MIC Undergraduate Research | Ana Manas Lopez
In the beginning of the semester, when the class was told about the possibility of some of us participating at URECA and being able to share our research, at first I was scared. I was scared for many reasons but mostly because I didn’t know what I was working on or what URECA actually was. After many weeks of thinking about different topics and asking everyone what they thought, I finally arrived at a topic that was interesting to me and that was easily doable.
The following weeks after deciding on a topic were a very busy time for me. I went from collecting the data for around 2.5 weeks to having to transcribe all the data and then analyze it. I was involved in this everyday; this was my “baby” as I would call it. After analyzing data and arriving at my conclusions came the hard part, how do you fit all that research and everything you want to say into 12 PowerPoint slides?
I was wrong for thinking that the weeks leading up to URECA were crazy busy, because the two days leading up to it were without a doubt the most hectic days I’ve ever had in my life. As I mentioned before, my biggest concern was being able to fit it all in the poster board without leaving any crucial information behind and being able to make it so it flows effortlessly and it is easily understood by everyone, not just people in our class or major, but how exactly do I do that? I have never collected research data before, I have never had to analyze data like this before and I sure have never participated in an event like this before.
What I’ll never forget is the support that I got from my classmates and from the professor and TA’s. We all worked together and helped each other out tremendously. I remember being on campus with a classmate the day before URECA working on our presentation and when we asked each other questions we were brutally honest with each other and I think that is the biggest help you could get from anyone. So there I was, sitting at a computer trying to fit around 4 weeks worth of work into 12 PowerPoint slides and after hours and hours of work, I finally did it. The joy that I experienced after it was all done, and my poster was finished is hard to explain. I felt so accomplished.
The day finally arrived and walking into the SAC ballroom, I felt very proud to be able to be a part of this. I loved walking around and seeing everyone’s hard work displayed and I even learned a couple of things from other majors. After giving the same presentation around 10 times, this became something like second nature to me so whenever someone would approach I would just start all over again, and I felt so glad that I was able to share this with everyone.
If I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing. All the hard work, and long days were worth it because I’m able to say that I was a part of this. I am grateful for this experience and I hope that the rest of my classmates had the same experience as I did, because it was something that I will remember forever.