Recently, I was granted the honor of traveling to Austria to present research that a few upperclassmen recruited me to help with. When I first came to CBU, I would have never thought this would be in my cards, but as I stood there staring at the huge plane carrying us to our layover in Spain, I knew it was all too real.
So what do you do when you travel to another country to a conference completely filled with graduates and professors? If you answered, “Cry,” you are partially right, at least on my mother’s part. I am pretty sure she tracked my plane throughout the whole ride. However, as much as I love my mom, the story lies in what happened once I finally got to Vienna, home to many glorious people like Sigmund Freud, Hans Asperger, and Wolfgang Mozart. How in the world was I going to do this?
After sleeping off the inevitable jet lag, the adventure carried on. The conference was held in The Hofburg, a place where it looked like Kings and Queens would vacation. Once again, it struck me that I was an undergraduate travelling the world with research I had worked so hard to complete. I was only involved in the data collection and analysis part, so I can only imagine how it felt for the authors of the project. As we finally walked through the doors, I got a badge with my name on it that clarified what institution I was from and the name of the conference, “Society for Psychophysiology Research.” This was the third conference I’ve attended, but this one was so much more, because I was out of my element. When the conference finally started, I was surprised at how much I could recall. I was able to sit there and defend the thought process and reasoning behind our poster, all while also drinking in the knowledge of others. You would not believe how many people approached us to simply spitball ideas for a new project.
In the middle of a foreign country, with a bunch of new people, I found myself and felt at home in the little bits around me; I found solace in the knowledge everyone came to share. As I wandered through the different posters, new ideas popped up, and I realized this is what I wanted to keep doing for the rest of my life. I want to travel and experience the commonality of knowledge in a room filled with total strangers.
If you think all the academic stuff was cool, you should have seen the adventures afterwards. We found new places to dine where they served us juicy sausages for a small price. We experienced the Natural History Museum and found more creatures than we cared to know were out there in the world. We got into trouble at the Museum Der Illusionen. We were able to see how the locals lived by taking the U-Bahn (subway). We had so much fun in that small week we were there. We exercised our intellectual curiosity by visiting the Freud Museum and learned about one of psychology’s founding fathers. I would go back every time and relive those awe-inspiring moments.
Cognitive Neuroscience Minor