The 2015-2016 school year is finally over, and it’s been quite a ride. You might even call it a roller coaster. Think about it: The year had highs. It had lows. It probably had loops where you weren’t sure what was going on. But you were buckled up for the long haul, and you finished with an excited smile (and/or a sigh of relief). The whole thing was so dizzyingly fast that, in retrospect, all its twists and turns seem like one indistinguishable blur.
PCUR was on that roller coaster with you. We also see the past eight months as kind of a blur. But, we wrote about the twists and turns of research as they were happening – creating a lasting record of our paths, and how they intersect with yours.
You’ll remember feeling like we did in key moments throughout the year:
Posts like these remind us how research can be frustrating and confusing, but also exciting and impactful. That’s a pretty neat summary of PCUR’s message. And, starting this summer, it’s no longer confined to the academic year. Because many undergraduates tackle research experiences during the summer, we’ve decided to post occasional updates from our summer internships, fieldwork, and research-related activities. There will be twists and turns, for sure – but there will also be written records of how we work through them.
We hope you’ll follow along with our first ever summer series. And, we hope it’s okay that summer posts will be less frequent than posts from the academic year. It’s only because we need some time to do fun vacation things, like go to amusement parks – and ride roller coasters.
— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent
(P.S. Best of luck to our graduating seniors Bennett, Jalisha, and Stacey. We can’t wait to hear about all the amazing things you’ll do!)
If you’ve never completed an independent work project, you probably have questions about how the process works. As usual, if you’ve got questions, PCUR has answers. Join me, Zoe, and others for an informal discussion about independent work tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 5) from 9-10pm in Butler College (1915 room). Check out the flyer below:
No matter how you look at it, spring semester is about making choices. The first few weeks involve choosing which classes to switch into (or, less happily, out of). The next few months will see sophomores choosing their major, and seniors choosing the direction of their post-graduation lives. Of course, there is one other choice embedded in this half of the year: what internship/program/job each of us will do over the summer.
Since most summer opportunities require some level of research skills, PCUR wanted to help you decide what kind of researcher you’d like to be between May and August (and possibly beyond). We created Resources for Researchersto point you in the right direction. Our new page – which you’ll also find in our menu bar – includes where to look for research programs, who to contact, and how to get funding. We’ve surveyed Princeton-sponsored opportunities as well as those from outside organizations. Whether you’re interested in science, engineering, health, government, policy, humanities, arts, or culture, there’s some useful information waiting for your perusal.
A final note: Resources for Researchers is not exclusively devoted to summer programs. It also covers fall-spring research opportunities and independently-designed projects. So, no matter what kind of researcher you’d like to be, take a look at the Resources available here – and make whatever choice feels right for you.
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.
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:
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:
What are your research resolutions? Let us know here, and keep us posted on your progress!
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.
Just 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.
You’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.
As 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.
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.