As we return from Spring Break, we enter the homestretch of the year, but also one of the busiest times. It’s a time to finish up all of the endeavors we’ve taken on throughout the year—whether it be your R3 from writing sem, your JP, or your senior thesis—and it also a time to begin looking ahead to possibilities for next year. Well, here’s an opportunity you will want to consider! PCUR is looking to hire new correspondents for the 2018-2019 academic year with research interests ranging from social sciences, to engineering, to humanities, and natural sciences.
Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t really do research…” This was my initial thought as well when I first learned about this opportunity in the Spring semester of my freshman year. In fact, I reflected on this concerned that I didn’t have any research experience in the sample post I submitted with my PCUR application. I’d like to share a few excerpts from that post here, and hopefully you’ll come to the same conclusions that I did—every undergraduate at Princeton is a researcher and PCUR is a great way to become more involved in Princeton’s vibrant research culture and encourage others to do the same.
“When I hear the words “Undergraduate Research” it is tempting to automatically and exclusively think of traditional lab research—lab coats, test tubes, pipettes—but really it is so much more than that. For an endeavor to be research does not mean that it has to be done in a lab, or published in a journal, or begin with a hypothesis and end with answers. We all engage in research often by simply completing our regularly scheduled course work–whether it be writing seminar, a freshman seminar, or another project based class–no extra research opportunities required.
Throughout my freshman year I have learned to not shy away from research and to let go of my previous notions of academic research as unattainable perfection. Instead, I have learned that at the most basic level it is about asking questions, being curious, and being creative—things that most of us have been doing our entire lives. And possibly most refreshingly, at a place where we are constantly encouraged to think about our futures, I have learned that the research process is one where we don’t always know where we’re going to end up—and that’s kind of the whole point.”
So, maybe you don’t know exactly what your research interests are, or what you plan to major in, or what your plans are post-graduation. But as a Princeton student, what you do know, is that for your four years here, research is an integral part of your academic development. PCUR is an incredible opportunity to reflect on and share these research experiences with others.
Whether you’ve been subscribed to PCUR for years, or you’re just now discovering it, I encourage everyone to apply! Writing for PCUR has been one of the greatest experiences of my undergraduate career so far. I’ve met so many wonderful people on the PCUR team and I’ve learned so much about myself as a student and a researcher, and about the multitude of research opportunities and resources available on campus.
To apply, send a cover letter reflecting on your research path to date and explaining how you would contribute to the PCUR blog, a sample post (between 400-700 words), and a copy of your resume to Dr. Poussart, Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at firstname.lastname@example.org sometime before noon on Wednesday April 25th. For more information, take a look at the call for applications on the Office of Undergraduate Research website.
–Ellie Breitfeld, Chief Correspondent