It’s 12:30 a.m., and as I sleepily contemplate graduating a month from now I realize that I was a part of something special while in college and it was called research. That’s it, that good ol’ dreaded word that we hate to hear most of the time; research. Now I’m not talking about the kind of research that we slaved away at during most of our dietetic courses, no that would be too easy to discuss. I’m actually talking about research projects that faculty advisors and I designed, researched, and presented to the academic world. Now why the heck would a busy guy like me do such a thing? After all you have to deal with IRB protocol, proposal writing, funding (those checks take forever to clear), finding participants, and a whole slew of other shenanigans that no one in their right mind would purposefully endure. Well I did it, and out of all my accomplishments in college, there’s a lot mind you, completing two full research studies from beginning to end was one of my greatest achievements. It was a joy to learn new ways of writing, planning, advertising, and processing lab work into statistical data that could be used for enhancing the community. Working on an independent research project allowed me to attend unique conferences and compete against other like-minded research based students. Student research conferences allowed me to see what and how others projects developed. I was able to make new connections and partnerships for futures experiments at such events, and even made some long term friends. Researching allowed me to take a glimpse into a world where anything is possible if you question it and put it to the test. In fact, for the research projects that I did I was paid by scholarship for completing them, which was a nice little bonus. Yes, doing an independent research project is tedious, and downright excruciating, but the rewards and connections you make from it last a lifetime. If you’re a student in your freshman, sophomore, or junior year why not expand your horizon, pad your resume, and do something out of the ordinary. Try out a research project and learn something new.