Lake Menomin June 2015
Some of my favorite things to do include baking, dancing, and spending time with kids. For me, all of these things have influenced my views on life in general, but also have had an impact on the way I view research.
Baking is something that my mom taught me at a young age. Instead of getting my sister and I an Easy-Bake Oven, she figured we could just make an actual sized cake or cookies. I love that you can put a bunch of different ingredients together, that by themselves don’t have much flavor, but when combined in the right way, all the parts work cohesively together to make something great. I think research can be the same way. The individual pieces- stuffing envelopes for surveys, learning how to do statistics, or canvassing- by themselves are not that meaningful, but when everything comes together you can get a result that couldn’t have happened without the individual components.
I started dancing when I was 6 years old and have learned a lot of important things from it. Not only do you learn how to work with others (another important research and life lesson) but also, that in order to improve your own technique, you have to put in the time and effort. Ballet was especially difficult. To be better you have to put in a lot of hours, practice, and be dedicated to reach your goals. It is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun, and something that I appreciate so much more because I experienced how difficult it can be.
Lastly, I have always enjoyed working with kids. I started babysitting at age 12, and have a nanny job back home. Spending time with kids has taught me responsibility and that caring for someone other than myself is truly rewarding. I think that has been especially relevant to the LAKES project because in the short time that I have been here, I have come to really care about the Lake and the town of Menomonie. I want to make a difference and contribute research that will hopefully make an impact for them. In August I will be moving back to California, but the work that I have done will contribute to something that will still be here, even when I am not. Children have also opened my eyes to looking at things in a different way. Often, I overcomplicate things or can get overwhelmed by the obstacles in front of me. Kids, on the other hand, often see the simple and beautiful things in life and remind me to live in the moment and just have fun.
I am still unsure of my future research interests and what area of economics I want to go into. So although these things that I enjoy may not directly be the topics that I investigate (although if there is a branch of economics in which we bake cookies, I would sign up!) they have all been an influencing factor in how I view and have started to appreciate the research process.