University of Washington
University of Washington
I ask questions to understand how organizations work.
A mentor once told me "I know what I think when I read what I write." I spend most of my mornings writing about my questions and their answers. After writing, I meet with my mentors and peers to improve my ideas. I love having discussions that help me better understand the things that have been studied before so I can focus on studying the things that have not. I also take time to meet with my former students and mentees to help them in their journeys.
As a social scientist, you must be a great communicator! You have to be able to talk about what you learn with everyone. This requires you to be a writer and a presenter. Writing is a skill that takes many years to develop. And academic writing has a style of its own - so practice! And if you are dyslexic like me, don't let writing deter you from following your passion!
Here's the first step for college students
If you like to ask "why" certain things happen and then find out, talk to your professors. Ask them about how they spend their time and about research. Volunteer to help them with their projects to really understand how academia works. If possible, ask them to help you learn to create your own project. Look for organizations in your school that support Undergraduate research. For example, I was a McNair Scholar and it was instrumental in helping me learn about research.
"You are never going to make it to college with those test scores."
Every time I was told no, I would promise myself "YES." It was a promise that I worked to keep every day. I made realistic and practical plans to achieve my dream: to go to the University. I had no idea how to achieve them, so I read and asked questions. I focused on making sure that each step I took was taking me in the general direction of my dream. I made a lot of corrections along the way!
My family did not have much money. And what little they had was theirs: not for my education. I had to put myself through college. Since I was an immigrant, I did not qualify for financial aid. At one point I had three jobs. It was worth it.
My family moved to the US when I was 15. It was not planned in advance. I did not speak English at all. We did not understand how anything worked. Slowly, I learned the language and the culture. I also work hard to make sure I remember my language.
I am Dyslexic. Sadly, I could not afford the tests to secure accommodations. Self-awareness, flexibility, and determination have helped me to find ways to cope as a student and as a professional.