Science is hard! ;-) Also, it is worth the work!
It was amazing being, not just an attendee of the conference, but a real part of it through the poster presentations.
I already had a pretty good idea of how astronomers do science, but NITARP helped me see more exactly how data is collected, processed, and analyzed. It helped me also see that I can do astronomy myself, and can make a contribution beyond my own classroom. Not only can I analyze astronomical data to find scientifically useful results, but I can publish my work as a poster and be part of this community. I did not feel like a stranger or usurper or even out of place – it felt like I belonged.