Breaking into Research

What my typical research assignments look like when complete - lots of highlighting and memos to my professor.

I love a lot of things in my life but few of them compare to the passion I feel about my major. I wake up every single day confident that there was never another option worth considering. That being said, when I look ahead to my future, I want nothing more than to help others just let me make their dreams come true. There is no better way to do this, than to become a professor myself. Easier said than done. I have to first convince a graduate school that I’m acceptable enough to attend their institution.

That’s when experience comes into play. At Hanover, my Independent Study will give me a nice boost above those I’m competing with for a spot in a graduate school, but I need even more cushion on my applications next year to really lock in my spot. That’s when the professors come into play. They are excellent at giving research opportunities and I know I have filled you in that I was lucky enough to get this opportunity but what does doing research actually mean? And how does it help you apply to grad school? Do all majors need to do this?

All majors do not need to do this, in fact, it’s not a requirement for me, just something that will set me apart and something I enjoy doing. This semester, I am taking all fairly modern literature classes and therefore am not getting my needed fix of medieval information. That’s when I most enjoy helping out those professors who are medievalists with their current projects.

This opportunity gives me the chance to see what being a college professor is all about. Not the teaching aspect but the one in which books are being written and articles published. So much work goes into something like this that even the most brilliant professor would like a little help once in a while. I also get to gain knowledge from this experience, which can never hurt you when applying to a higher learning establishment.

So what does being a research assistant look like? Well it definitely differs by department but in the English department there is a lot of proofreading. Proofreading drafts of book pages, bibliographies, and footnotes are all common jobs. The even more fun parts of my job are when I actually get to do some research on my own to try and provide my professor with information they may not have previously had. It’s always a great feeling to know that once that book or article is published, you had something to do with that large, intensive project… And then after that bliss you start up with the next big project!

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