Week 7: Figuring it Out

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Sunday, July 18, 2021


Hannah Wistrand

This week was a lot of figuring things out. I know, 7 weeks in, I should have it figured out by now, right? 


First of all, I would like to mention that nobody ever *really* has it figured out. The more I talk with seasoned professionals, the more I am made aware of this fact. The people we admire the most are still constantly learning, and I think that is part of what makes them admirable. Having that awareness of what you don’t know is sometimes even more important than the confidence you carry in what you do know. Being able to see how your skills might be supplemented by someone else or vice versa is an incredibly valuable team skill. The SPS interns actually had a resume building workshop this week in which we created resumes of our combined skills. While this was a great exercise and learning opportunity for individuals, it was also a great chance to see how people from different backgrounds could really work together and supplement one another, as we joked “if only we were one person”!


That’s something I think a lot of people forget. Knowing how you fit into the pre-existing team at a job is equally as important as the technical skills you offer. Because, although you’re not all one person, you can work cohesively like one.


I’ve had a couple other examples of “figuring it out” this week as well. At work, we’ve been preparing for our first training sessions next week for the vaccine hesitancy campaign. Because this is a new program and a new collaboration, there has been a lot of brainstorming, trying to figure out how to best analyze the engagement of our members/participants and maintain strong communication with everyone. I have also spent this week figuring out how to develop a social media revival for PhysicsCentral - solutions which have included drawing on other people much more experienced than I am and admitting what I do not know. 


On the SPS side of things, I dedicated some time this week to writing my abstract for my final presentation. I have written abstracts and presentations before, but this process was new, definitely requiring some question-asking and figuring it out. I have never written an abstract before the presentation before, and found myself quite lost at the beginning of the week. However, with lots of help from my mentor, my friends, and my family, I was able to find my way through the task and come up with a comprehensive piece to describe my chaotic, ever-changing summer of work. 


It has been quite the week, and quite the summer. As I near the end, I recognize how thankful I am for all the support and guidance I have received as I continue to figure it all out. I know there is still a lot of work to be done, and challenges to face, but I am starting to feel very well equipped for both this job and my future as a physicist.


Stay curious, everyone


Hannah Wistrand