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Planning to do an undergrad thesis + separate research project in one year - thoughts?


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Hey all! So I'll be doing an undergrad thesis for the next academic year. I'll spend this summer (four months) collecting the data needed and getting a general head start. (This is lab based.)

I've also been invited to do a research project for the next academic year. It's a full year course. It's not lab-based, but instead involves bioinformatics. 

I've already said yes to the thesis. On the other hand, I don't want to say no to the second research project because it involves bioinformatics - something that I've been hoping to learn about for ages! With a professor's supervision, I really think I could learn a lot, and it would be a brilliant experience with any research I could/would do in the future.

I know that there is a slight risk here: I may be over-loading myself. But to be honest, I would really like to do both. I won't have many courses (the thesis + project forms 2 credits, and I need to take 2.5 more to graduate.) I will also have a part-time job. But I've done this job last year too, with a full course load and several volunteer commitments so...I think it's reasonable? (I won't have any volunteer commitments for the next year though.)

Thoughts? Do you think that with good time management, I could do it? I believe I can...I'd just like to know whether this is a crazy idea.

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Assuming you are planning to apply to grad school the following year, a lot of grad students will have more than one research project at the same time that they work on at the same time as taking classes and TAing/RAing. So, it's not crazy, but it might keep you very busy. You should have a clearer idea of the actual hours you'd have to invest in each activity you are doing and how it will fit into a feasible schedule. For example, how many hours a week will you be expected to spend working on the project? Will you need to be around at particular times/days? How much flexibility is there on busy weeks? Only you know what you can do. This doesn't sound to me outside the realm of possibility, and if you are successful, it will have great benefits, in the form of two great LORs (thesis advisor, project supervisor) and hopefully the ability to write a strong SOP and find good schools to support your interests. Also research experience and perhaps a publication, and/or a writing sample, and a good sense of what grad school will actually be like. So overall, great, doable, but possibly a heavy load. 

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