There’s a quote that says that whatever comes easily is not worth having. Truth be told, there’s a degree of perseverance that one must have to accomplish a goal. Although most of us college students do not know where the path of life is going to take us, what we can do in the meanwhile is forge relationships with like-minded people who can foster our future aspirations. An exemplary way to achieve that is to get involved in undergraduate research. Here is my first-hand experience as an incoming college freshman, along with a few tips on how to get involved early on in your college career.
The key to start building potential during your first year of college is to not be afraid to approach your professors or other teachers. This also means that you must be aware of the endless (honestly) resources that are available to you so that you can pick yourself up when you are falling behind in any class. This builds a stronger sense of responsibility which can then enable you to tackle most challenges during your college career, including research projects.
After you have become comfortable with your new classes, you want to approach your professors after the lecture and ask them if they have any research projects open for collaboration. If you do not get the opportunity in one class, do not be discouraged. Try again with another class that has sparked interest in you to investigate further. There are three requirements that I have created from my experience as an undergraduate researcher. These requirements are made solely to provide a guide of how to successfully complete one or multiple research projects and have some fun along the way. A guide for short.
The first requirement would be to choose a class to do research for that is of interest to you. This does not mean that the class should be related to your major, but it would be more insightful if it were. Regardless, make sure you choose a class you will not get bored of after 15 weeks. The second requirement would be that you buckle down. Yes, I know it’s a bit old-school terminology, but you must brace yourself and make sure that you complete everything in a timely manner. The only way to complete your work on time is if you prioritize it and have a slotted schedule for completing any lab report work. The last requirement would be to enjoy your work. It’s almost anticlimactic if you do not enjoy the work you are doing. The purpose of research work should be for a greater cause (for example, the testing of air quality or maybe even the decline of the bee population).
If you fulfill these three simple requirements, your undergraduate research project will be a complete success. In the end, it is highly rewarding and worth all the hours of work. You will not regret it because it will become an integral part of your college experience, and later propel you into your future goals.