As I told people that I took two statistics courses this summer, I admitted that it was not the most exciting way to spend my vacation. Although calculating F-ratios and determining alpha levels could be interesting, the highlight of summer school was the fact that it allowed me to be part of the University of Toronto’s work study program.
A work study is a way for students to work part-time for their particular school and field of interest with more accommodating hours and beneficial firsthand experience. Since I am in the psychology specialist program, I was so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to work in a behavioural research lab. The professor of the studies, Spike Lee, fellow research assistants, and I share a common passion to learn about human behaviour and mind. Dr. Lee’s lab focuses on social psychology. Whether it was gathering field data or welcoming participants, setting up the experiment room or putting up posters, I know all the tasks that I had to do in the lab helped me get a better understand of my program and improved my research skills.
Personally, the most challenging part of this psychology study, was to gather a diverse group of participants; participants are the source of data. Some studies require participants to sign up for an experiment while some studies require natural observations of people. If we have no participants, the research simply cannot be continued. This is why a lot of psychology courses suggest students to participate in at least one experiment to gain participations marks or labs offer some form of financial compensation.
If your educational institution has a psychology department, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the department’s website to see if there are any experiments in which you can participate. You could make a little extra money, or participate simply to contribute to the scientific community!
After about four months in the lab, I have become close friends with the researcher assistants, made unforgettable memories, and developed as a psychology student. Now, as I write this blog post, I am getting ready for my second year of university and I have plans to continue working in Dr. Lee’s lab!