I had learned more than I thought I would when worked with Dr. Marcy Kelly for the Undergraduate Research Program. In the beginning, when I was staring my project I have been constantly been making mistakes and needed to develop on my technical skills. The nature of Mycobacterium bovis-BCG makes it very difficult to grow and experiment on, so I needed to learn to be patient and always be prepared for anything and everything to go wrong. This took me a while to learn. Keeping a schedule is important. But, realizing that anything can happen that will push everything back and learning to accept and adapt to the situation is the most valuable lesson I learned from working in the lab. I finally understood the difficulties of getting a published paper that have several graphs when I finally generated my growth curve that took months of trials.
One key experience I received this year was to take the role of a mentor. I was always the youngest in my research team and always had something to prove. But being a mentor showed me a different perspective because I needed to know everything to the point where I can communicate and be able to teach it to someone. I had also learned how to take a step back from the research project and trust my lab mates to get the job done. This was especially difficult for me because I had spent so many nights, had so many breakdowns, felt so frustrated so many times because of this project. It was difficult to let go. I had to lose the notion that I was the only one that could work on this project and that anyone else would ruin the project. Having the ability to talk to Dr. Kelly about any problems and concerns really propelled me to excel in my undergraduate research career. Dr. Kelly always made time to clear any issues no matter how small they were. Not having an ego and asking for help is vital in succeeding when it comes to research because the reality is that there is so much that I don’t know. Working in an Undergraduate Research Program taught valuable lessons that will carry on for future endeavors.