Cristina Perez Diaz: At the SEPA (Southeastern Psychological Association) Conference

When I was told to participate in a research that would later be presented in the SEPA conference, I couldn’t help but ask, SEPA, what is SEPA? I agreed to Dr. Harris’s proposal, because of course I trusted his judgement that I could productively contribute, but also because I was once told that college is about taking risks and saying yes to new experiences. I am so glad that that day I took a leap of faith and said yes, because it was without any doubt one of the most amazing experiences I have had in college.

The morning we were presenting I couldn’t keep my nerves under control, I had never had a prior experience like that one and I did not know what to expect. As I stood in front of the poster that had my name as one of the author, I rehearsed in my mind the few things I had memorize in case I froze. A couple of young girls approached me and asked, “would you explain a little about this research?” I swallowed saliva, and started to talk, as I subtly looked at a few notes I had taken. Without even realizing the words began to flowed smoothly, one person after another, minute after minute, until it was time to start packing up.

I had a lot of interesting conversations with fellow students and teachers, who seemed genuinely interested not only on the poster I was presenting but about my own interests in psychology and future research I was interested in conducting. I even was asked to present research on another conference during April. I engaged in debates about politics, and climate change, personality factors and family dynamics, about Freud and Trump. I kept some email addresses and phone numbers from people I met and expressed interested in knowing about my future research on sibling dynamics, competition and perfectionism. In conclusion, this experience has served to motivate me even further to pursue a career that is linked to psychology and possibly public relations, since I truly enjoyed the interpersonal aspect of the conference.

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