Participating in research projects an opportunity to make a difference


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We’ve all seen the notices posted around campus announcing a new research project that some professor or department is doing. Usually, it’s a call for volunteers to participate in the research. Sometimes it’s a compensated ordeal.

Whether or not you could be paid for your services, it’s important to participate in these projects if you meet the criteria.

More than anything, you could in some small way help further our knowledge of science, the human body or the human mind. Sometimes the projects may seem insignificant in the big picture of “understanding the world”, but no research project is ever insignificant.

Whether it’s just helping someone understand a topic or helping a suffering person find peace, research is how we grow as a nation and as a campus.

One of the most accessible reasons is that you could be inadvertently helping another person get the answers they need to better their life. Like volunteering, placing yourself in a position to help people is rewarding. Several research projects on campus right now are seeking to understand trauma treatment as well as human attraction. In the case of the former and many similar projects, you could turn a bad experience in your life into good for others. 

It’s also a good experience for students to get outside their comfort zone and meet professors and researchers from other schools and departments on campus. One of my favorite quotes is, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there”, which I think perfectly represents the cliques on campus within schools.

We tend to isolate ourselves within our school, our groups and our “people.” There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s quite healthy to have this space in which to be ourselves and feel a sense of belonging, but if we never step outside of it, we deny ourselves the chance to see the big picture and broaden our horizons.

Sometimes, simply going into a building you’re not familiar with and meeting with professors and researches you’ve never heard of before can help open your eyes to a bigger campus experience outside the borders of your specific school. Getting to know what issues are being researched on campus can foster a sense of family for all involved. 

These research projects aren’t usually broadcasted on social media, so if you ignore them, you may never fully grasp what researchers at UK value. Be attentive when you’re on campus and check bulletin boards for these notices. You could come across one that changes your campus experience for the better. 

I encourage you, for your own benefit and for the benefit of others, to consider participating in a research project on campus.