The other tidbit I want to put out there is something Andy talked about in his monthly – basically how cool it’s been to get to know faculty in the biology department, certainly his mentor, and how he is beginning to feel more and more comfortable with the idea of himself becoming part of that community of researchers. It can sometimes feel like faculty are on an entirely different level, but they are just people who were in the same place as each of you at one point in their career. The fact that most faculty are generous with their time and make themselves accessible by mentoring students is terrific. It’s part of the cycle, for sure. Seeing you guys have realizations like this makes this line of work very satisfying.
Here’s what Andy had to say:
“….an interesting rite of passage type experience has occurred for me in the past year or two. Early in college, the professors and pretty much anyone with a doctoral level degree seemed on a pedestal to me. They were unapproachable with anything unrelated to biology and were something I had no chance or even desire of becoming. That feeling has obviously passed, and I am now taking the first steps to becoming part of that group. Actually getting to know a few professors on a personal level has been an eye-opening experience. On several occasions I have related past experiences in my life to nearly identical occurrences in one of my professors’. I see myself acting in similar ways, asking similar questions, and having conversations both scientific and social. Three years ago this would have all seemed so foreign to me, and even now it seems a bit crazy at times. I feel like part of the group already though, so hopefully all that’s left is to actually get my degree!”
--Andy Harris, 2010 McNair Scholar