3 research labs, volunteer, tutoring, MCAT, classes.... Simultaneously

Venc

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I have the opportunity to be in 3 research labs simultaneously. One in which I'm right now (microbiology) , 1 cancer lab (waiting), and one more which is also very good.

I also volunteer (although thinking on leaving because I don't do anything :mad:, yet I have the chance to observe surgeries if I stay), I tutor and planing on taking few classes. To add a little more I have to prepare for the MCAT, which I'm sure is not my strongest skill.

Is it really worth to do all 3 research labs? I'm pretty sure it would look excellent to take that load and do so much research when each lab is completely different, giving me a very broad experience.

What EC is better to drop?

Ohh I really need EC and LOR, my GPA is not as strong as some of you guys. And those would be my ECs, I don't really have previous ones

Thank you for your time
 
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solo75

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Drop as much as you need in order to do well in school and keep a well rounded application. It would be better to make A's and keep a multitude of EC activities than have three research positions.
 
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Venc

Venc

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Drop as much as you need in order to do well in school and keep a well rounded application. It would be better to make A's and keep a multitude of EC activities than have three research positions.
Thank you!

I just wanted to be strong in research as it is important and should help make my application more attractive, and I don't have much time left. And I'm interested in continuing research in and after medical school
 

hiyaman

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Idk how you can really get involved with your research if you are spreading it out over 3 labs. Say you research 5 hours per lab per week for a total of 15 hours, It would be better if that 15 hours of work is all centered in one lab on one project. You would be more productive and I think learn more rather than spreading all your time out. I would do whatever research I thought was interesting, drop the rest and keep volunteering.
 

NickNaylor

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Idk how you can really get involved with your research if you are spreading it out over 3 labs. Say you research 5 hours per lab per week for a total of 15 hours, It would be better if that 15 hours of work is all centered in one lab on one project. You would be more productive and I think learn more rather than spreading all your time out. I would do whatever research I thought was interesting, drop the rest and keep volunteering.
Totally agree.
 
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Venc

Venc

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Totally agree.
Idk how you can really get involved with your research if you are spreading it out over 3 labs. Say you research 5 hours per lab per week for a total of 15 hours, It would be better if that 15 hours of work is all centered in one lab on one project. You would be more productive and I think learn more rather than spreading all your time out. I would do whatever research I thought was interesting, drop the rest and keep volunteering.
Thank you!

Well the one I'm now requires few hours. The cancer lab has a minimum set of hours (part-time job amount), the other one I haven't discussed that.

I'll just have to think about it during the break

Thanks both
 
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Three labs at the same time? WTF :scared:. Dude I spent all four years of my UG in the same lab and trust me that was too time consuming in and of itself. You need to show DEVOTION to ONE experiment. ADCOMs want to see that you moved science forward and realistically if you are in three labs at the same time you will be nothing but a paper weight running gels here and there. Also, I spend 15-20 hours in lab each week, and this is the norm if you want to make any sort of impact whatsoever. It took me 2.5 years (say 3000+ hrs. including summers) to pump out a paper with authorship, I don't know how you expect to do that with your schedule.

Also, my advice DROP lab like its hot. It burnt me two years ago. Research + MCAT DOES NOT equal sucess. Its too time consuming. I am restudying for the MCAT this time around with no lab distractions and it is going much better. Trust me limit your ECs if you want to do good on the MCAT, especially if you are taking classes. NO more than 5 hrs. of ECs a week when MCAT prepping.
 

fish89

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Being in three labs at once would actually be looked at NEGATIVELY. Premeds always have this idea that somehow more is better - when in reality, QUALITY is better than quantity. You need some measure of quantity, but there is no way that you can convince an adcom that you were doing quality, invested work in each lab while working in 3 at once. I was in a prestigious research program at school and when I wanted to work in 2 labs, ALL the profs I talked to (including med school adcom committee ppl) ALL encouraged me to take one OR the other. Their argument was that I can't spread myself thin, and they weren't convinced that I could work 20-30 hrs/wk in both while taking a full course load. If you want to really do a project well, nobody will believe that you can do that adequately while in 3 labs. Nobody will believe you were a major contribution to the lab if you work <5-10 hrs/week. And nobody will believe you worked more than 10 hrs/wk in each lab if you work in 3.

I mean, I could have been in 8 labs at once... but I didn't. why? It's just not smart. Pick the ONE lab with research you're most interested in, and which will have the highest likelihood of you learning something and/or get published.
 
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Ohh I really need EC and LOR, my GPA is not as strong as some of you guys. And those would be my ECs, I don't really have previous ones
I agree with what everyone else have already said. It looks like you're trying to get involved in a laundry list of research activities only at a superficial level (you do not have time to do anything in depth in 3 labs simultaneously while studying for the MCAT) because you think it will somehow compensate for a poor GPA, but in the end, there's nothing impressive about it and it will only be perceived as a poor sense of prioritization and lack of good judgment.
 
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as a researcher who is about to get their PhD I would say to spend all of your research time in ONE lab. you will be more likely to get more done and maybe get a paper. If you spread it over three different labs you will most likely not get any real research accomplished.
 
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Venc

Venc

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Three labs at the same time? WTF :scared:.

Also, my advice DROP lab like its hot.
Trust me limit your ECs if you want to do good on the MCAT, especially if you are taking classes. NO more than 5 hrs. of ECs a week when MCAT prepping.
LOL

Being in three labs at once would actually be looked at NEGATIVELY. ... in reality, QUALITY is better than quantity. You need some measure of quantity, but there is no way that you can convince an adcom that you were doing quality, invested work in each lab while working in 3 at once. Nobody will believe you were a major contribution to the lab if you work <5-10 hrs/week. And nobody will believe you worked more than 10 hrs/wk in each lab if you work in 3.

Pick the ONE lab with research you're most interested in, and which will have the highest likelihood of you learning something and/or get published.
I agree with what everyone else have already said. It looks like you're trying to get involved in a laundry list of research activities only at a superficial level (you do not have time to do anything in depth in 3 labs simultaneously while studying for the MCAT) because you think it will somehow compensate for a poor GPA, but in the end, there's nothing impressive about it and it will only be perceived as a poor sense of prioritization and lack of good judgment.
as a researcher who is about to get their PhD I would say to spend all of your research time in ONE lab. you will be more likely to get more done and maybe get a paper. If you spread it over three different labs you will most likely not get any real research accomplished.
Thank you all, I mean it.

I'm thinking right now which one to drop but it is REALLY, REALLY difficult to decide. They all are great and have their benefits.

The worst part is that I spent over a year trying hard to just get into one, and now I have the opportunity to work in more, and can't do it ugggh :mad:

I was planing to actually do the 20+ hours that were required for each of the new labs and take less classes, but that is kind of crazy too
 

theCynic

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According to Guinness world records the largest amount of labs a single person worked in simultaneously was 42. You need 40 more labs to win.
 

berriesandcream

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According to Guinness world records the largest amount of labs a single person worked in simultaneously was 42. You need 40 more labs to win.
This literally made me laugh out loud :laugh:
 

URHere

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I'm thinking right now which one to drop but it is REALLY, REALLY difficult to decide. They all are great and have their benefits.
If you need to decide which lab to drop, these are a few things worth considering:

1) Longer commitments are looked at favorably, so you would benefit from staying with your current lab, and politely declining one of the newer opportunities.

2) If you have already discussed details with one of the new labs and promised your time, that should weigh into your decision. It sounds like you have had more contact with the cancer lab than with the third lab. If that is true, then I would suggest declining the offer from lab #3 - professionalism is important at all stages of the game.

3) If you haven't really committed to either of the new labs, consider which lab would teach you the most. Which lab uses techniques that are most different from your current lab? Which group seems most helpful and supportive? You may also want to consider each lab's publication record and the communication skills of your potential PIs. Communication can make or break a lab experience, not to mention a potential LOR.

Hope that helps. I don't think that working in two labs would be overkill (especially since your current lab has capped your time), but do agree that working in 3 labs simultaneously won't look good for you.

Pick your second lab carefully, and good luck.
 
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Venc

Venc

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If you need to decide which lab to drop, these are a few things worth considering:

1) Longer commitments are looked at favorably, so you would benefit from staying with your current lab, and politely declining one of the newer opportunities.

2) If you have already discussed details with one of the new labs and promised your time, that should weigh into your decision. It sounds like you have had more contact with the cancer lab than with the third lab. If that is true, then I would suggest declining the offer from lab #3 - professionalism is important at all stages of the game.

3) If you haven't really committed to either of the new labs, consider which lab would teach you the most. Which lab uses techniques that are most different from your current lab? Which group seems most helpful and supportive? You may also want to consider each lab's publication record and the communication skills of your potential PIs. Communication can make or break a lab experience, not to mention a potential LOR.

Hope that helps. I don't think that working in two labs would be overkill (especially since your current lab has capped your time), but do agree that working in 3 labs simultaneously won't look good for you.

Pick your second lab carefully, and good luck.
Thank you, it was very helpful

The funny part is that the 3rd one is completely different in pretty much everything to the one I'm doing. So it would in theory give me another prospective on research. But not sure if Med schools would prefer a cancer research over this one. Both work with animals