Hi, everybody! I’m back and ready to share with you about my first month as a senior!
Senior year started on a very sentimental note. I spent the summer here, doing Psychology research, so the summer really rolled right into the new school year. The summer began with Commencement in May, where I said goodbye to so many of my graduating friends, and then ended with Orientation in late August, where I welcomed the new incoming first-year students to Amherst and helped lead their Orientation activities. Seeing my friends whom I’d known since the beginning of my Amherst experience graduate made me realize how quickly my own graduation was approaching, and leading Orientation made me realize how long ago my own Orientation was and how far I’ve come. If you come to Amherst, I would recommend both going to Commencement and leading Orientation before you graduate—It gave me new insight into how short my time at Amherst is and how impactful it’s been.
So now, when I mentioned my summer research, I already alluded to the big event of my fall semester (also alluded to in this post’s title…): my senior thesis! Senior theses all look very different, depending on which department you are writing one for, but they all involve working on a long-term project closely with a thesis advisor. For instance, music theses can take the form of an original composition, a long research paper, or a performance. Science theses generally involve completing first-hand research with a professor and writing up a literature review, methodology, results, and a discussion of the results in the form of a long paper. This happens to be the setup of my thesis. I am working with Dr. Carolyn M. Palmquist in the Child Learning and Development Lab. I am studying how invoking overconfidence in 8-10 year-old children affects their help-seeking behavior during a searching game, and whether any individual differences in children predict their behavior during the game. I finished my data collection over the summer, and now I have finished writing up my methodology and results sections. Next up: my Discussion! Most departments do not require students to write a thesis; rather, successfully completing a thesis earns students an honors degree. If you have any general questions about writing a thesis or would like to know more about my thesis, please shoot me an email! :) (Or, if you are interested in hearing me ramble a little bit more about my experience writing a thesis, you can read my responses to an interview on the topic here)
One of the most exciting parts so far about writing my thesis was that I was able to present my research at the Cognitive Development Society Conference in Portland, Oregon. During the conference, I met so many other researchers and learned about all of the most recent research in cognitive development. When I presented my poster, I received lots of helpful feedback. Also, amazing--Amherst funded the whole trip! Triply amazing, when the conference was over, I still had a little bit of time to explore Portland :)
Presenting my thesis research at the CDS conference in Portland, OR
My friend Danielle and I on our way to Portland!
Japanese Garden of Portland, OR
My main goal for this semester (besides completing a huge bulk of my thesis!) is to give myself ample time to enjoy all the things I love most about Amherst: my amazing friends, long conversations in Valentine dining hall, going to random lectures, events, and activities that peak my interest, and taking advantage of all the different opportunities here to try new things. I am very determined to stay on track and really have my thesis in good shape by the end of the semester so that I can truly relax and enjoy my last semester here at Amherst.
Here are some of the fun things I've enjoyed so far this year at Amherst:
Roller skating with my friend Keziah at Hampshire Mall!
Apple picking with some friends!
Performing with my a cappella group at the annual homecoming bonfire!