher in the Pecoraro Lab, the guidelines and expectations for me aren’t clear-cut, there’s a lot of gray area. Unlike most jobs that have specific tasks or hours one must work in order to receive their paycheck, mine has no measures in place to ensure that I’m properly doing my job. I haven’t been specified a specific amount of time I’m supposed to be working each week, nor are the expectations of the work on my project high – we’re not expecting any long-term publications or breakthroughs to result directly from my work. This is mostly due to the nature of research (after all, 95% of the things you do will fail) and because of the very short time frame (I feel like I’m just starting to get well adjusted and familiarized to everything in the lab now, and my time here is now halfway gone).
    With these factors in place, it’d be really easy to blow off my job and just coast through the next five weeks. I could potentially try to rationalize based off the requirements and expectations that have been laid out for me. But I won’t.
    I’ve been so blessed to take part in this experience. I’ve been able to learn so much about myself and my career aspirations through this journey. On top of that, the University has provided us all with a generous stipend, housing, airfare, and cool activities (three weeks ago we went to Cedar Point, next week we’re going to the Henry Ford Museum). With all that’s been given to me, I owe it to the University, the National Science Foundation (who provides the funding), my Principal Investigator (Vince Pecoraro), and God to work and try my hardest while I’m here.
    A quote that has often provided motivation for me through my school work and running career is this: “Other people may not have high expectations for me, but I have high expectations for myself”. And so does God. God receives glory through us when we try our best and make the most out of our God-give talents and abilities, regardless of our circumstances.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:17

    Although the research I’m conducting now will not be the career path I pursue, I’ll continue to push on and try my best in spite of my like/dislike for this type of work. The finish line is in sight, and even though I won’t be held accountable for the amount of time and effort I put into my project, I’ll continue to give it my all. Through this experience I’ll keep growing into the man God wants me to be, a man of integrity.

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