This experience has provided me the unique opportunity to aid in the conceptualization, development, and authorship of a research study. This opportunity has included much agency, which allowed for an authentic, true experience of what it is like to be a social science researcher. Further, this experience has served and continues to serve as a seed from which multiple other opportunities have grown.
What I wish was different
I do not wish things had been different. I am very grateful for this opportunity.
I would advise one to be patient, flexible, and open-minded. Things can be slow at times, but this is just a part of the process. Indeed, this is likely a sign of careful consideration of all facets of the study to ensure: a) the right questions are being asked, b) the questions will be answered, and c) the data collection will be effective, honest, and ethical. Flexibility and open-mindedness are crucial in terms of scheduling and changes. The scheduling for my project was primarily based on the specific task and my awareness of my strengths, shortcomings, and time-management skills. Additionally, I would advise one to be open to new ideas and changes. Certain questions and concerns may (and likely will) arise along the way which result in making changes to an original idea. In my experience, this appears to be a good sign--demonstrating a commitment to advancing the profession and society, as well as protecting the integrity of the scientific process.