MITACS Chapter 4: Saying goodbye + some reflections

By: Eva Kristinova (University of Regina, Canada, Mitacs Research Internship Scheme 21-22)

So there it goes. Just like that it’s time to say goodbye to another wonderful experience, in a wonderful place, having met some wonderful people. Although three months might not seem like such a long time, the sheer immersion of both the every-day and the extraordinary events is enough to produce a tear or two. This is especially the case when, one after the other, all your Mitacs acquaintances, turned good friends, who’s project started before yours, start saying their goodbyes. As I waved to the parting cars and taxis, it all started feeling a bit surreal. In a few days, that will be me in that car.

And so my nightly mind-wanderings turned into reflections on the past three months. I truly felt that those three short months changed me as a person, and my perspective on what’s to come. First and foremost, I survived a pretty intense research environment… I can do longer term research! Not a bad motivation for someone who is about to start their final-year dissertation. What’s more, I can enjoy the process.

But more so than pushing me intellectually, this trip left a personal impact. They say that any and all experience is a good thing. If it’s positive, you enjoy it; if it’s negative, you learn from it. And while there were a few downs here and there, negativity recall bias to the side, I truly cannot seem to forget all the good times. Looking back on an experience, and realising you really, for the first time, found the time to fully enjoy yourself is quite something.

And so, as the next call for applications rolls out, I encourage any and all students with even a remote interest in research to give it a shot. I know it’s a lot of writing, and CV polishing, and interviews, but if my posts tell you anything, they should scream that it is worth it. Tips? Well, there are really three selection processes – by UoM based on your expression of interest, by Mitacs based on your research experience and motivation, and by your supervisory professor based on your suitability for a given project. And this means you have to try equally hard throughout the process, probably even more during that last interview part.

So, make sure that your expression of interest really expresses your genuine interest, update your CV with all the research you have ever done, even if it’s just for a course assignment, approach someone who knows you as a good researcher, and not just as a good student, for recommendation, and think long and hard about your preferred project choices. You don’t want to be stuck working somewhere, or on something that you don’t want to.

Finally, best of luck on your trip to Canada! Because this will truly be a summer you never forget.

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