Existentialism: How it has affected modern Christianity

To myself who doesn’t like admitting that there is a complacency/struggle with faith.

When one thinks of the 19th Century, one often imagines the end of the Enlightenment within philosophy along with scientific positivism as the grand utopian hope for Western people; however, Existentialism finds its roots in the 19th Century as a response to the rampant rationalism that was left over from the Enlightenment. Existentialism was born out of the mind of Soren Kierkegaard as a Christian philosophy. It places a high emphasis on irrational faith that one acts on and does not study, thus rationality is devalued in theistic existentialism. Though born out of a 19th Century response to rationalism, its impact has spread into the 21st century and is finding its way into popular Christian books. Though Existentialism is helpful in reminding Christians that rationalism is inadequate, it destroys the idea that Christians can truly have a relationship with God.

Theistic existentialism is a system that…

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Existentialism: How it has affected modern Christianity

Let’s be (extra)ordinary.

Wow. I need to hand it to spontaneity for driving me to plan a trip down to LA with newly made friends and to attend a conference. Outside of study abroad, I have never taken matters into my own hands to travel, attend an event hundreds of miles away. But there was just something… about this conference that nagged at me to come down and to experience this. This was Jubilee Project’s Conference, themed “The Road Less Traveled.”

Now, I thought about detailing the happenings of the conference. Because it was indeed amazing to even interact with the greatest Asian American figures in social endeavors, like Jen Frmheadtotoe, Jeremy Lin, Wong Fu Productions, DANakaDAN… but then a quote from Fung Bros comes to mind: “Average people talk about people, good people talk about events, and great people talk about ideas.” While I met some amazing people and influencers, I think everyone and I myself would benefit a lot more from… the lessons I took away from this day. And I will always remember August 15, 2015, as the highlight as my summer, and the day that I found myself turning on my head and breaking out of my meager worldly shell. But for the sake of consistency, I will talk about these lessons chronologically as they occurred in the conference.

  1. Encourage. It is in community we will find courage. -Jason Y. Lee

Encourage comes from French. encorager, which comes from en + curage, which is “in courage.” Nowadays, we are supposed to encourage one another, and that facilitates community and bonding. And nowadays, everyone talks about how they are trying to muster up the courage to go against the norm, to swim against the current, to pursue their wildest dreams without fearing the consequences. But the only way we can really find courage is through community.

What this means to me: This summer has been a time where I’m trying to figure out or at least get a better idea of what I would like to do for my career. Funnily, maybe because it is tech, but I have been told by full-time employees, people who have walked many different paths before coming here, that the #1 factor of choosing what to do and where to work is the people. Not the mission, the people. The tech industry provides that flexibility, but it always seemed so backwards to me: even if I enjoyed the company of the people, why would I want to work for a mission that I don’t really care about? But at JP, I realized that I need to surround myself around the people who will be real with me, the people who will encourage me to pursue the goals that I want to pursue. That was also the appeal of JP to me: everyone was so warm and good-hearted. If I am able to surround myself with people like them… I would be able to stretch my mind to think the incredible and (re)discover my passion. I believe we all have passions, but for a lot of us, these passions have been buried by norms, stereotypes, and fear. While it is never too late, I want to find my passion ASAP and have the courage, gaining that courage from my loving community, to chase after it.

2. Worldly goals… are so fleeting. -Jeremy Lin

Now here is someone who keeps it real. In today’s fast-paced world, we are always thinking of the next goal, the next hoop we have to jump through. Some examples are that college we need to get into, that grade we need to get, that job we need to get… But then what happens when we get it? Goals like those are grasped onto and they simply… vanish into thin air. Worldly goals should not be what we are living for. What is success to you? Is it money? Is it having a loving family? Chances are… you will be happy with that but you won’t feel satisfied or fulfilled. So I encourage you to sit down and think about what success is and how you can mold your journey in life towards that goal.

What this means to me: This was something I was aware of… but it was a good reminder because it has been nested in the back of my head. It is so so hard to be conscientious of this when everyone is abuzz about recruitment, achieving the grades in classes, asking that boy/girl out on a date… These aren’t things that don’t necessarily add substance to my life. And worldly goals tend to become very very self-centered. I myself need to take the time to think about what success means to me, regardless of any worldly burdens. So stop being so hung up on getting that job, getting into that school… There are so many more important visions to be working towards and it is a waste of my ability and my gifts.

3. Happiness is not tantamount to joy. Because regardless of what happened today, there’s still JOY. -Jeremy Lin

Society nowadays is so obsessed with finding happiness. For many, success is happiness. But can you name instances where you thought you would be happy, and you WERE happy but you did not feel joy? You didn’t feel fulfilled? I’m sure you can. The end goal should not be happiness.

What this means to me: God’s grace fills this world. I feel it in stories exchanged, thanks given, appreciation filling the rooms. I need to proactively listen to God because He absolutely did not place me on this world to just… be happy. He did not place me on this world just to be successful. He placed me here with a plan that I use my gifts to empower the next generation and the greater community. This lesson is a bit sparse compared to the others because I still need to think about what joy means to me. This was the lesson that made me step back in surprise. Because I always thought happiness and joy were synonymous…

4. All you need is 1 word to become your intent. -Peter Chung

Now this was a cool exercise. Think of a word that you aspire towards, a word that will be your goal. Go and have a conversation with someone about this. And the person you are conversing with should be questioning you as to why you chose that word, how you intend to achieve it, how this will change inspire growth and fulfillment. Chances are, you will end up changing your word.

What this means to me: At the conference, Peter was selling bracelets that would contain the word of your intent, the idea being that you literally WEAR that word on your wrist as a constant reminder of how to live. You guessed it, my word changed. I started off with the word “passion.” Because for me, I always find myself short of that fire that keeps me up late at night working on something, that fire that drives me nuts when I don’t have it… But as I conversed with someone about this, I realized that oftentimes, people just happen to stumble upon what becomes their passion. They do need to persevere at it, which is something that my school does not tend to advocate. They always encourage exploring one’s options, taking advantage of all the resources, talks, and interactions with famous figures in this world… but they NEVER encourage us to reflect upon these lessons and to interpret the lessons of these people for our own lives. (I can go more into this, but this is a whole other conversation for later) While they do need to persevere at it, they were able to muster up the courage to try something new or to allow an old passion to rekindle itself. “Perseverance” and “confidence” came to mind, but those tend to be words that are used to advocate going after a dream and sticking with it. I wanted the word I wear on my wrist to be striking and immediately remind me of its intent. Now, on my wrist I’m wearing “daring.” One can argue that this is totally out of character of me, and that is true! I’m definitely someone who, while she thinks a lot about breaking the shell and criticizes the norms, submits to the safe route, that main road. But by being daring, I want to gain that courage to try out something that may seem wild at the time, but is really just a restart of an old enjoyment. By doing so, I want to reach that ultimate goal of having a passion that I’m wildly chasing after, almost addicted to.

5. How do you achieve clarity? Through relationships, blessings, traveling, and pain. -Dave Gibbons

Relationships go back to encouragement. You want to build a community around yourself that will be supportive and welcoming. You want to have a community that inspires you to be the best you that you can be! Blessings are two parts: seeing people, and knowing people. When is the last time you were seen by someone? …Think about that. When is the last time you really saw someone? We all have eyes and we look, but we never really see. We are so self-absorbed, we are the stars of our own show, and we actually don’t take the time to see who is around us, believe it or not. We need go see people with intent, and then we need to get to know people. Knowing people comes with listening; again, we can hear what people are saying, but it means nothing unless we are listening. Listening means absorbing their stories, and thinking about how what you just heard from this insightful person can be applied to your life, and how you would like to make those small changes in your life. Traveling is a great way to gain a wider perspective on life and the world. The best part of it it putting yourself outside of your comfort zone because oftentimes you will find yourself to be comfortable and at a loss of what you need to work towards. As for pain, this is another way of saying to be vulnerable. What makes you feel excruciating pain? What conditions/issues/events make you queasy and feel so so wronged? Pain is the best platform for power. Pain is the greatest reminder of why you do what you do. If you think about not being able to achieve your goal and you don’t feel deep pain, maybe there is something else that is worth your time and that is worth being your goal.

What this means to me: A lot of us, including myself, are missing clarity. Especially with social media and the world being more connected than ever, there is just so much noise around us, it is easy to lose track of what your purpose on Earth is. I do believe I am here to achieve something much greater than myself, and I need to make small but proactive changes to my life. I always make the excuse that I need to have alone time, being an introvert and all, but alone time should not be driven by comfort. I need to reach out to people, get to know them, hear about their deepest motivations. I also need to meet a diverse set of people; if I find myself surrounded by such a homogenous group of people, I can’t find my true intent and clairty. I have found that traveling is so incredibly effective after studying abroad. I cannot let myself get comfortable; I need to push myself to try living in other places. I think staying in the area I grew up in for the summer was a nice change in pace, but next year, I really should not allow myself to be in the Bay Area. Other than the crying in movies when a couple breaks up or when someone makes a meaningful sacrifice, I have found that very little has made me feel so much pain. I need to actively seek out that pain…which sounds so wrong. But the way I see it, a fire is always gasping for air, it is snatching at those oxygen particles in order to stay alive–in that same way, I want to be gasping for air and be driven crazy after a goal even bigger than myself.

6. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. -Jason Y. Lee

I think we often forget that people like the speakers at this conference… are truly revolutionary. And I think that we often want to follow their footsteps because their work sounds fun. Making YouTube videos must be fun. Social media as a job must be fun. But the reality is… there is so much work and so much struggle. Just like sheep, we often flock together towards the shepherd, the prominent figures in tech, government, social media, entertainment. But why should we follow the convention? These people honestly truly stood out because they were able to do the impossible of their times. If we want to be truly innovative and feel fulfillment, we need to think outside the box. And sometimes people think that they can’t reach that level because they “aren’t good enough.” They don’t know enough to be able to make a difference. Don’t you dare settle for less. You all have the ability and the power to do extraordinary things. I believe we are all fully equipped especially in today’s society when information is so easily accessible and it is so simple to connect to the people we need to be connected with at the click of the mouse. It’s a matter of believing.

What this means to me: Honestly, I always think I’m kinda sorta thinking outside of the box. But I’m learning that the box is a lot bigger than I think it is. As I try to break out of my shell, I keep holding onto that one post of security and comfort. I actually went and talked to Jason afterwards, and he wrote me a message: You are meant to live for something extraordinary. Never stop living for something GREATER! I really want to think upon this, because I do think I believe that I can do so much more than I am doing right now. Mind you, I’m still in school…. but why is that an impediment? It really isn’t! I need to ponder upon what I can do for the community because it is absolutely pointless to say that I want to make a difference in the world. It starts from something small, and it can be built upon and become a great goal.

7. Live for something greater. -Jason Y. Lee

I already touched upon this in the previous lesson, but it is so true. What is the point of living for the next goal that is totally attainable? Children in that sense… are so amazing because they are so pure and their imagination runs so wild. Why is that beauty tamed and whipped into shape so that as teenagers and adults, they are so terrified of failure and reaching that dream? Why is doing an art, why is being a police officer so far-fetched? ….It isn’t. Accept it. Embrace it. At the same time, we become so engrossed in trying to break away from influences and we start wanting to chase after something that will make us happy. But happy is NOT the same as being fulfilled! To find something that you love doing is a great goal that many people cannot achieve, but always be mindful that that should not be the end goal. Because you could probably be using that gift and that passion towards something bigger than yourself. We all totally have a calling to do more for our communities and to give back to this beautiful world, and it is a pity that we become so self-centered. Go live for something greater than yourself.

What this means to me: I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend. As children of immigrant parents, we have similar family situations. Our parents were not able to achieve their wildest dreams because of lack of resources and opportunities. And so they have shifted their attention to being the best parents so that their children  have the foundation to achieve whatever they can… But then our parents slowly submit to fear about their children not living well and being miserable. So they again change their focus to getting us into top universities, to pushing us to be a doctor, lawyer businessman, anything that provides a stable income to live a comfortable happy life… But as we are not able to achieve our own wildest dreams, we end up shifting our focus to having that stable income to help our own children… it becomes a cycle! Ridiculous right? Our parents, and we, don’t realize that we are the generation of millenials. We live in such a different world and in a different time. Honestly, whatever we want…. CAN BE ACHIEVED. That doesn’t mean it won’t be HARD and DIFFICULT, but it can be achieved unlike our parents’ time. We really shouldn’t settle for less, and I don’t intend to! I also knew that I always had a higher calling, a calling to help people. I hope that… in whatever I do, I am able to help people. I don’t find fulfillment in working at a company and working towards… greater profit. It drives me nuts because I feel like right now, I am working towards helping the privileged become more privileged and helping the company earn more money to do more of whatever they want to do 😛 Regardless of whatever people say about a company, its doom to fail, or my doom to fail, whatever! As long as I find meaning and I believe that I am helping people through my craft… That’s all that matters.

8. Take the road less traveled. -Jason Y. Lee

And now we come to the theme of the conference. I feel like we always envision this fork in the road to be a momentous occasion… but that is not true. Everyday, we are finding ourselves at forks, no matter how small or miniscule they may seem. While some decisions may be easy, I encourage you to really think about why you chose that road, why you are executing that action. Chances are, the road less traveled is better suited, and it will definitely be scary! But what is life but not an adventure?

What this means to me: I definitely disregard some decisions just because I think they are obvious. But a lot of times, the decisions are not that obvious. They only seem obvious because that is how society deems them to be. I hope every minute of my life is spent deliberately and with purpose. I also believe that God talks to me through gut feelings. But society advocates for logic and rationale, and sometimes the actions I take stem from using my head. But I hope I can be daring, which is my intent, and act upon my gut feelings to take that road that will indeed be less traveled.

#JubileeConference15 Thank you for an experience where I found myself in a whirlwind of emotions. I found myself inspired, empowered, and rejuvenated. One of my greatest fears is being so small compared to my potential, and this was an incredible event that was mind-blowing to say the least, encouraging me to just do it! I am so thankful to be a part of the Jubilee Project family.

Now, one last exercise that I encourage you to do with friends, family, or even by yourself. (Credits to Jason Y. Lee) Close your eyes. Think about that road less traveled in your life. Think about the path that you so dearly yearn for but also terrifies you so much. Now shoot ahead ten years. Cars are flying, technology has advanced like it does in science fiction. The impossible has been attained. It is REAL. And you yourself are so incredibly successful and ten years ago, you mustered up the courage to tread that road less traveled and you finally achieved it! …What are you doing now? What would you tell your 10-year-younger self?

Let’s surround ourselves with the right people. Let’s support each other. Let’s be wild again like children and conjure up those old crazy dreams of ours. Let’s… take the road less traveled.

Let’s be (extra)ordinary.

Goals for the Fall

I think this will be interesting. I always find myself, especially in college, to be pretty volatile in what I want to study and what I want to focus on. I’m easily swayed by the people I’m surrounded by, that one article I read that is simply mind-blowing, and by the rekindling of my old desires. With that in mind, it is always good to have a sort of end goal for yourself, and I think a goal for 3 months of school is pretty reasonable. (Sophia, I want you to have a similar post to this so that we can look back winter break and see how we may have changed)

2015-2016 FALL.

I’m going to be a junior. JUNIOR. I can’t wrap my head around that. Mainly because I think about how it was four years ago that I was taking the SAT, I was taking 5 AP classes, I was dying in SFSYO rehearsal as the director grilled into my head the principles of being a section leader… How was that four years ago? And now what am I doing? I’m in college. I’m studying for the GRE. I’m trying to wrap my head around a case interview and Fermi estimation… it’s all a blur. I remember when in high school, it seemed so obvious what I had to do–I had to go to college. And the beauty of being in college is that there is no conventional path (not that there necessarily was in high school, but it was perceived that way at least where I was from), so you can theoretically do WHATEVER you want, but that is also the scary part. How do you know if you’ve messed up?

No matter what, I think I’m looking forward to junior year, more than I did sophomore year. I think sophomore year, I was just so tired of summer and I wanted to be with friends again… not necessarily a concrete goal/desire in mind. But I have a lot (but not too much, I promise…) going on this year and this fall in particular that I’m ready to dive into.

Let’s start with classes: I will be taking a CS class on graphics and imaging, a CS HCI class similar to the one I took last fall, a Symbolic Systems class (basically the intro class to the major), and a ME class on design sketching. I’m most excited about graphics and design sketching because 1) I had not even thought about those classes until the end of the school year and 2) I’ve never taken an ME class although it has been a desire. After reading Creativity, Inc., I think the world of animation and entertainment has grabbed a hold of me because I’m a sucker for kid movies and their level of mastery. Can I be like that?

This is actually a lighter schedule than I’m used to. Before deciding to take the ME class, I was perpetually stuck at the minimum number of units. While I enjoy taking a lot of classes, I have become very conscientious of needing to focus on the three classes that are going to be used towards my major. In that sense, I think this will be a very freeing experience, and I’ll have more time on my hands (I think).

So what am I going to be doing with all that time? Let’s not forget outside commitments. I will be beginning a 2-year-long commitment to the advisory board for the Asian American community on my campus. Past boards have focused on faculty diversity and expansion of the Asian American studies program. As someone who hasn’t been able to delve too much into Asian American topics through my studies, I hope this will be a very informative experience. I will have two other undergraduates working by my side, and I hope I can gain the confidence of professionally interacting with faculty and adults in general (for too long, I’ve only been around people my age). I am also heading the concert committee of Listen to the Silence, an Asian American issues conference. I’m so excited for this and am already contacting singers and dancers to come join us for this event. For more information, 🙂

As one can see, I’m pretty heavily involved in the API community. This was totally unintentional and sometimes I do wonder whether I’m using my time wisely. I think what keeps bringing me back though is that I struggled with my ethnic identity for a really long time, and it was through the interactions within this community that I came to realize my Asian American identity and to embrace it. My dorm freshmen year was the Asian-American themed dorm. Aside from the theme, I found the best dorm community and am forever grateful for the people I met in this house. So you can imagine how ecstatic I am to be coming back this next year. People often ask me if I am all right with spending so much time in this one place. After all, it is a pretty far dorm. But as my priorities changed, I love meeting new people, but I do need to step back and turn to the reasons why I chose to come to this school, socializing not being one of them. It will be a great community, as freshmen trickle in and as old friends are also returning; I think I will always have a home here.

Now for another goal I am setting for myself this fall: violin. This has been a struggle for me. Knowing that once I came to this research university my endeavors towards a professional life in music were dismal, it’s been a whirlwind trying to understand what place music had in my life. But this fall, with the light schedule in mind, I’m going to take it more seriously. Seriously. This will be the most serious I have ever been in college. Mind you, I don’t think serious means more involvement in the music community. I have yet to decide whether I want to do chamber music, orchestra, etc. Because those do eat away my time, and I wonder if I will really grow as a musician in these settings. But I have become complacent. So I’m setting myself an aggressive goal to audition for an orchestra program that will meet over winter break for two weeks, with two concerts at the end. Honestly, I’m terrified. I auditioned for this as a sophomore in high school, when I was actually practicing 5-6 hours a day, and I did not pass. But I know if I don’t set this almost outlandish goal… I will never be more.

So cheers to the fall. Cheers to junior year and all that is waiting in store. I’ll be back to reflect.

Goals for the Fall

080515 analog with Oliver

5 minute song challenge, here goes

I want an…eye to see the world as God sees it
Eye to see His will and how I fit
Eye to see meaning and worth by His measure
Eye to see each moment as a treasure

I hope to…Honesty look myself in the eye
Evaluate my reflection — smiles or cries
Celebrate honestly without jealousy or grudge
Love thoughtfully before I judge

I pray for health and a wisdom to see clear and sure
Not everything is worth sacrificing for
To find meaning in the mundane
To find renewal at the thought of His name

To be fully present and not let moments pass by
Just because it seems more productive at the time
To see opportunty for growth and introspection
To put thoughts into words during constant reflection

To reconsider when I find myself
Seeking attention from somebody else
What does it speak about my true needs
Why am I trying so hard to please

I hope to have discipline to steward my mind
To see motivation when it’s hard to find
To understand his love in every circumstance
To share that love when given the chance

/ meter struggle rhyming struggle lol

080515 analog with Oliver

time is ticking, ahhh

the to-do list is endless and so emotional-energy-consuming but big thought of the day:

What is worthwhile to spend my time on at school, and what must I absolutely take advantage of during this special time with these special opportunities!?!?! God please please give me the wisdom to see this and not be swayed by the million other things I could do with my time, please give me your eyes to see relationships and time and money and self-care and future and work and sfjKJHalkej

time is ticking, ahhh

the post-research research

now that research is officially over — officially as in the posters have been presented, the goodbyes have been said, and i’m finally back in my room by myself — it’s time for a different kind of research to start. it’s been an ongoing research process, with lit reviews happening at the same time as study designs, with data collection happening as discussions are being composed. this research process is research on myself. and now that this one crucial component of my summer is completed, it’s time to reflect on what it’s meant to me/how it has changed me/what I expected to see/what I actually see… yes Sophiaaa let’s put that research process into work!

as i was talking with xiaofan one day, i realized that it’s interesting what happens when people begin to know you for something. People know Sana as the girl who is veryy into food justice, and so anytime someone comes across a resource that they think she’d be into, they immediately forward it to her. Not that this passion defines her identity, but that people celebrate this unique interest of hers and defer to her as the first person they’d talk to about these issues, which makes her even more knowledgeable. Interesting. What identity have I built for myself? As shallow as it might be, there is one thing I want people to know me for. and this one thing will be mentioned in this blog post a lot, so perhaps it will become very obvious (also dunez thanks for forcing me to write — i was studying econ but and yeah it’s kind of a priority but I also need to just sit down and hammer out all the thoughts that have been bruising the sides of my brain as they’re bouncing around and waiting to be solified into words that I can save and look back on. distracting thoughts — i miss art. i miss the feeling of being surrounded by a ton of people. I wish i could have brough my laptop onto the train and spent 2 hours blogging a day. i’m so relieved i never have to suffer my ridiculous commute again. this summer would have been so different if i worked somewhere closer.

back to the post-research research, research on my own realizations and how my passions have both developed and become more clear to myself. if I can sift through all my previous reactions and interactions as the ‘lit review’ stage of this

(thank God writing this post is made easier because I was already forced to articulate my thoughts in real time over a phone call with haruna) (#external processor)

not that i really considered academia as a trajectory, because it’s something, a concept, a way of life i was never exposed to given my family/family’s circle of friends. but it was interesting to hear about the frustration, competition, and uncertainty of this path of life, and it’s so odd how some people arrive to it after 10 years of traveling the world, some pursue it right from their undergrad years. what is enticing about academia

goals for this internship:

to experience the day-to-day of research beyond how i’ve romanticized/glorified it
to understand how a question is explored through lit reviews/study design/running the experiment/collecting data, etc
to be in an environment where research is discussed all the time
to understand what others who are farther along this path do, why they do it

what ended up happening (from my post-LCD internship reflection (an internship based on our Lab Manager’s internship experience at Harvard) and my comments in italics):

Were there any aspects of the research experience you would like to have seen in greater detail? How might we improve this?
I really liked how even though the study was already well on its way, Mahesh (my princip investigator) was still really open to ideas about making improvements based on our updated observations. I would have liked to hear more about the study history at the point I started testing kids just so I can understand the changes that have been made, why those changes are important, etc. This is definitely something I could have asked about on my own, though. Overall, the comprehensiveness of this internship is one of the biggest reasons it was such a worthwhile experience for me!

How effective was lab meeting? How might we improve this (we had reading groups, all-lab meeting for which we discussed new studies/presented our own studies, and meetings with Mahesh based on our specific study)?
I really liked lab meetings and reading groups, especially because so many of the mentors were also involved. I really appreciate that we were mentored before leading a reading group, and I REALLY appreciate the weekly meetings with Mahesh because he cared so much about our specific observations, and I got a lot out of each meeting. Mahesh helped me understand the ins and outs of our study and made me feel feel so involved, important, motivated and invested because he took the time to constantly meet with us and make our role in this study important.

I absolutely love talking about this study and musing on all the possible extensions/applications to real life and how real life experiences and interactions with children inform our understanding of the different patterns we see. Ahhh!!! Too cool.

Do you think this program helped you narrow your academic and/or career focus? If yes, how so? 

I went into college knowing that I wanted to study CogSci, and I’m really glad I got to explore one way of applying classroom knowledge — research! Career-wise, I think this internship was really good because my school would not be able to facilitate this kind of research. As much as I loved this internship, it also inspired me to think about other contexts in which child development research is needed/can be applied. I am really interested in education technology and this fall, I will be working for a company that designs learning tech. It’ll be very interesting to see if polysemy/prosody/any of the studies I read about this summer show up!

I also thought this was a good length for an internship. I got to try lots of different aspects of day-to-day research — recruiting, testing, coding, discussing the questions our study looks at — and I think I built a good knowledge base after interacting with around 40 kids this summer.

This internship also made me REALLY appreciate research papers… to understand the long process of revisions and work makes me really respect published papers because I can gain all of the knowledge and not have to put in the work for however long the study took to investigate!

Do you think this program showed you what working in developmental psychology is like? If yes, how so? If no, what more were you looking for? *

Yes!! Not sure what other developmental psych labs are like, but I thought my experience was very comprehensive, which is what I wanted. I wanted to be able to understand the research project from beginning to end and why a certain question would be investigated in a certain way. I think it would have been cool for me to do another study on top of my current one, because I didn’t have to go through the process of designing stimuli/writing the script for my main project since it was already in place by the time I got here! But I was able to talk to some interns who were working on a new project, and it was fun to hear about the different stages of different projects.

I’ve already seen how what i’ve learned here applies to so many work environments, especially the abilities to enter into a novel situation, quickly observe/emulate what others are doing well, and pipe up whenever I have a question. Everyone who had worked here in the lab before I got here was always so accommodating, patient, and nice, and I never felt embarrassed to ask a question. The day-to-day of this internship allowed me to understand clearly how I could apply certain skills here to any workplace in the future. I learned how to be organized with data, the importance of being consistent and following procedures, how to communicate with others when we are all editing the same files at different times, how to responsibly keep record of everything that I do in lab, what questions I can ask to further my understanding of everyone’s research, how I can do the same/repetitive/”easy” task well and more efficiently… etc. 🙂 I learned to value EVERY testing experience, even when I found myself frustrated with really uncooperative participants, because I could never anticipate what each child could teach me in the course of 20 minutes about how to be receptive to children’s shyness/discomfort, how to best respond to them in a way that is accommodating but consistent so that I don’t bias a child… and I saw seemingly uncooperative children defy my expectations as they opened up more and more throughout the study. I also learned how to make and hold conversation with every parent coming in, and how to respond when unfortunate mix-ups occur in the lab (parking spot is taken, same rooms are overbooked, etc).

This is the longest formal summer internship I’ve had, and first peek into research/academic. But with all that I’ve learned from it, and I’m still processing — I cannot imagine a more comprehensive first encounter with a field I’ve become so enthralled by.

Did you work with one of your top choices for research projects? If not, do you think this altered your experience in any way? How might we improve the intern-project matching system? *

I did! 🙂 To be honest, I didn’t realize how good of a fit my study was/how much I would LOVE investigating the questions of my study until I started! I’m not sure how you matched interns with projects 😦 But I was happy with mine! From here on out, I will always always nerd out about the topics my study explored 😀

How was your work load for the summer? Did you ever feel like you had too much or too little to do? *

It was a good amount of work! Some days were really chill (just scheduling) and other days were busy (lots of participants back to back) but I kind of liked how each day was different. To be honest, I felt that once i got the hang of things, it became comfortable, and then too easy. But that has nothing to do with research, just a realization of what I want. I think I’m more suited for something more fast-paced, with more variety and creativity and independence in tackling problems (will have a future post about the moment I felt this most “alive” this summer. More about all of this later.)

Did you feel like the interns were a cohesive group in lab and did you feel close to your other interns? What might we do to improve the camaraderie of the group? 

I think partnering with each other on the reading groups, if we didn’t have a fellow intern to work with on a study, was an excellent way to get to know someone you normally wouldn’t work with. I also really liked how we had readings for everyone and also readings for our specific study. I liked the outings and how we invited interns from other labs! Potlucking was also very fun ^_^ Idk tbh it was cool at first to meet all these people but I ended up not being that close with them? Which is fine. not that they weren’t good, interesting, fun people, but idk.. hm. 


What could have made this experience better?

I think I’m satisfied with having done it during the summer, because there’s NO WAY it would be worth it to do this during the schoolyear, paid or not. However, I think I would have been happier to work 3 really long days instead of 4 shorter ones. I didn’t REALLY mind the commute because I honestly enjoy taking the train and listening to my own thing and not having to immediately go back home after work because sometimes my family crowds me after I come back from a long day when I just want to be completely by myself. I now better understand the work rhythm of a commute, which YES I could have gotten from just experiencing it for maybe 3 weeks instead of 9. Another feeling of restlessness comes from the fact that I’m a student and I want to constantly be experiencing new things without having to be an adult and settle into the way things are. My parents get really annoyed when I want to go out on my off days, because to them, I’m finally not working and should be contributing to life at home, or resting instead of constantly looking to go out. And that honestly is one of the top reasons I’m so frustrated with home… my parents see me as a highschooler still when I’d be off doing whatever I wanted in college. And they don’t get how I need and crave this constant stimulation and learning ESPECIALLY WHEN I ACTUALLY HAVE TIME FOR HANGING OUT, for once in my life. Which is why I took advantage of the train and how it could take me anywhere with a few dollars. I made it a point to stop at every interesting BART station, a different one every day, to really see just ANYTHING arond me. I value spontaneity so much, and am really grateful for the time to do random stuff on my own without the guilt of “oh i need to go home to do ____.”

I guess when i say all of this, it makes it sound like I had a bomb summer. But actually… summer was SO long and this is reflection is really so minimal (AAHHA after 2300 words of this reflection post lol ironic but so typical of me) compared to all that I could say or learn. And honestly… it wasn’t fun because of the circumstances. It was fun because I tried so so hard to get THE MOST out of every ounce of it. Which was stressful. it’s a good skill to have, to make any moment a meaningful one. Which reminds me of the way I saw my really sucky senior year… a good habit but a habit that often makes me even “overanalyze” (if there is such a thing) experiences that I should just simply sit back and enjoy.

the post-research research