One of the benefits of a research assistantship is that I get to work on my own terms and my own time, so long as I met the project deadlines. While this flexibility is wonderful, it requires one to be incredibly self-disciplined. Sometimes, self-discipline is hard to work into a busy college student’s schedule.
All three years of my college career I have been a full-time student, research assistant, and leader in numerous organizations on campus. I managed quite well by keeping a calendar of due dates and consistently trying to work ahead of deadlines. Of course, there was the occasion where I would miss a project deadline amidst the chaos — it happens even to the best of us. I know this feeling better than anyone as I tackle graduate school decisions, my student organizations, two other jobs alongside a total of 24 credit hours in my final semester as an undergraduate student.
It is during times like this where I truly appreciated working in a research team rather as an individual. Aside from being able to bounce ideas off each other, we were able to shift work around as necessary in order to accommodate for our own busy schedules. Frequent team meetings where we could be open and honest about our progress on a task and make adjustments as necessary kept the projects on schedule. It was also reassuring to know that I could rely on my teammates and know that it was okay to ask for help.
Being a research assistant takes some discipline when juggling school and other extracurriculars, but this discipline will follow me for the rest of my life as I know my world will only get busier and busier.