by Maggie Gossard
Heading into MSRE 2013, scholars are bound to be feeling many conflicting emotions: excitement, fear, passion, dread, etc. This is normal and okay! Embarking on any new experience can be both scary and thrilling at the same time. Coming from someone who went through MSRE just last summer, I remember feeling all of these same emotions. However, looking back now, here is the best piece of advice that I feel I can give: Scholars get out of this experience what they put in. Here’s why….
- You’re in McNair because you want to attend graduate school. Advanced study generally requires a good amount of research. If you truly give 100% to your project and this experience, you’ll have a good sense of whether you want to devote yourself to research by the end of the summer. Doing things half-heartedly will not give you a true picture of what life as a graduate student would be like. It is important that, as scholars, you’re giving yourselves the opportunity to make the most informed decision possible about going to graduate school.
- Like many other scholars, you may choose to continue working on your McNair project during the fall semester through UCARE. And if you decide to do a senior thesis, putting together a good quality, solid McNair manuscript during summer research can make life so much easier. While you may choose to collect some additional data or run some additional analyses for your thesis, much of the heavy lifting of actually writing it up (literature review/introduction, methods, and parts of the discussion) will have already been done. You’ll just need to go in and add/edit the new information.
- A big part of academia is building relationships. Giving your all to your project during MSRE can get you off on the right foot with building a relationship with advisors and mentors. Working hard, communicating effectively, and being an active learner will speak volumes to faculty mentors about the your potential as a graduate student (which will come in very handy when they are writing your letters of recommendation!). Remember, it’s crucial that MSRE is your opportunity to show yourself as a future scholar.
So the moral of the story is: put in your best effort and it will pay off tenfold. The work is worth it, because you get what you give.