Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Time at Chicago ~ Alice Johnson

Beautiful campus
I had some basic expectations going into this trip to UChicago, but my experience with the summer session totally blew me away. I learned so much from my class, from the people I connected with, and from the experience of living on a college campus away from home that I never would have been able to otherwise.

Out of all of the amazing options available to me, I chose to take developmental psychology because it was extremely interesting to me. Psychology provides such an interesting framework for understanding and studying the human experience that I had never had the opportunity to explore before. It was amazing to have an open place to talk about the origins of different phenomena of humanity and to have access to so much information in the form of previous research articles.

An almost equally important part of the class, though, was getting to know the professor and the TA. I loved sitting with Kate and Marjorie after class to discuss outside questions that I had or to go into greater detail about some of the lecture material. I also particularly loved getting to talk to Marjorie about the work that she is doing right now in educational research. I have always been interested in education, but assumed that if I wanted to go into it I would have to be some sort of either teacher, school administrator, or educational policy maker. Marjorie helped me realize that there are plenty of other directions that you could go with a focus in education other than just these conventional careers. I wonder if the same is true in many of the other fields that I am interested it.
Beautiful beach

Moreover, it was wonderful to meet so many peers from such diverse backgrounds. While I regret not having one single friend group that I belonged to completely, I met so many excellent people on this trip. I wish I could have gotten to know them all better, but am overall glad that I made the decision to float between many groups of people rather than spend all of my time with just a few. A big shout-out to my fellow cohort members, too, for being so great. And let's not forget the RAs, especially Shannon and Nikki. I feel like I got to know the two of them the best, and they gave great advice about college and shared plenty of useful tips and stories about Chicago. I also loved getting the chance to talk to Megan Castle, one of the summer session program coordinators in charge of student outreach and advising. I went to two of her afternoon information sessions, and she gave great advice on how to handle college admissions and on what UChicago is looking for.
Beautiful view from the Aquarium

Mostly, this trip was an important chance for me to stretch my limbs and be independent. My time at UChicago forced me to problem solve for myself, whether it was dealing with computer trouble, finding a FedEx to mail something home, or just navigating an unfamiliar place on my own. This  experience definitely gave me so much more confidence, and I will miss my time there so much!

We'll miss you, Chicago!

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