By Samantha Yang
On the Friday evening of the last day of classes, many students were out celebrating and toasting the end of the term. But not us diligent Psychology 217 students.
Instead, we celebrated the sharing of knowledge at the Psychology 217 poster session. It was here that every student in the course was able to present their research from the experiments they designed throughout the year. It was hard not to be swept in the rush of excitement as hundreds of students milled around, going from poster to poster, asking questions and learning about the unique experiments that others were able to conceive. This event, primarily organized by Dr. Catherine Rawn, served to give the students a firsthand experience of how researchers present their findings in conventions and poster sessions. The course itself was very hands on as we were able to design our own experiment, collect data, and interpret it. The course teaches Psychology students the essentials in research and aims to instill an ethical and honest approach to furthering scientific achievement in Psychology. What we were taught was then immediately applied in this culminating poster session event.
Despite being nervous at the thought of presenting my research to fellow students and esteemed faculty members, I soon found that I was thoroughly enjoying the experience. I never before had the opportunity to showcase research that I had conducted and really enjoyed explaining our methods and findings as well as answering inquiries and questions. My nervousness immediately dissipated as the evening went on and was replaced by a feeling of pride and sense of belonging. Among these scholars and psychology nerds, I shared mutual goals and aspirations.
Even more interesting were the posters and experiments of other students. I was surprised by the variety and creativity of ideas that people wanted to test and how their results turned out. Experiments included studies done on the effects of word structure and judgement, the impact of commuting on stress levels, and even the measurement of Instagram likes on self-esteem! It seemed that any idea imaginable was illustrated through graphs and brightly decorated posters. The evening was inspiring, and the experiments themselves were quite impressive given the constraints we had. Despite the frequent, long research meetings and frantic group messages about deadlines and papers, it was all worth it when given sound advice and praise from graduate students and faculty members. I will remember this experience as an important milestone marking the beginning of my academic pursuit of Psychology.
About the Author:
Samantha Yang is a second year undergraduate student who plans to double major in Psychology and English Literature. She aspires to achieve a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology and become a high school counselor. She currently works in the Psychology Department at UBC as a Communications Assistant.