I was talking to my friend Lindsay (hi, Lindsay!) at 2:30 AM a few nights ago and I randomly blurted out “I love this school.” Now, I have a lot of Tribe Pride but I don’t usually go around proclaiming my love for my future alma mater randomly during the middle of the night. But I couldn’t help myself this time around…. I’m always amazed by the wealth of opportunities W&M students are presented with and how unique they are to a school our size. So what caused this most recent outburst? Probably something you hate doing for every paper you have to write: Research.
A large majority of W&M undergrads are given the opportunity to conduct some type of research during their time here. As I describe it on my tours, research can be broken down into three categories: self-guided research under the auspices of a faculty member, research with a faculty member on their own work, and team research. As someone that has done all three, I can’t even attempt to talk about how much they’ve all contributed to my personal development. I’ve been able to work with some of the most talented faculty members and do some cutting edge research that is noticed (our Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations, for example, is frequently in the media for the variety of projects it undertakes). Research has helped me discover specialty within my broad major and pursue a newfound passion (although intellectual property rights doesn’t sound interesting, ask any of my friends how obsessed about it I am). When I was interviewing for jobs for the “real world” next year, I always lead off with my research opportunities because they say so much more about my abilities than my classroom skills.
And I’m not the only one that loves research. My friend Lindsay, mentioned above, just got to do research with her favorite professor/ role model. My friend Sam, a graduating neuroscience major, got a job at a major pharmaceutical company because of his research on campus. So although you may hate research now, I urge you to consider conducting research when you get to College because it can open so many doors for you that you didn’t even know existed.
– Salil Singhal ’11