Friday, September 25, 2015

A Different Kind of Learning by Alex Schmiechen

            So far, my time at La Selva Biological Field Station in Costa Rica has reminded me of a few essential life-lessons. These include the importance of adaptation and not taking myself to seriously.
            During this past week’s Faculty Led Projects, I remembered how research does not always go as planned. On paper, research always seems precise, intentional, and well though out. However, research is no exception to reality; things never go exactly as anticipated. For example, while interviewing locals about Dengue fever, we had to adapt our questions as we realized the faults in our interview and often times fumbled around while attempting to speak Spanish. Also, while collecting mosquitoes for another project, I realized how hard it is to actually find mosquitoes, let alone capture them with flashlight aspirators. Despite these challenges, I was able to collect data and was reminded of the importance of adaptation in the face of adversity.

            This semester has also reminded me of the importance of not taking myself too seriously. This especially applies to speaking Spanish. I’ve had the opportunity to do so with fellow classmates, professors, and local people. It’s easy to get caught up worrying about saying or doing things wrong; you begin to think it is easier to say nothing at all as a result. I’ve had to remind myself that it is difficult to learn without making mistakes, failure is often an unacknowledged aspect of the educational process. Yes, it can be embarrassing when you mis-conjugate almost every verb in your sentence, but then you probably won’t do it as badly the next time. Throughout these past few weeks I have noticed myself getting more and more confident in my speaking abilities, though this may be a result of realizing that the world will most likely not end as a result of a few misplaced conjugations. As many Ticos would say, “Pura Vida”.

1 comment:

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