Why You Should Do Research on Campus

Eric Kolb on Tuesday, 18 September 2018. Posted in Labs, Research

Hello again everyone! As a freshman at RIT, you will have the opportunity to do research as soon as you arrive if that's something that is offered in your major. I did research starting my first year and I wanted to share the benefits of doing research at RIT, and why you should at least try it while you’re here!

  • You get to know professors really well! When you do research, you will probably have to meet your professor to update them on your progress and to get new project ideas, help, and materials from them. This lets you get to know your professors personally, which makes you a new friend and a professional to connect with. This is especially good if the professor you do research with is also one of the professors that teaches you classes! You can get on their good side, and it makes it much easier to approach them about help. Even getting to know professors outside of your major can be good since it expands your network! They can also give you connections to the industry, especially since they will usually have some sort of experience in it before teaching. I'm close with the professor I did research with, and he has helped me to figure out a lot outside of the research I did with him.
  • You get to do real work that can make a difference in the world. The projects that professors are working on often have very real-world applications that can one day turn into something that is used daily in industry. Not only can the projects make a difference, but you get experience working on projects in a work setting and practice in recording data. You get to work in real labs with new equipment that is also used in industry. Experience in this setting can really give you a head start once you enter the workforce. You may also be working with PhD students and helping them run projects, and that can give you an idea of what a higher degree is like and may get you interested in pursuing graduate programs. It can also show you that you don't want to do research for your career too if it's not something you like.
  • It’s a great resume booster! Not only is it something that will catch an employers eye and make you stand out, but it can also be something great to talk about during an interview. Since you have personal experience with it, it can make you sound intelligent and show your interest and knowledge in the subject. This is especially important for if you want to go into a research related field when you graduate so you have this experience to show you have at least some knowledge of how research works. This is especially important when applying to graduate school, as most schools look for at least some previous research experience. 
  • You can get experience writing papers. In some cases, students can write or contribute to writing research papers and potentially publish them in journals. I've had a few friends that worked on some projects that are now published! This can give you experience with real professional writing, and the process and practice of sharing research with others.
  • It’s fun! For most people, research is a fun and rewarding experience that teaches you a lot! It could introduce you to something you want to do when you graduate as well. And if you don’t like your research it could also show you that you don’t want to pursue research as a career, or that you want to focus on a different area or kind of research in the future.

Whatever kind of research you do, it is a valuable experience. If it is available to you and you are interested, I definitely suggest you take advantage of the opportunity right away and talk to one of your professors about it. You might learn more than you expected!