The three-minute paper undergraduate contest is back!

The 3MP is back! Chances are, if you’re new to Trent, you’re so inundated with acronyms and abbreviations that 3MP is another meaningless alphabet soup. You read the headline and think, “Meh, I don’t need to know about this.”I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.

That’s okay, because not only does being wrong build character, but I’m here, by your side, holding your hand through the medium of print news.

I’m here to lay it all down and explain why you should be pre-emptively excited for the Three Minute Paper. The 3MP is a contest for undergraduate students in their upper year (either third-year in a general degree, or fourth-year in an honours), undertaking a major research project

The goal is to explain it in less than three minutes in front of a general audience. It’s a chance to win fame, glory, cash prizes, and an opportunity to get published in the Journal of Undergraduate Studies (JUST), and maybe even compete in the 3MT, the original graduate student contest.

So, be brief, don’t use jargon, and explain to the world why your research is something other people should get excited about. It’s an elevator pitch of whatever’s managed to hold your interest for so many months.

I’ve got a bit of a personal interest in this whole thing, as last year I was a contestant. I can talk firsthand about how the experience went, as well as some common misconceptions. These misconceptions are, in fact, actual instances of me being wrong.

First Misconception:
My research isn’t done! I can’t enter! I have no idea what I’m talking about!

I’ve been there, applying to take part in this mid-way through what ended up being a 65-page paper. The great thing is, you can pick one element, or even just your hypothesis. 180 seconds isn’t a long time, but it’s plenty of time to explain a core idea or a really interesting problem.

Second Misconception:
My research isn’t interesting! No one will care!

Not true! Odds are, people will at least dig your enthusiasm. If whatever you’re working on is holding your interest, at least one other person will want to hear it. Furthermore, the challenge of it is to explain a big idea in a wee little bit of time.

Third Misconception:
My research is way too complicated! I can’t pare it down to 180 seconds or less!

Well, get a load a you, being all smart and stuff! What you’re forgetting is that not only will you have literal months to hone your presentation to a razor’s edge, you’ll also have the option to meet with academic skills for advice and assistance. Take this opportunity, trust me.

But what if you’re not doing any research? What if you’re a first-year? Well, you can still come out and watch people compete. You may be asking why you’d want to go and do a thing like that.

I had the privilege of being front row centre to all of the action, and I don’t know why you’d miss out on it.

There’s something really interesting about watching people talk about what they’re passionate about. Furthermore, if I had witnessed this event as a first-year, it would have spurned me even further in the direction of independent research.

There’s going to be an information session that will fill you in on all the logistical aspects of applying on January 20 in the Lady Eaton Pit.

The application is a really simple online form, giving you even fewer excuses to avoid dazzling us with your brilliance.