Last week, I received a message from a senior at my old high school. He told me that he is attending Princeton as member of the Class of 2020 — and words can’t explain how excited I am. Very few people from my small town end up going to schools in the Ivy League, so I felt a great sense of pride knowing that someone else would be “living the dream”! I decided to meet up with him and his mom to answer any questions they had about Princeton, especially in relation to our shared background as middle-class Americans from suburban Delaware. Meeting with the incoming freshman led me to do a lot of reflecting on my own Princeton experience.
Over the past few weeks, Princeton professor Johannes Haushofer has received a lot of attention for his CV of Failures, in which he chronicles his lack of success in various academic pursuits. Many have called Professor Haushofer’s CV inspiring — because most of us rarely hear about the trials and tribulations of acclaimed individuals.
We also rarely hear about the trials and tribulations of graduating seniors. Our default is to view graduating seniors as 100% successful in all their endeavors, especially those who receive prestigious awards and fellowships. I thought it would be great to sit down with some award-winning members of the class of 2016 to hear their thoughts on the topic of failure.
Big thanks to seniors Andrew Nelson, Jack Mazzulo, and Cameron Bell for contributing to this conversation. But the conversation around failure doesn’t have to stop here! Consider reaching out to RCA’s, Peer Advisors, and friends to have meaningful conversations about success and failure.
— Jalisha Braxton, Natural Sciences Correspondent
Over the course of the semester, PCURs will reflect on the professors, advisers, and friends who shaped their research experiences. We present these to you as a series called Mentorship in Research. Most undergraduates have met, or will meet, an individual who motivates and supports their independent work. Here, Jalisha shares her story.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about advisers and mentors, trying to determine whether a distinct difference exists between the two. From my personal musings, I’ve concluded that the two are very different — It seems mentors invest more time and energy into learning your strengths, weaknesses, interests, and passions so that they can help you succeed. I decided to ask around campus to see what other students had to say about the topic, and found that many others had similar opinions:
- Sophomore Malachi Byrd said that advisers push you academically while mentors tend to meet you where you’re at.
- Junior Kushal Dalal remarked that mentors take you under their wing and go beyond the role of an adviser.
- Senior Dennisse Calle stated that, unlike advisers, mentors take every part of your life into account
These conversations made me question the relationships I’ve formed with Princeton professors. While I’ve had many wonderful advisers who have helped shaped me academically (and who I’m extremely grateful for), very few of these relationships felt personal enough to call them “mentors”.
“How could this be?” I thought to myself after coming to this realization. “Did I miss out on the opportunity to be mentored by some of the greatest academics in the world?” Continue reading Mentorship in Research: Advisers vs. Mentors
With JP and thesis deadlines quickly approaching, many students have moved from the writing stage to what seems like a never-ending cycle of editing and revising. Editing and revising independent work (or any long paper) can be daunting, mainly because there’s a lot of content and there’s always some way to improve your writing. While there is no “perfection test” to let you know when your independent work is immaculate, here are some telltale signs that you should probably just hit submit: Continue reading Editing Independent Work: How to Know When You’re Done
As everyone knows, thesis crunch time is upon us. In an attempt to keep the positive energy flowing, I’ve decided to divert my attention away from stressful thoughts of drafts and deadlines…. and instead compose a list of 5 thesis-related things that I’m excited about! Here they are:
- Seeing my thesis title gold-stamped on the cover.
Bound theses are beautiful, but the best part for me is seeing the gold letters of the title contrasted against the black leather. It is going to look so official!
2. Actually wanting to talk about my topic.
I’m so excited to finally feel like an expert when talking to people about my topic. I mean, we picked our topics because we were interested in them and thought others would be too, right?
I’ve also applied to present at Princeton Research Day, so hopefully I’ll get to look legit while giving a 10 minute presentation about how handwriting and typing influence learning differently! Continue reading 5 Thesis-Related Things That I’m Excited About
Many Princeton students dream of attending graduate school, but don’t actually know much about the process, or what graduate school visits are like. Unlike school visits for prospective undergraduates, graduate school visits typically occur after you’ve applied but before you’ve been accepted into a graduate school program. Interviews and visits for graduate school happen simultaneously: if a school is interested in accepting you, you’ll be invited to a “prospective student weekend” where you’ll visit the campus while also interviewing for the program. I’ve spent a good portion of this semester visiting graduate schools around the country and have developed a list of helpful things to know before embarking on your first graduate school visit!
Mechanical Turk, more commonly known as “MTurk”, is a popular site created by Amazon to help researchers collect data from human subjects. As a student who had never heard of this site before starting my thesis, I’ve decided to share my knowledge about what the site is and how it can be helpful for independent research at Princeton.
What exactly is MTurk?
MTurk is basically a marketplace where researchers can upload various tasks and have other people complete them for money. These tasks range from having people take a survey to having people grade responses or transcribe segments of text. Basically, anything that someone can do on a computer can be turned into a task on MTurk.
As a second-semester senior, one thing seems to be taking over my life: my thesis. I eat thesis. I sleep thesis. I breathe thesis. The only other thing really going on in my life is interviewing for graduate school programs, and remarkably enough, the main thing that interviewers want to hear about is…yep, you guessed it: My thesis. Continue reading Graduate School Interviews: How My Thesis Stole The Show
As spring semester approaches, most juniors are trying not to think about what’s coming next: the spring JP. For psychology majors, the spring JP is a project proposal that often becomes a student’s senior thesis. My JP-turned-thesis was on learning science through composing analogies, a topic that intersects my interests in psychology and education. While I was very excited about crafting my spring JP, I also remember feeling very overwhelmed. I knew that a well-done JP would save my senior self TONS of time in the thesis-writing process — but I also knew that planning your thesis during junior year puts a lot of pressure on you! Though I successfully used my spring JP as the foundation for my thesis, there are many things I wish I had thought about when I first designed the project. Here are some tips to be mindful of if you plan to base your thesis on your spring JP (and save yourself a lot of time during senior year!)
With Princeton ranked as the No. 1 school in America, it’s easy to assume that everything here is the best that it can be: We have great professors, amazing resources, and will graduate with a degree that is highly esteemed around the world. Surrounded by all of the University’s accolades, we oftentimes forget how important the student voice is to the University’s growth and development. Over these past few weeks, however, I’ve discovered how integral students are to improving academic and social life here on campus.