This summer, I was lucky enough to be chosen for a summer research position with the chemistry department. Not only was the research itself great, but it was paid and included free housing. I learned so much about actively studying research in a chemistry field, as well about Geneva and the people around me.
One of the greatest parts of my experience was getting to explore Geneva in the summertime. This is something that we get a glimpse of in those few warm months at the beginning and end of the year but having all summer to be warm made it really easy to enjoy parts of our campus and the surrounding area. Spending the summer here doing research also meant that I didn’t have homework, so after work, I was able to explore or do whatever I wanted without being held down by work that I have to do during the school year.
The freedom that came with the heat and lack of homework allowed me to explore some pretty cool places this summer. I got to go on the docks and jump in the water without large crowds, and I especially enjoyed jumping into the cool water after a long workout. I also drove over to the Outlet Mall and was able to shop deals, drove to Spotted Duck and the Seneca Yacht Club, as well as tons of restaurants in Geneva that I had never been to before.
Another great experience I had doing summer research was having one-on-one experiences and building better relationships with a lot of faculty and staff. I got really close to my research advisor, of course, but I also found myself building stronger relationships with other professors and chemistry staff. Each professor only has a few students, so with only fifteen or so kids on campus, it is really easy to get to know each other well and build stronger relationships. Plus, the departments came together for “Donut Friday” once a week where you would get to eat donuts for breakfast and talk together. This was a great opportunity to get to talk to professors and really get to know them outside of the classroom.
Finally, I learned about the research process and was able to contribute my thoughts, time, and energy into it. In chemistry labs during the year, you are almost always just given a well-thought-out lab to do that has a specific end goal and that expects specific results. This was a completely different experience. My partner (Sophia Shaw) and I were starting from the ground up in some of our experiences. Sometimes, things wouldn’t go our way at all, and we would have to troubleshoot and start all over again the next day. I really learned that the true nature of research is that things do not always go the way they are planned, but the most important part is to get back out there and try again. It was, overall, a great opportunity, and if you are thinking about applying for research on campus, my one advice is to go for it! It will be an unforgettable experience!