One of my first true moments of defeat was at the end of my freshman year. I failed almost all my classes that semester. I was just a .001 away from going into academic probation. I remember feeling so beat and like I failed at my first big step of living life on my own. “Why did I come here”? . “What am I even doing”? “How did this happen”? These were the thoughts running through my head. I made this tremendous sacrifice to leave and I was not taking advantage of the opportunity given to me. Almost reassuring me school was not meant for me. You see, it is in these moments of failure where all dreams and visions you had for yourself begin to become blurry. You start thinking you don't have what it takes to do things. It makes you want to blanket yourself in a sheet of comfort. Through time and experience, I learned two things about failure. One, failure is not taking a step back, it is taking a step in a new direction. Not every idea will be a success, not every exam will be your best, not every action will be the most impactful. Our failures allows the opportunity to develop a better version of you and your skills. Failure sometimes means we have to go back to the drawing board. Two, if you're not failing, your not living. Not saying all of life will be full of failure, but it is also not all success. The best success stories come from the worst failures. We fail to learn lessons in life, we fail to improve those ideas we have, we fail to create successes.
For the last two years of my undergraduate career, I started to focus on my overall career. Using my love for the social sciences, I was determined to discover the world of research. What they didn’t tell me, was it is actually not as easy as saying you want to do research. Let alone finding research positions on your own. For these last two years, I searched for positions in many ways, such as reviewing handshake, talking to people I knew, emailing past and current professors, looking for flyers on the wall, or whatever seemed to be a useful resource. To my avail, nothing was successful. It seemed my dreams of working on research were not going to happen anytime soon. Then before all hope was lost, someone pointed me in the direction of Dr. Ignacio Acevedo-Polakovich. I anxiously awaited for his reply because I was really excited about finally having a promising opportunity. I had no clue what Community Psychology was, but I did have maintained liking for Psychology. I met with him and some of the lab members to discuss projects and coming in there lab. Finally, someone was willing to give me their time of day and grant me my first steps as a researcher. I was and am very grateful to Dr. Acevedo-Polakovich and his team for supporting me and allowing me the opportunity to work alongside them. Although, I still have a way to go, I am thankful for the experience. What they never tell you is that in order to gain the things you want, you have to be persistent in obtaining them. I stayed persistent because I knew research was something I really wanted to do. I persisted because I knew I had the capability to help contribute knowledge to the world, and I'm glad to know someone believed in what I had to offer as well.