There’s a common misconception that research is primarily for students hoping to pursue higher degrees or attend graduate school, but it actually has so many invaluable benefits for anyone. While it may not be for everyone as a long-term commitment, the experience alone teaches you so much.
The basics to research
Research can come in a variety of different forms, from bench work with in-person laboratory settings, remote work from home, interactive work where you may need to actively perform tasks such as surveying, and even office-setting research work where you can work on-site. Additionally, there are a wide range of topics being researched from food science, sports, public health, student success, to neuroscience and cognition. There is something for everyone.
Research comes with a lot of important skills that can help you build professional experience regardless of plans for higher education. Specifically, research teaches you to manage your time while maintaining commitment which is often rigorous, collaborating with a wide range of academic groups from peers, professors, to graduate students that you can learn from. Moreover, it makes you feel purposeful as part of a greater cause or meaningful project (you can get published too!). Research is a responsibility and prideful accomplishment that requires critical thinking and you get to learn something new about a topic you find interesting. In addition, it challenges you to think with higher level understanding. From improving your presentation skills, which is a great asset in modern society, to writing efficiently, learning how to articulate your thoughts, and learning to adapt to different settings, this experience can provide more than you think! Most importantly, research is a great way to get mentorship. From the networking and connections you make through your journey, each individual is at a different stage in their professional career and can be a useful tool in your journey. I’ve had great connections with my research advisor and colleagues who are just as passionate as me!
If you are debating whether you should try it out, this is your sign! College is the perfect place to find an amazing opportunity on an array of topics right outside your door. There are so many professors and departments looking to mentor undergraduate students, so why not give it a shot and get involved on campus?