5 Reasons to Conduct Research as an Undergraduate
1. Get to know your professors outside of the formal classroom setting.
Students rarely get to know faculty members outside of the stuffy classroom setting. Conducting research allows you to learn more about what they are like as teachers, researchers, and humans. You may find out that they are just as cool and weird as you are.
2. Dive deep into a subject/topic that you are interested in.
Most of your classes will cover a large array of material in a relatively short period of time. This doesn’t always allow for you to explore the subject matter that most perks your interest in more depth. Conducting research bridges this gap and affords you the opportunity to think deeply along the lines of inquiry that you find most interesting.
3. Learn something that will change the way you look at the world.
Ever heard of the Higgs Boson? Or watched an episode of Cosmos? We’re not saying you’re going to make discoveries on a similar scale, but undoubtedly you will experience many “a ha” moments during your research.
4. Gain skills employers are looking for.
The skills you gain through conducting research will prepare you to excel in whatever career pathway you choose. Critical thinking, analysis, attention to detail, creativity, time management, and problem solving are the core skills that employers look for in graduates, and you can obtain them all through research.
5. Gain experiences that will assist you with defining your career path.
The path you will take to get to your first “real” job after college is more than likely going to be messy. What you think you want to do now is often not what you end up doing, and that is completely normal. But you need to start experimenting and exploring areas that you are interested in, and research is one option that allows you to do this. If you think you would like to pursue a career in natural resource management, try conducting some community based research through the Environmental Leadership Program. If you always thought that archaeologist have cool jobs, join a research group and get some field experience to see what it is really like. There are options in every major to conduct research and creative scholarship – you just need to take advantage of the educational opportunities that the University of Oregon has to offer.