UC Davis undergraduate, 4th year
Major: Environmental Science and Management
Throughout my time working as an undergraduate researcher, I have been hard at work creating an experimental design regarding the psychological effects of therapeutic horses (and now donkeys!) on humans. While it has been a long process of reading, writing, rereading, rewriting, creating presentations and discussions, and did I mention more rereading and rewriting, it seems that the direction I had been headed was a bit too complicated. While I could sense this as I was creating it, I struggled to either completely start over, or edit it in a way that results in the changing of a significant portion. Both options seemed daunting, so I trucked along with my own idea and tried to simplify it the best that I could, but after a presentation and discussion with Becca and the fellow researchers, it seems the design is a bit too complicated.
While I entirely agree with this sentiment and have been wanting to make such simplifying changes, I can’t say I’m not a little disappointed. I have worked since the very first day of this job from the beginning of the summer on the experimental design that I presented, and having to start over is a bit disheartening.
However, I know that all I have done is not at all a waste of time or a failure. In fact, the work I have put in has set us in an even better direction towards a more simplified, streamlined experimental design. All of the hours of reading, researching, and editing have helped us make something like a first draft, which has often been a struggle of mine to make. I like to make my first drafts perfect, but this comes at a cost; if the professor or boss doesn’t like it, it’s hard to change it. I quickly become married to many of my ideas and have a hard time seeing any other way of going about them. But, with a little help from Becca on what seems like the best ideas moving forward, I feel confident that my next draft will be at least a step closer to what seems like the best option for our research design.
Although I wish the foundation of the experimental design came more from myself, I do know that my efforts were not in vain, and acted as a trailblazer for the new journey ahead. Although my ideas didn’t make it entirely into the final cut, I know my efforts contributed to the results we are hoping to see. Research design takes a long time- years even. I was not expecting to hit it right on the head the first time around, although I definitely thought it would be pretty neat to be able to do so.
This experience was beneficial for me in terms of learning how to “divorce” your own first draft and foundational ideas when they may not be hitting the mark, and set out on a new perspective and ideas. This will take me far in my future academic experiences and beyond, as sometimes it just takes a little frameshift to help it all come together. This will definitely not be the last time our research design is completely changed and reformatted, and I look forward to the many edits, rereads, and rewrites ahead.
Green Care Blog
Here you can find blog posts from each Green Care Lab intern. We'll be talking about our research process, the benefits of Green Care therapy, and sharing pictures of our work. Follow along with us!