At the end of last year, sophomore Ryan Tweed was presented with an amazing opportunity. As the rising junior now recalls, “All around me, my friends were finding these incredible jobs and internships. One girl was going to be working at Boeing, and my roommate had found a lab where he could conduct experiments with sea turtles. I admit, I was getting a little nervous about my own summer plans. But then I learned about all these cool grants to study topics of your choice all over the world. I immediately applied.” Unfortunately, Tweed didn’t receive a grant, but he didn’t let that stop him.

As spring quarter drew to a close, Tweed shipped out to his native Chicago, prepared to conduct original research. “A lot of students try to go somewhere foreign, like Africa or Vancouver,” explained Tweed. “But I wanted to stay close to home. It felt more personal, like I could really make a difference with my work.” Tweed lived on site in order to truly immerse himself in his work, which concerned the effects of a child’s extended adolescence on middle class families. His subjects were his own mother and father, as well as his younger sister. “Again, I wanted to make it personal, so I could dig in and show the world something new. This kind of work has never been done before,” Tweed told this reporter enthusiastically.

Tweed spent his summer gathering mountains of data and painstakingly recording it in his field notebook. He plied his subjects with insightful, revealing questions, like “When is dinner going to be ready,” “can I borrow the car tonight,” and “but I took the trash out last week! Why can’t Katy do it?” The results, Tweed is certain, will be astounding once he has finished analyzing them and finds a journal willing to publish.

Like Jane Goodall among the apes, Tweed says he was changed by his experience. “You can’t live there with them, among them, for three months without it changing you. Sometimes I began to feel like I was one of them. Maybe I was in too deep.” As of press time, Tweed was considering publishing a tell-all autobiography about his journey to the brink of suburban mediocrity and back.

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