Fieldwork Final Reflection
New York University
Fieldwork Final Reflection
Fieldwork has been the one of the corner stones of both my personal and professional development. Before this course sequence psychology was mostly information and terms that I would memorize in order to give names and labels to certain behaviors and phenomena. I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in psychology and to learn the mysteries behind why people behave and think in certain ways. But if you asked me what specific position I wanted to obtain in the field of psychology I would usually say I wanted to be a professor. That would be my choice and that image would occupy daydreams on how a life as a professor would be. I know now that I didn’t have a clue on what being a professor really meant or the academic development that must be followed to achieve this goal.
All that changed once I began fieldwork here at New York University. Beginning with fieldwork I and the art of APA style, writing literature reviews, and all the research that goes behind a good research paper, I was starting to get a true picture and feel of what working in psychology is really all about. From fieldwork 1 I learned how to write about a topic and use evidence to substantiate my argument. I learned that most topics of interest have been studied before and also have been studied in different ways to the point of differing explanations and theories coming from different viewpoints. I learned that psychology is a science that is marked by the scientific method and that scientists study correlational, the way phenomena are related to each other, descriptive, to outline all the important features of something of importance, and experimental, to come as close as possible to finding the causes of something of interest.
I would say that fieldwork I has definitely been the foundation into establishing how the real world utilizes this discipline and in explaining the experience of life and how we live it. By the end of fieldwork I, I had an accurate idea of what working in psychology was. This I achieved through the long hours researching a career topic of choice that I would like to pursue for my final project. I became extremely familiar on what counseling psychology entailed as well as became familiar with several other fields by way of group presentations conducted by my peers. With this knowledge in hand, as well as my experience in research methods I, I knew that I wanted to pick a field site that was encompassed by counseling psychology and that had a research aspect to it. Hence my choice of joining a research team that was working with domestic violence victims and that was grounded in counseling psychology.
The beginning of fieldwork II was experienced with mixed emotions. I had a solid foundation in doing literature reviews, the ins and outs of APA style, and a basic understanding of research methods. To tell you the truth I was anticipating my field site to be more research oriented doing data analysis, collection, or similar tasks. But to my surprise that wasn’t at all what I would be doing. Here ushers in the experience of being a facilitator, an opportunity to connect theory and practice. Here is where I learned the applications of all the research that is done and how it can be applied to community justice. Here is where I learned the word intervention for the first time. I was completely absorbed by the idea that psychology with its theories and research studies could be applied to bettering people’s lives. That it could be used to make a difference, make a positive impact on people who really needed it. Here is where I learned the term advocacy, being a voice for the people who didn’t have one.
I have for once in my life felt like I had a purpose. I decided then and there that I would strive to become a part of this great endeavor of interventions and public advocacy. Here is where I began my passion for community psychology. Being a part of Dr. Ali’s research team has impacted my life and thoughts in numerous ways. I was assigned, or should I say I volunteered, to facilitate in two sites. A domestic violence shelter and an upstart project at a local school for grade school children. These two sites were day and night. At the domestic violence shelter I had the opportunity to work with children who were at a cross roads in their lives. A time when their whole lives were in transition if you will. They were recovering from abusive environments and all they have known for some time was chaos and uncertainties. I learned compassion by working with these children, and I’ve learned that a little understanding and attention goes a long way. That the world at times is an unfair and harsh place and that everyone needs help from one another. As I progressed from session to session, I became more confident in my abilities and began to feel comfortable with my role within the program. The more I participated the more I would feel a part of something special, something that was trying to make a difference in peoples lives.
Fieldwork II has taught me the reality of working in the field and applying intervention research toward social goals. It has brought to the surface the day-to-day emotions and experiences that people traverse while trying to survive and make sense of their lives. That is what the field site component thus far has helped me to understand and appreciate within a psychological viewpoint as well as a humanistic sense. The lecture portion of fieldwork II has introduced me to the world of ethnography and observing the world through the eyes and experiences of others, after all good research depends on good observation. I have also been grounded into the world of ethical behavior and its place at the core of what drives us as researchers. To put the well being of people well above any other concerns. A perfect guiding principle to compliment the work I was doing at my field site. A guideline for how people should be treated and what my responsibilities were as a facilitator within the intervention framework.
For Fieldwork III, I decided to remain at my previous field site because I felt it was where I was meant to be. At this point in my academic career, guided by my experiences in fieldwork, and a growing love for research methods, I have seriously decided to go to graduate school to obtain my masters degree in human development and social intervention. I have been given the opportunity to facilitate in four different field sites, two of them upstarts in which we would be exploring new aspects of the program, and I was excited to be a part of this great program. For the lecture portion of fieldwork I could only describe it in one way. We are like soldiers that have been trained for battle. At the beginning we were like new recruits who had no training or no idea of telling our lefts from our rights. By the time we entered fieldwork III we were well-trained field operatives that could conduct a full-scale study and make compelling arguments through research. We were ready for war!
I want to end this reflection by acknowledging all the influential people who have made a positive impact on my academic career and from whom I have learned a great deal about myself and where I see my future prospects. To Dilal, for teaching me the mantra of APA style and its importance in the frame work of psychological writing and research. And for also allowing me the opportunity to become familiar with my chosen path in psychology. To Professor Godfrey, for teaching me the ins and outs of research methods, and giving me a fined tuned lens in which to conduct research, for research methods compliments fieldwork like two sides of a coin. To Matt, for bringing me into the world of ethical principles that have helped to shape my conduct and way of thinking while interacting with the many participants through my field site. To Dr. Ali and Dr. Mowry, for giving me the opportunity to find a passion in life and for putting me on a path that I will follow for years to come. To my fellow research team members and co-facilitators, for being right there as we worked towards a common goal of social advocacy in trying to make our participants lives a little better and more manageable. To Joanne, for being there with invaluable insight whenever we were left unsure or taken back by any occurrences at our field sites, and for creating rich dialogue at each supervision session encouraging open discussion and learning among peers. And finally to Adina, for bringing your no nonsense attitude to the field work experience and treating us like the developing professionals that we have become. And for accepting from us no less then what you know that we are capable of. I view you as the final point of inspection that any well designed and crafted NYU trained researcher must pass to be 100% certified. Thank you to you all for with out each of your insights and special talents we would be incomplete and just a little less knowledgeable…