By: Sarah Younis
A great Biocalculus professor I had freshman year at Benedictine University, Dr. Comar, once advised our class before we explored a research project to “dive into the unknown waters.” He was referring to the spontaneity that results from experiencing something that one might think is difficult for the first time, specifically referring to our Biocalculus research.
I remember the day we were assigned our research like it was yesterday; we were given an article that we had to simulate on a mathematical software and then prepare for and present at the ACCA Symposium at Elmhurst College. All of this was in a matter of a few months. Of course we were nervous, excited, but above all, very confused. We did not know where to begin, how to begin, and what to expect. Dr. Comar told us after assigning our articles that we were on our own, and if we had any questions, we could always ask him.
It is that feeling of independence that comes with the installation of trust and a word of encouragement that sometimes we have to dive into the unknown waters and it that made the research ever the more inspirational.
Despite our fear of having to research a higher-level mathematical paper after just a little more than a semester of Biocalculus, we were all able to successfully research and present our papers. There were things in the process that I did not understand completely: calculus functions that looked gibberish, symbols that I never knew even existed, and complicated equations. Yet, it all proved to be trivial when compared to the gain from the research at the finish line. It is the big picture that matters in the end and what one learns in the process.
Just like diving into a Biocalculus research, which was quite a high dive, let me tell you, one can dive into many things. It is important to keep in mind that one person’s jump might be another’s dive, so it is open to variation and for sure there is no standardized dive.
I believe that once in a while, one should dive into the unknown waters and be his or her own tester. I guarantee that if you don’t get swallowed up in the process by an alligator, you will definitely learn so much! Do not allow fear to inhibit your belief in yourself and your capabilities. In the end, you are what you allow yourself to be. So let’s dive into the unknown water together, let’s do something new today, tomorrow, soon, maybe even this summer or next year. It’s never too late. You will amaze yourself!