The Ebbs and Flows of Research

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My internship at University of North Carolina’s (UNC) Institute of Marine Sciences has helped me gain valuable insight into geological research. From measuring oyster densities under the beating sun to photographing hundreds of fossilized shells in a remodeled dark room, I was reminded of the persistence and patience required for this career path. The lab and I experienced multiple equipment failures, trips foiled by the weather and tides, and an endless list of minor challenges that just made bad situations even worse. But through it all, dedication and a little bit of ingenuity were enough to overcome anything that stood in the way.

I learned the most during these moments where I was reminded of the importance of both flexibility and perseverance. As important as it was for me to learn about North Carolina’s coastal geology and the methods used for quantifying or analyzing core data, the opportunity to simply observe the culture and work in this lab was enough for me to want to continue pursuing research.

There is a thrill that comes when trying to come up with questions that have not yet been asked or attempting to answer them with the data you worked so hard to retrieve. Thanks to this internship, I am more confident with my plan to go to graduate school and work on a project of my own. This internship has also confirmed that fieldwork is something I would like to continue doing. Despite all the time and energy sacrificed, it is so very rewarding and is also an amazing opportunity to witness the natural world in all its glory.

Written by Robin Kim, BC Class of 2018

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