4.5 Things to Remind Yourself Before Your Second JP

Exactly 26 days ago, I submitted my junior paper on U.S. immigration policy.

To repeat: I wrote a JP, I submitted it, and it’s completely done.

I couldn’t imagine writing those words back in September, when everything about junior independent work seemed completely overwhelming. I struggled to find a topic because I had limited experience with the scholarly field of U.S immigration. After choosing, and then changing, my paper topic, I needed to recruit participants, schedule interviews, and transcribe every word the participants said. All that led to a 24 page draft (written during Thanksgiving break, of course) and two subsequent drafts before I submitted the final paper on January 5th.

Directly relevant: 4.5 things I should not eat when I’m stressing about JP deadlines.

While I enjoy talking about my fall JP in the past tense, my upcoming spring JP necessitates a return to the present. This time, however, there is one crucial difference: I finally know how JPs work. And that understanding can revolutionize a scholarly independent project — because once you know how JPs work, their long page limits and enormous possibilities no longer seem scary. So, here are 4.5 things I want to remind myself (and share with you) about the JP process:

Continue reading 4.5 Things to Remind Yourself Before Your Second JP

Research Resolutions

Happy New Year! In the January spirit of new-year-new-you, PCURs are sharing their Research Resolutions – things we plan to do, or do differently, in 2016. Take a look at what we hope to have in store:

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What are your research resolutions? Let us know here, and keep us posted on your progress!

— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent 

5 Cool Things You Can Do If You Present at Princeton Research Day

When you present at Princeton Research Day, you're a cool tiger!
When you present at Princeton Research Day, you’ll be one cool tiger!

As you might have noticed, everyone’s talking about Princeton Research Day — but what is it exactly, and what can it do for you? In a campus-wide email about the event, Princeton Research Day was described as a chance to celebrate research on campus. Which, it is. But that premise might sound a little vague. Never fear, readers: To help you out, here’s a list of 5 cool things you can do if you apply to present at Princeton Research Day.

Continue reading 5 Cool Things You Can Do If You Present at Princeton Research Day

Correspondent Convos: What is your best research advice?

Correspondent_Convos_IconJust because it’s called “independent work” doesn’t mean that you’re alone. PCUR knows we’ve reached a very research-heavy time of the semester, and we have some words of wisdom for anyone tackling a new project – whether it’s your first or fifteenth at the college level. Watch below to hear our advice; and remember, if you have a specific question, we’re never more than a contact us form away.

— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent

Correspondent Convos: What are your research challenges?

Correspondent_Convos_IconYou’ve probably heard that research is more of a marathon than a sprint. That’s definitely true — Every independent project involves thorough planning and lots of stamina.  But since we’re on the subject of analogies, it’s also true that research is an obstacle course.  Think about it: There are challenges built into the research process, and sometimes they’re impossible to avoid.  PCUR gets real about these roadblocks in our second Correspondent Convo.  Watch below to learn which struggles are most common, and which strategies can help you reach the finish line.

— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent

Correspondent Convos: Why do you enjoy research?

Correspondent_Convos_IconAs the semester rolls on, it can be difficult to get excited about your research projects or independent work.  You may be tempted to view an upcoming assignment as just another addition to your busy schedule – but that line of thinking zaps your energy before you even start.  Now is a good time to remember the things you enjoy about research.  And yes, there are things you enjoy about research.  Watch PCUR weigh in on the most exciting moments of independent work, and make sure to stay pumped for your next project.

— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent

PCUR podcasts are here!

Whether you read PCUR from your laptop or from your phone, neither option is particularly useful when you’re on the go. Why? Reading and walking usually don’t mix. But listening and walking go hand in hand, which you probably know from blasting your playlist on the way to class. PCUR wants a spot on that morning playlist: We’ve just launched our very own podcasts, perfect for those times when reading isn’t an option. Listening to our brief, informal conversations will start your day on a good note.

Check out the first podcast now – it’s an interview with a Rutgers Psychology major turned Master’s candidate in K-6 education, who happens to be my sister.  How did independent work influence her journey? Listen below to find out.


— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent

Getting that On-Campus Feeling (and that Research Advice)

With banners raised and schedules posted, it’s safe to say Princeton is ready for another school year. But how do you know when you’re ready – when getting (back) to campus finally feels like being on campus?

This little guy counts as another important sign that you're back in the Orange Bubble.
This little guy counts as another important sign that you’re back in the Orange Bubble.

For returning students and first-timers alike, this transition is hard to verbalize. Maybe it occurs when you hug your family goodbye. Maybe it’s when you empty your last suitcase. Or maybe it’s when you organize everything from that suitcase – pillows neatly thrown on the bed, pictures of summer adventures hung with wall-safe tape. The 2015-2016 school year couldn’t begin without these moments…but I don’t think any of them bring that being-on-campus feeling. I actually think all of them do: Being here is a collection of moments that somehow combine to make sense.

At PCUR, we’re all about making sensible combinations from smaller parts. In our own research, we analyze data from engineering, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to reach coherent conclusions. In our blogs, we filter through rumors about the research process to share universal truths – and universal pitfalls – that we’ve learned from experience. As students ourselves, we know what you’re feeling. We’ve felt it. We’re currently feeling it as the fall semester gets underway. Our goal is to make research less stressful and more exciting, which is why we hope you’ll to subscribe to our research-related musings (using the box at the top right). If each PCUR post is a moment, then the overall blog is a collection to guide you through independent work. Continue reading Getting that On-Campus Feeling (and that Research Advice)

Draft to Deadline: The Sophomore Experience

2017 is not the first class to be in this position.

Sophomore year is the awkward transitional phase of the Princeton experience. When you arrive on campus in September – propped above the new freshmen – you feel empowered by your first-year revelations: how to divide your time among classes, where to find accurate reviews about said classes, and how to get to said classes in under ten minutes. At the same time, however, you have not yet earned the title of “upperclassman,” which brings with it the junior papers and senior theses you were admitted to write. It is both freeing and confusing to be sandwiched between these two extremes.

It’s also unbelievable (at least for me) that sophomore year can actually come to an end. I entered the 2014-15 school year with expectations — a draft, if you will, of how to balance prerequisites with broader passions. Now we’re approaching the deadline. And besides using a research analogy in the preceding sentence, I found that research was a huge part of sophomore life. It turns out that the awkward phase is the perfect phase to get comfortable with your own research expectations, before you begin to apply them more intensely. Continue reading Draft to Deadline: The Sophomore Experience