Ultimately, this research paper took a lot out of me. It was hard to sit down for one to two hours just scrolling through the UCI libraries page hoping to find some relevant sources that are actually legitimate. Then once you have found some, you can either be VERY lucky and have a pdf file ready to download, or if not, you have to go to the library and leave your cozy bed to go find the book you need. Reading, highlighting, matching, synthesizing etc. really takes some effort; but wow, was it worth it. The most worthwhile experience was when I was able to find more sources by understanding how the search engines would categorize certain topics. For example, when looking up music in the Vietnam War, you should search: “VIETNAM WAR” “CULTURE” “HISTORY” “MUSIC”. All separately and you will find many articles that are both relevant and interesting. Weird, I know.
The best piece of advice I would have for newly incoming freshman with this particular project is to make sure you are researching something that you love. Because yes, the actual researching does suck, I am not going to lie; but the euphoria you feel when you find a source that is incredible AND can be downloaded AND pertains to your entire essay is indescribable. The best part of this project was that i was researching something that I love: music. Now, of course I had to specify what genre and facet of music that I wanted to research, but when I started making connections to different songs and albums that I thought had no significance to the Vietnam War, I was elated. You are going to be able to know everything you ever wanted to know abou the particular topic you are researching, the only thing that will limit you is yourself.
So yes, researching sucks. But knowing everything you ever wanted to know about a topic of your choice? Unbelievably amazing.