We got some BES seniors down last week to share about their FYP experiences. Interestingly, a few tips were shared across all the presentations. So here we present – the FYP Cheatsheet!
1 Do what you love
The speakers’ most common advice after “I was really stressed out” was probably “Choose an area of research that you like”.
Justin, an Environmental Geography student, conducted his FYP on paleolimnology. This was motivated by his passion for lakes and how he could make sense of Earth’s history through their deposit layers. Similarly, Gabriel conducted his FYP on gender influence on hybrid car purchases, a topic closely related to his passion for cars. When faced with mounting challenges along the way, it was Gabriel’s passion that allowed him to persevere and complete his paper.
Indeed, apart from making it much easier to enjoy the FYP research process, a passion for your research topic could possibly be the lifesaver in the face of obstacles.
2 Choose the right mentor and build your network
Every mentor is different. If you’re a serial procrastinator, you’ll probably need a mentor that guides you in every step of the way. On the other hand, if you have excellent self-discipline, it will be great to have a mentor that gives you more independence and control over the progress of your project.
In any case, it is of utmost importance that the mentor’s research interest parallels your project – this will help to ensure that you receive very helpful tips and guidance along the way. Serendipity allowing, you may even get to follow Joy’s footsteps in working with passionate researchers and gaining invaluable insights on marine conservation and reef monitoring, while completing her FYP on Singapore’s coral diversity.
In another stellar FYP showcase, Max talked about how his participation in international conferences and work experience in the National Parks Board allowed him access to accurate data and research insights on the population status and distribution of otters in Singapore. By taking the initiative in learning and working with professionals, not only did Max gain an edge in data collection for his FYP, he also forged valuable friendships with fellow otter-enthusiasts and captured some of the most amazing otter footage we’ve seen.
3 Don’t forget to manage your expectations
The first presentation by Fairul was no doubt eye-catching.
Not that we have complete faith in Murphy’s Law, but the seniors agree that it is almost a certainty that something will go haywire in a months-long FYP. Or as Fairul puts it, “Everyone will suffer in a different way”.
Enforcing a strict work schedule may provide for some leeway for workarounds, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to how flexible and adaptable you are in the face of uncertainty – which our last point can possibly be an answer to:
4 Love what you do
So to end off on a lighter note, apart from doing what you love, you’ve gotta love what you do.
In Xiang Hui’s witty presentation about his FYP research on the Common Mormon butterfly, he vividly described how the weather, the butterflies’ reluctance to mate and their bemusing feeding habits on artificial flowers was an almost-table-flipping experience. Nonetheless, by finding joy and fun in all that he had to do, Xiang Hui thoroughly enjoyed his FYP on how wingtip patterns affected mating choice of Common Rose butterflies – an apt example of how to both enjoy the FYP process and handle unexpected challenges along the way.
All in all, this is only so much that we could summarize and distil out of the entire Share & Care session without writing an FYP length report here ourselves. Was the guide useful? Is there anything else you would like to know? Tell us about it in the comments box!
In the meantime, stay tuned for more Share & Care sessions coming your way!
– Publicity, 5th BES Student Comm