“So it goes.”

So it goes. Vonnegut’s wise words have followed me to the southern coast this weekend for my first work trip out in the field. For the past few days, Oregon State University graduate Katie and I have visited over one hundred houses in attempts to administer surveys. Our goal in this study is to assess quality of life, well-being, and attitudes of residents towards marine reserves on the Oregon Coast. The results of this study will then be provided to researchers, community leaders, and policy makers to inform decision-making.

Katie Williams (OSU) and Sarah Coffin (OSG) on the Coos Bay survey administration trip on July 15, 2017.

As we are still in the pilot study phase of our research, we anticipated a few hiccups as we continue to hone in to the balance between strong methodology and realistic limitations. As expected of any applied research study, many things have in fact gone awry. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the redeeming cup of coffee that sits in front of me as I write.

City map planning at So It Goes coffeehouse in Coos Bay, Oregon.

In my mind, a research project has many similarities to a relationship. It has its high and low points – all of which are testaments to the development of a rewarding finished product. Though low points are not typically glamorized, I find them just as constructive both for the growth of myself as a researcher as well as for my project. Introspection at this time is often a necessity. In attempts to juggle four projects, I’ve found myself mildly overwhelmed by this relationship. So it goes.

In addition to reflection specific to my daily work, this internship has provided me with a glance into future directions. With graduation from my undergraduate program nearing this fall, I am now faced with the question: “Do I want a Masters degree or a Ph.D.?” More importantly, “Am I ready for this?” I feel fortunate to be surrounded by advisors with both professional and academic degrees who have shared their experiences with me. Amongst all of their stories, I have noted a common theme of sacrifice.

An old friend once told me that, “you get out of it what you put in to it”. His words stay with me now as I mull through the decisions in front of me. Though my end results in research have always been exceedingly rewarding, I now strive to find a balance between my academic and personal goals. Perhaps my next step is to go abroad and travel. Perhaps it is to apply to schools. No matter my choice, I am thankful to be part of a program that challenges my perspective and encourages frequent spurts of growth. There is nowhere I would rather be than here. So it goes.

Kurt Vonnegut.

 

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About Sarah Ann Coffin

Sarah is an undergraduate student at California State University, Monterey Bay. In fall 2017, she will graduate with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Statistics. After graduation, Sarah plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Psychology to further study how psychological concepts can be applied to encourage environmental care. By understanding what encourages individual environmental concern, Sarah hopes to provide communities with effective methods to promote daily environmentally friendly behaviors and overall improved environmental care. After gaining experience in the field, Sarah looks forward to returning to the university system as a professor in psychology.

1 thought on ““So it goes.”

  1. Congratulations on getting out there administering surveys! I recall that is what you said you were most excited for this summer. Plus you were able to visit the south coast, which is a beautiful site!

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