The undergraduate researcher

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    If you are currently an undergraduate student and are reading this, then you probably have some reason for being interested in our work. However, given the dilemma of the modern student, the reason of your interest is likely both unknown to yourself and to us. Until now, it is easy to have led a life of what you are “supposed to” or “have to” do to acquire some ends. To many, the entire undergraduate experience is simply a “have to” rather than a free choice arrived upon after deep deliberation. To many, the future is already believed to be determined. Therefore the now as a “have to”, as a means rather than an end, is acceptable. Given the current workings of contemporary academia, it is believed that research and/or volunteer hours are mandatory in order to reach the next stage of your plans. Due to this (sadly non-illusory) reality, it is easy to maintain the mentality of “have to” when it comes to undergraduate research. However, given the absurdity of the dilemma of the modern student, maintaining this mentality is itself a rejection of the individual, for the individual is the construction of the relation between the self and the now. It is the individual, momentarily eluding the clutches of the universal, that freely chooses their ends rather than being led to denounce the now and accept it as a means. When research is removed from its pedestal as an ends and falls victim to the universals claim of a determined future with necessary obstacles, it becomes sloppy and loses its meaning. Part of the life experience entails renunciation. For the undergraduate who believes they aspire a path that involves research, entering a laboratory is a great time to practice, learn and adapt from a renunciation of expectations held of them, and a formulation of expectations built by themselves.

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