Unique Experiences; Undergraduate Research
Hello all, hope your Halloween was awesome!
I honestly don't have much to say about what's going on with me right now, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to describe my Undergraduate Research experience a bit. Most people think undergraduate research looks like this:
I am here to tell you, it doesn't have to. I participated in the Undergraduate Research program at Oxy this past summer, studying the formation and segregation of Los Angeles' Chinatown through the Sociology department. My application process was really rushed. I emailed a bunch of professors fairly early on, and heard back from one about a week before the application was due. I met with him, finished my application, and was surprised and pleased to learn my project had been accepted.
I spent the rest of spring semester thinking my summer job would consist of reading, writing, and bumming around LA. I'm not saying I didn't do those things. I did. Especially the reading. (Sooooo much reading.)
But, for me at least, Undergraduate Research was about so much more than studying. I got to spend a ton of time with friends I don't see too often during the school year, and because there are so few of us around over the summer, I got to see them all the time! (Hmmm...) I also practiced karate all summer, which was fabulous. At the same time, I was learning tons and tons and TONS about Los Angeles history through my study of the Chinese experience here. I won't get into details, but let's just say I feel like I could teach a class on it.
Which brings me to my last point. I have no idea what I want to do with my life after college. I know what I don't want to do, namely stay in the United States. But beyond that, very little idea. My current plan involves avoiding any sort of decisions involving my future for a few years by teaching English in Japan/around the world. If I still have no idea what I want to do after that, maybe I'll go to grad school. Beyond that everything becomes hazy, but I do have a vague inclination to teach Asian theater, probably for a conservatory of some kind.
My experience with Undergraduate Research has prepared me better than anything else I can think of for both my comps (those things you write senior year to prove you're actually good at your major) and for my possible interest in future studies/professorship.
I had a wonderful time doing Undergraduate Research, and learned more in a shorter period of time than is probably healthy for an undergrad. (Just kidding, learning is awesome!) It is a great program, whether you're interested in graduate studies or not.