Yit is a third-year PPE undergraduate student at the University of Warwick. He joined Reinvention in 2021 as an Assistant Editor and has recently become the Editor. In this post, he tells us about what undergraduate research means to him and why it matters.

There’s a distant memory of mine suppressed at the back of my head. Some of you might be familiar with the daunting experience of writing an Extended Essay if you did the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme for sixth form. Most high schoolers tremble at the thought of a 4000-word research project. Frankly, some of us still do. But there’s a small minority of individuals whose eyes sparkle at the thought of researching what they always wanted to know. Hidden behind the 4000 words of scholarly writing, were hour-long stories of how they got interested in the topic.


Ironically, I never identified with this minority. I would stand in a distance, in awe at their ability to dedicate weeks of research to their projects. This disassociation turned out to be an advantage. I loved listening to people pitch their ideas, participating in their brainstorming process, and turning their dreams into reality. The Gen-Zs would call this ‘living vicariously through you’. But that’s what I wanted when I joined Reinvention in my first year of university. I wanted to convert their passion into a project they could be proud of.


I remember reading All the Lovers in the Night and there was a moment where the protagonist was lying on her bed, replaying a specific classical piece on the radio. But what you didn’t know was the author, Meiko Kawakami, was previously a musician. Her song choice was intentional, a reflection of her experience as an artist. When I re-read the book with the knowledge, there was a newfound appreciation for the scene. The background of the writer matters just as much in fiction as it does in academia. Your choice to pursue the topic, the perspectives you choose, and the ideas you include, are all a reflection of the cumulative experiences you grew up with it.


I want Reinvention to revisit this. You can search for the author names of research papers and get department pages, Google Scholar pages, and maybe, a Wikipedia page. You are confronted by a never-ending list of publications reflecting a career-long pursuit and intellectual growth. Reinvention authors do not get this. Reinvention authors should.


There is something important about these stories. We do not read in a vacuum. Drawing the dots and personal connections is what matters. Whether it be your hand-crafted research title or a project you were a research assistant to, the decision that led you to publish your paper is what makes it special.


More importantly, stories are what inspire the world to keep going. There is a reason why we tell children bedtime stories. It fosters imagination, but it also encourages others to create their own stories. If you read an advanced undergraduate paper about biomechanical engineering, filled with complex terminologies you didn’t even know existed, it would be easy to feel that our work pales in comparison. Authors do not share a mutual subject interest, but they share a mutual passion that drove them to research.


As your new editor for Reinvention, I hope this reaches out to those who need to hear it most. That your research story matters; your research matters; and you, most importantly, matter. Just like how there is no story not worth telling; there is no research, not worth reading.

Interested in publishing your research with Reinvention as well? Find out more at Reinvention: an International Journal of Undergraduate Research (reinventionjournal.org) or get in touch via reinventionjournal@warwick.ac.uk