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The Beginning

Jessica Watkins's picture

If you asked me four months ago what I would be doing this summer, chances are you would receive one of three responses:

1) "It's only January! There's two feet of snow on the ground and you're asking me about summer?"

2) "I'm not sure yet, but ideally I would like a paid internship in Philly."

3) "Well I applied for a bunch of journalism internships..."

Note that what I'm actually doing is not found in any of the above responses. Go figure. However, I'm more excited about this summer's current potential than any other plans I could have made. 

I'm a thinker by nature, a writer by practice. The art of crafting strings of letters into words that  empower, inspire and motivate others to think about new ideas is what I live for, and probably  explains my newfound (but undying, mind you) love for journalism. I'm easily amused and amazed; I'm fascinated by behavior, language and our ability as human beings to make words work for us. I believe storytelling is the best way to get a point across and help someone learn or understand. So that's what I've been doing for the past semester--telling stories. Writing for my college newspaper has been one of the best experiences of my life, hands down. The combination of reporting and constantly interacting with faculty and students, as well as the chance to immortalize their story in all its inky, papery splendor, activated a part of my personality, and no doubt my mind, that I wasn't aware existed.

All this may seem irrelevant to the work I will be doing this summer with Professor Grobstein and two undergraduate colleagues, but the wonderful world of communication and my summer job are hopelessly intertwined.  Our discussion and research on individuality, learning and the  unconscious mind are catalysts in a chain reaction that is spreading like wildfire across the globe.  I will be reading and writing. I will be thinking. I will be collaborating. I will be playing Sudoku for the first time in order to prove a point about unconscious learning that could help change the face of education and community as we know it.  The greatest thing I can bring to this project is my curiosity, of which there is an endless supply, and my desire to apply what I already know to the unknown.  Hopefully the skills journalism has taught me will prove valuable in this setting; hopefully I will walk away with a fuller understanding of why people act the way they do and how we can use this knowledge to better function in society.  After all, everyone has a story to tell--even Sudoku puzzles.