Why I Am Grateful for the Worst Summer of My Life

            I bet at first look of this title, you might all think I am crazy but hear me out. This summer may have been one of the worst times in my life so far. However, looking back I am immensely grateful for the lessons I learned and how I grew as a person.

            This past summer I received an amazing opportunity to work in a neuroscience laboratory and conduct my own research project studying neurons and their role in depression. The best part- I was getting paid. On paper, it sounded like a dream, so you can imagine my surprise when on the first week of the job all I was saying was, “this sucks.”

             The lab was nothing like I expected it to be. The work consisted of monotonous pipetting, mixing solutions, looking at cells and reading scholarly articles. At first, every procedure was interesting, but with research you must repeat the protocols over and over again. I was bored and I was lonely. Everyone in the lab was so immersed in their work that no one ever talked to one another. I went everyday 9-5 with barely any social contact. It was excruciating.

            Another reason why I was so lonely was I had to live by myself in Durham for the summer. My hometown was three hours away, none of my friends from college were on campus and I lived in an apartment off campus instead of the dorms. My days consisted of working 9-5, going to the gym, cooking dinner, and watching Netflix. I have never been so lonely. However, when I finally told my mom how I was feeling, she opened my eyes to a very important life lesson.

            She explained to me that in the future, I am not going to live with my family nor live with thousands of people my age on a campus. At one point, I am going to live by myself, go to work, come home and repeat. It’s the life of a young adult and I was getting a sneak peek. Instead of drowning in my sorrows, I started to use my summer as a time to grow as an individual.

            I learned crucial life lessons such as grocery shopping for myself, learning how to cook, staying fit and maintaining a real job. Although I did not enjoy my research job, it made me realize what I want to do for my future career. I realized I need to work in patient care because it is the perfect mix of the sciences and having everyday social interactions. The point of trying new things is to see what your interests are and this job paved the way to my future.

            My advice to everyone is to reflect on the bad times just as much as the good. There are always bright sides to any experience and I believe everything happens for a reason. In the moment, it may seem like the bad times will never end but they will. And with the bad times, you will become a stronger person and learn crucial life lessons. I would have never found my true passion or matured into a young adult if it was not for this past summer. I am truly grateful.