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Programs Should I do research my freshman year?

  1. Sep 5, 2016 #1
    I'm an incoming freshman to the University of California San Diego as a Materials Science and Nanoengineering major, and I'm interested in doing research. I've been a research assistant for over 5 years at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (2 in biochemistry, 3 in physical chemistry, and 1 in chemical engineering). My most current work revolves around materials which are few atoms thick, like graphene and boron nitride. Is it a wise decision to start research immediately, or should I wait a quarter or two?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2016 #2


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    Wait until you get settled, see how much time your courses are demanding and go from there.

    What college at UCSD did you get put into?
  4. Sep 5, 2016 #3
    I'm in Revelle.
  5. Sep 5, 2016 #4


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    Ahh, so I would focus on knocking out all those general Ed's first, you have quite a few at Revelle.

    You'll be more useful for research and have a better understanding of how things work after your first year. That would probably be an idea time to look into research oppertunities.

    I was also at Revelle, but as a transfer. :)

    Good luck in a few weeks when classes start.
  6. Sep 6, 2016 #5
    Okay, understood. Thank you.
  7. Sep 9, 2016 #6
    It depends on your course load and whether you have time for it. I had a work-study job as a freshman, and I managed about 400 hours of work that year in a biology lab. It was sophomore year before I transferred to a physics lab and got involved in research. But the shift was more from grunt work to real research work rather than an increase in time.

    Most labs know that freshmen need to get acclimated and are flexible with amount of time and how heavy the duties are that they impose. They often let you set your own schedule week to week and it's all good as long as you show up when you say you will. You don't need to spend tons of time, but you do need to be reliable to get invited to bigger opportunities like a full time summer research gig.

    My daughter is a first year Chemistry major at a top 30 school with a job in a chemistry lab. Last year's freshmen lab employees all washed out and none were invited back this year or offered summer positions. After four weeks, my daughter has already been offered a full time summer position. Be careful, be reliable, be good. If you have 10 hours or so per week to spare, getting your foot in the door can open up future opportunities.
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