Materials Girl: Aftermaths


Posted on behalf of Materials Girl

You’d think that being on winter break for three weeks would provide not only holiday spirit, but also an ideal medium for productivity — catching up on blog entries, preemptively studying for physics, etc, etc. However, it seems that the mind automatically (and far too easily) switches from textbook chemistry to everyday chemistry. Notably, I spent countless hours creating “reactions” in the kitchen, as opposed to researching for my aerogel project or finding out how to use our dusty ellipsometer that everyone in lab seems to have forgotten how to operate…

In any case, I did manage — in the last three days of break — to start and finish the majority of my summer applications for undergraduate research. This suggests a recently evolved thought: Is it better to spend summers taking classes, thereby lowering the risk of becoming a fifth-year undergrad, or to continue with research, in order to gain experience and resume boosters? Concentrating solely on research, without the pressure of the regular school year, provides a superior medium for learning and productivity in lab. Nevertheless, graduating on time is ideal, and paying extra undergraduate tuition is hardly in my budget. It all depends on how those pesky once-a-year, required courses are scheduled, but who knows that far enough in advance?

On a similar note, is it more beneficial to spend extra time as an undergrad taking non-required but theoretically practical courses, or to finish the bare minimum quickly and learn what is missing as it comes in grad school and industry? What to do, what to do…

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