5+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2014
Medical Student
I've been working on an independent project for nearly a year now with many negative results. I am taking a break for medical leave soon and my PI has basically offered me two options for when I return:

1) Continue working on an independent project, perhaps scrapping the current one, and hope to publish 1st author in 1.5 - 2 years.

2) Finish up existing papers for PI and get 2nd, 3rd, etc authorships.

I'm a rising senior with 2+ years of basic science research and a 3rd authorship from a different lab. I hope to conduct research, whatever kind it may be, in the future.

Not sure how much this matters to schools with a research emphasis. Thoughts?
Dec 10, 2013
Medical Student (Accepted)
It matters a great deal for research heavy schools (looking at you Stanford).

As someone with 5 years of basic science experience, I can tell you that either option is riddled with downsides. In terms of your application for medical school, go for finishing the incomplete papers. In terms of personal growth, you will get more out of a new independent project.

Personally, I picked option one and don't regret it. That being said, I did put two years into the project and now it is one of those almost finished papers.

My $0.02
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