Of the Many Reasons to Love Research

I am constantly asked why I do research and what it is I like about it. For me, it’s more than just gaining experience or improving my resume, it’s every reason— whether good or bad, frustrating or exciting, mundane or extraordinary. There are plenty of reasons to love and to do research, here are a few that come to mind:

  1. Research makes a difference. There is nothing cooler than knowing that you are contributing to the discovery or development of something that can make a difference in people’s lives or a change in the world! Every contribution matters!
  2. Research introduces you to great people! Not only does working in research give you the opportunity to work alongside incredible faculty mentors, research also provides the opportunity to work with a mentor and lab group that may serve as guides, counselors, and as friends outside of lab! Shout out to the Mitragotri Group!
  3. Research is applicable. One really cool thing about research is that it transcends beyond what is taught in the classroom and enables you to apply all that you know or have been taught and apply that knowledge into what you are learning and doing in lab.
  4. Research can help you! As mentioned above, research can enhance both your professional and academic credentials for future graduate/professional school or for career advancement. It can also help support applications for internships, scholarships, and other awards!
  5. Research opens doors. Participating in research can afford the opportunity to go present your work at professional conferences, to meet other researchers like yourself, and to participate in great events. Research can also aid in networking and in making contacts early into your career! (Check out Lunch with Faculty every quarter!)
  6. Research changes the pace. Unlike with practice set exercises or protocol lab experiments with predetermined solutions and expected results, research has you come up with the experiments but also has you come up with the answer. Research makes you think differently by engaging you in the creation of new knowledge.
  7. Research is challenging. Sometimes, experiments don’t go as well as planned or give you unexpected results. And that’s okay! In these cases, you’re given the opportunity to question you process, make changes, and to think beyond. Research stretches your mind, and challenges and tests you to think of new ideas, new reasons, and new possibilities.
  8. Research is the future. It’s exciting to be a part of an adventure that will change the face of the future. Research is constantly pushing the frontiers of knowledge, and it’s crazy to think that the theory, the process, or the discovery you make today may determine how the world is structured tomorrow.
  9. Research doesn’t stop. Every study and every project in the world of research not only provides insights, answers, and details, it poses new questions. And even in the case where answers may be inconclusive, it still puts into consideration what it would take to solidify those answers.
  10. Research changes you. Somewhere along the way, research helps build traits and characteristics like independent thinking, resilience, communication, and creativity. Research can help mold you into the person you’d like to be while also changing all that you do, value, and hope to achieve!

Whether you’re in research or interested in research, what excites you? Why do you do research? And why do you love it?