Doing independent research in your undergraduate is a great idea. It helps you to develop strong ties to the things you will be studying and will better prepare you for the industry you are entering. Here are some tips for making the process easier:
- Talk to professors. Tell them about what you are passionate about and let them know ahead of time if there is something you’d like to pursue as a specific career development. The summer is a great time to do some independent studying on a topic that interests you. Most professors would love the chance to help a student learn more about their field. Take advantage of the resources that are available. Do some research on what each professor has studied, and ask them for recommendations based on their fields of specialization. This will get the conversation going and will show you how many wonderful opportunities there are to discover new things.
- Decide on a topic. This can happen through conversations with your professors, or through research online. Look at things that are particularly interesting in your field of study at the moment, and make a note to take more time out of your day to learn about those things. It’ll be good information to know, and will get you ahead in the industry you are preparing to enter.
- Ask the professor to allow you to do a not-for-credit project. This will allow you the chance to learn about format while not directly working on something that affects your grade. Professors love the chance to pass on information, and so showing this sort of interest will be good for building a relationship with your professors. Doing a defined project gives your research purpose, as well as a definite end. It will help to organize your information in a way that will be easier to access in later years, and it gives you a definite goal to reach. Organizing your information in this way will give you valuable skills for further research later on in your academic career.
Ask your friends to keep you accountable and talk about your research with fellow classmates. Getting more people involved will motivate you to the end of your goals. Doing research can be a lot of work, but in the end it’ll be something that you won’t regret.