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My Journey, Travails and Learnings as a Student Researcher
Growing up, I have never imagined that I would reach the point in my life to becoming a student researcher. Like, as a normal kid before, being a good and productive student at school was what really mattered to me. I, however, was fascinated everytime I thought about the complexity of this world. As I attempt to fathom all the phenomena, I can't help but just to make the puzzle in my head bigger and bigger.
It just happened during my days in 6th grade when, the head in Science department was looking for 3 representatives that would compete in the district level. Fortunately, I was one of them. We won in the district level against 5 schools, competed at the division and was hailed first against 9 schools and reached the prestigious Regional Science and Technology Fair. It was comprised of 12 schools, and we managed to achieve the fourth place. Although we failed it to make it in the national level and compete against the schools all over the Philippines, it was still a history made in our province being the first elementary students to compete and place in the regionals.
My journey did not end there yet. During my 8th grade, the Research coordinator in my present school was looking for representatives to compete again in a science fair. There, another challenge had just began. I was in the individual-physical science category that time, and to be honest, I had no knowledge about physical science at all. After months of preparation and hard works, my effort was finally paid off after I placed first and bested among the other 9 participants. The other challenge that time was, I was the only junior high school student in the category and all of them are seniors. Days after that, we prepared again for the upcoming regional science fair. I placed fourth that time, and I was so happy that I managed to stand up on the stage in front of massive number of people.
One year fast forward, a science fair was to be held again. Same routine, same category but not exactly the same fate. I, along with my coach, prepared well for the upcoming competition. That time, I only placed second. But, it did not matter to me knowing that I still could compete in the regionals. I was grateful contented about it. The 2019th regional science fair took place again, and we tried our luck. Unfortunately, I failed to enter the top and ended-up having no awards. It was saddening, but I had to accept it and move on. The worse part is, I did not expect that this would be my last content because of the interference of COVID-19. But, life must still go.
However, behind all those positive things I mentioned above, hide too much travails and emotions that I had to surpass.
1.) I had to submit multiple research plans.l, before my coach approved my final project.
When starting a research project, there should be a research plan to be submitted by the student researcher. That would include all the details like proposed title, goals, method and etc. If not wrong, impossible to achieve. If possible to achieve, the concept is wrong In my case, I had my all my research plans thrown in the trashes until my final plan was approved. There, I learned to achieve perfection, although nothing is perfect.
2.) During the 2018 Science fair, we had a misunderstanding with my coach.
My coach that time was meticulous, and he rarely helped in doing all papers and doing the actual conduct of experiment. He left all those tasks to me, perhaps he had so much trust in me. There came a time that I made a mistake, and he was so disappointed. During the awarding, he was not the one I was with on stage. And, he cried when he knew I won the first place. Then, I learned that it's okay to make mistake. What is not okay is when you allowed that mistake to take over your life.
3.) I almost gave up.
My schedule was hectic. I was excused at class all the time, and I had to cope up in academic to be not left behind. I had to balance academic and extracurricular activities. Doing all the paper works alone made me so stressed. From a research plan, to conducting an experiment with different trials, to analyzing the results, to making a research paper, and to making a board. Fortunately, I did not mind all of these and I fought even the situation is too complicated.
Our journey is associated with travails and, travails create learnings. As a student researcher, I have been through a lot, but also learned so much from it. What's more important than winning is not giving up. Fighting is somehow equivalent to winning. In order to become a winner, be a fighter, like a student researcher as me.