Student wants less theory, more real world.

This is an example of a Turing Machine, a theoretical computer science construct.  Courtesy of Google Images.

This is an example of a Turing Machine, a theoretical computer science construct. Courtesy of Google Images.

Let’s face it–not everyone wants to be a researcher. Some students tremble with the anticipation of their future grant applications and research work. Other students literally gag on the thought. While it’s true that many students don’t know that they want to be researchers until they actually encounter the research process through their courses, that’s not always the case. Others, like myself, want to stay as far away from research as humanly possible. We know it, we’ve always known it, and we will always know it – we hate the idea of spending our lives conducting research.
I don’t have a beef with understanding the research process. Understanding the methods of researchers is perhaps the most important thing professionals can learn. A thorough knowledge of the research process allows you to filter out good research from bad research, gleaning discoveries from the text of published papers that become applicable to your profession. These informational tidbits help to make us more capable. How to write said paper that you’ll be reading? Not so much.
I want to be a child counselor. I’m going to sit in a brightly painted, colorfully lit room, asking children what they mean by their Play-Doh figures. I’m never going to write a paper on any discoveries I make. It’s just not in my cards. I’m not closing myself off from the “miracles that could be” if I entered into the field of research. I just don’t want to.
Research based courses are impossible to escape here. Every single science, from biology to psychology, have research based courses. We learn how to write scientifically over and over again. We learn the research process over and over again. Some people get really good at the whole “scientific research paper” thing, and some of us remain fairly terrible no matter how much awesome instruction we get.
Quite frankly, I don’t give a crap about being a researcher and I never will. I just want to counsel. My roommate, the biology major? She doesn’t want to do research either, but every single course she has encountered has emphasized the research writing process. She’ll never do it in real life. What happened to preparing us for real life? Do we really have to wait for graduate school for that?
We don’t have bad professors here. Quite contrarily,we have brilliant fantastic professors that are incredibly passionate about what they do. It is impressive that professors here seem to be equally passionate about their teaching and their research – one passion never seems to trump the other. I don’t think you can find that at every university. Beyond that, our professors are darn good at teaching. If I actually wanted to be a researcher one day, I would be so thoroughly prepared by my undergraduate studies that the professors at my graduate school would have their minds blown.
Too bad I don’t, and too bad every single class I take leads me down the road of research.
If I one day go crazy and decide to become a researcher, that decision should be made in graduate school. I agree with having a brief introduction to the research process during undergraduate studies to expose students to the process, but the majority of the research workload should be left to graduate studies when students are pursuing their masters and Ph.Ds. Teaching us how to read research articles and deepening our knowledge of the research process? I’m all for it. But please stop telling me that I’m going to be a researcher.

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