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Doing research on your own

  1. Feb 17, 2010 #1

    I would like to do research this summer but I don't have a very good gpa. I started out as a engineering major then switched to economics after junior year when I became disheartened with it. I finished my economics degree but I was unhappy with it. So, I decided to go back to school for physics. I have finally found my motivation towards school and I'm doing better. I had most of the prerequisites from doing the engineering. So I'm already only a year away from graduation but GPA is still in the dumps from goofing around big time. I feel have no real shot at getting any paid internships so I was thinking of just working this summer self studying and doing some research on my own. But I have no real idea about how to go about doing it. So, I figured there must be some great, highly intelligent people on here willing to help me out. So I ask, how does one come up with a specific project within their range? And if I were to accomplish anything, how do I go about making sure people know I did it? ie. for grad school apps. I was thinking maybe it could be in something computational so all I would need is a computer. Or redoing a cheap relevant experiment and trying to add my own flare to it. Also I was thinking my professors who don't know me would be more willing to advise if I came in with something ready to go.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2010 #2
    you're not going to make an money doing research by yourself, so why not ask professors if they'll take you on as an unpaid assistant. Most will have something you can do; it may not be super exciting, but if you're interested in computational problems, i'm sure you can do some modeling or something similar.
  4. Feb 17, 2010 #3
    Be careful with that, 'cause it could be that they really need an unpaid lab grunt and seriously don't want to bother with the overhead of advising some kid on a tangentially related project. I've seen professors flat out ignore/turn down kids trying to pitch ideas that just didn't fit in with the professor's interests. This isn't to say don't pitch your idea, just make sure you've done your research (know what's in the field, know what the professor is somewhat familiar with, etc.) so you come off as having put real thought/work into it. I'm always looking for people to help out with any number of projects associated to one professor or another; I never have enough volunteers for the stuff that needs to get done, forget about outside shiny stuff.

    Man, I'm desperately looking for people interested in computational modeling/computational analysis. (I've got professors willing to sign off/act as mentors so that decent recs can come out of the whole thing) The computational projects I work on and most of my friends have worked on are usually set up such that being on campus usually isn't required, if that's an issue for you.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2010
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