It’s the start of the second semester of my second year at Rice, and I already have several new things to consider: new classes, new professors, new opportunities. In addition, I have new responsibilities – namely, figuring out my academic plans and declaring my major(s). Thankfully, I took care of the latter task at the end of my freshman year, but there is still more to do. Now that I know what I’m majoring in, I have to start figuring out which classes to take and when, decide between various job and internship opportunities, and try to gain research experience in the fields of psychology that interest me the most. Sophomore year has been a treat to say the least, and I am continuously adapting to the varied aspects of the college experience.
It’s not all tedious tasks and distressing deadlines, though. Sophomore year has given me so many opportunities that I am thankful for. Two highlights include my role as a research assistant in one of Rice’s largest psychology labs, as well as my on-campus job.
In the Hebl lab, I work as a research assistant for various ongoing I/O (industrial/organizational) psychology projects. At Rice, there are so many research opportunities to choose from, and it’s not uncommon to start receiving emails recruiting research assistants as early as the first few weeks of your freshman year. As a Psychology major, I really appreciate having the chance to work in the lab of one of my favorite Psychology professors. Working alongside graduate and undergraduate students alike, I’ve developed a network of supportive friends who share my interests. Despite being integrated into my actual class schedule (fulfilling a designated amount of credit hours), my role as a research assistant is also, paradoxically, a nice respite amid my more formal, lecture courses. At Rice, coming across these opportunities is rather easy; you’ll often find that it’s more difficult to narrow them down and decide on a particular one!
I also work on-campus as a consultant at the Center for Written, Oral, and Visual Communication. First-year students are particularly familiar with the CWOVC, since several FWIS (first year writing seminars) classes require visits to the CWOVC for various assignments. As a consultant, I’m constantly learning about my own writing style and being exposed to the ideas and styles of others. This exchange, wherein I help fellow students but also gain some self-awareness of and self-improvement regarding my own communication skills, has made my job a rewarding experience during my busy sophomore year.
Everyone’s college experience is different, and we are all swamped with different responsibilities – which only seem to increase as our time in college goes on. The good news is that growing up in college is not just about making decisions, or meeting dates and deadlines. There are so many opportunities for us as college students, and as a sophomore, I am beginning to better realize the extent and appeal of the countless opportunities offered at Rice.