Going into fall break, reality set in for myself and several other juniors in the Sociology Department as we wrote our first official proposals for our Junior Papers. While writing my draft, I had to answer several questions for myself and my professor. What was my choice of methodology? Where did I plan on finding my data? How was my research significant to others? And on top of those explanations, the most daunting question of all—what was my intended timeframe of completion?
My initial thought was that I should have plenty of time; the final paper isn’t due until January 10th and I already have a game plan for how I want to conduct my research. But as I began to create the deadlines for gathering my secondary sources, analyzing my data, writing the paper, and more, I soon realized that I needed to get started on several tasks within a matter of days if I didn’t want to end up scrambling at the last minute. So after deciding on my umpteenth deadline, I finally found myself going into a state I’m sure we are all familiar with: panic mode.
15 components for my research in a matter of 8 weeks and all while keeping up with other assignments and extracurricular activities—even writing about what I have coming up gives me anxiety! But as my professor told me and all the other apprehensive juniors, the JP may be a lot of work, but it’s not the end of the world, and it certainly won’t be the demise of junior year. Not only is our first attempt at serious independent work meant to be exciting, but there are also several people here to help us through the project. For one, there are our professors and advisers who are happy to support us with every step of our research. There are our peers and classmates who can keep us motivated in the upcoming months. And there are our friends and family who are always available with endless love and moral support.
There are also several resources on campus to help us overcome panic mode. One-on-one sessions at McGraw can assist with organizing our schedules in order to meet our deadlines. The Writing Center can not only help edit our work, but also give us advice on how to divide the writing process into smaller, more manageable steps. And if being in panic mode is turning into severe anxiety, there are also the counselors’ at Princeton’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) who are more than willing to support us during this stressful time.
So to all of my fellow researchers who also feel their trepidation growing as their deadlines approach, know that you are not the only ones. Know that we are all here for one another in these soon to be (if not already) hectic times and that we will finish our papers. Though the end of the line may be hard to imagine now, we’ll come out of this experience stronger than we were before and better prepared for the next round of JPs. The journey will be long, but it will also be hard fought. Just hang tight; we’ve got this!
— Taylor Griffith, Social Sciences Correspondent