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How much of a commitment for research

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by latinfridley, Nov 13, 2002.

  1. latinfridley

    7+ Year Member

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    Whoever has done any research, how much of a time commitment did u put forth? The reason I ask is that I have been discussing the possiblity of research in the neurobiology or neuroscience field with one of my profs, and he mentioned that if ur gonna do research its gotta be an all out commitment. How much of a commitment did you put forth in doing research?
    the jrod
     
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  3. Lancer_VII

    Lancer_VII Member
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    2 of the 4 labs I worked in were neuro labs which I find take more time than my other experiences, mainly because a good portion of my time is spent giving injections to 35+ rats each day or feeding milk to baby rats every 4 hours or even sitting in front of the cryostat slicing up brains.

    During the summer, my resarch ranged from 50-70 hours a week (including weekends). For my thesis, the committment was approximately 20-30 hours a week - until the week before my defense which was more like 120 hours a week. It really depends on the kind of research you are doing (working with rats or just cells?) and also whether you are planning to do research during the school year, during the summer, etc. I mean, the prof will not require you to work 40 hours a week if you also have a full courseload.

    However, not all the time spent is grueling work. They're tons of time in between incubations and PCR reactions, etc. in which you could do other things like sleep, check e-mail, trade stocks, etc. I think I worked a bit harder than usual but I did get a bunch of papers out of 'em! Good luck and have fun!
     
  4. NIYO2K2

    NIYO2K2 Member
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    It depends on what you are pursuing an MD or MD/PhD. I did research this summer and I felt that I wasn't at all fully committed. I was doing it for the money ($10.00/hr), I know it sounds bad but hey, it pays the bills:laugh: . Anyway, only you can decide if you want to be committed to the research.
     
  5. eschauberger

    eschauberger Some Guy
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    The nature of research is long hours. This summer I was at a summer research program in Milwaukee. All of the students were required to work 40 hours/week mininum, but I think everyone ended up working around 50 hours, which sort-of sucked because we weren't being paid hourly (just a lump stipend---more hours, less pay per hour).
    -=Eric
     
  6. FWIW: It seems that undergrad research is the most underappreciated activity on my app. Only at Vandy did they ask about it, and that's because they're hard up about research.

    Anyways, here's what I did (BTW: I am going for MD only, and do NOT intend on becoming an academic...I did research b/c I enjoyed it as an undergrad, but I got my fill):

    -Freshman year - 1 credit research assistant (aka lab b*tch). Here's where I learned a lot of neat stuff about the organism my lab was devoted to studying. - 3-5 hrs/wk. No papers or anything.

    -Soph summer - served as a Summer Fellow (stipend and research grant money) for 8 weeks at my college. I designed my own experiments with an advisor and carried them out. 40 hrs/wk. Paper, but not published.

    -Senior year - departmental honors. I was responsible for managing a lab, submitting a budget / orders, training lab b*tches :) and, oh yeah, getting bench time myself to run all the experiments I designed. It was an awesome experience b/c at my college they treated bio honors kids like mini-PhDs. Consequently, it was 20-40 hrs / wk for the first three quarters...and, well....a lot more near the end. My paper was 12.5k words and I had to give a committee defense (which sucked). In addition, another honors student and myself presented our research at the ASM meeting this year...so that poster took a long time to prepare. All things considered, it was WAY more stress than I needed when I should have been winding down. It would have been impossible to pull this together if I was taking 16 credits (I took 12 and audited another 4 in anticipation of the workload). The most fulfilling things were designing experiments and training future honors kids. From talking to other liberal arts college friends of mine, my experience is not unique. They had similarly tough/rewarding honors experiences. I cannot speak to many large universities, but the friends of mine who did attend those types of school didn't have the same type of "mini PhD" experience.

    Bottom line: if you're at a small school, or at a large school that lets you be independant, definately do research. I could walk into any lab in med school and own....solely b/c of my undergrad research experiences. All that being said, I don't want to do much, if any, research in med school :) ...bench work just isn't my deal.

    If you are just going to be somebody lab monkey, then maybe it's not worth it. I guess in that case doing a semester or a year might help out and give you some technical skills and maybe a letter (and probably from a big name if you're at a big school). You should investigate cases like this for yourself.

    Best of luck deciding!
     
  7. Street Philosopher

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    commitment is good. how else will you get the full benefit of research? if you just jerk around for a few months and then quit, what's the point? commitment is good.
     

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