FutureDoc4

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So, nearing the end of the first semester of M1 of med school very excited for it to be over. Over the last few weeks I have gotten more and more involved in a lab I am working at... basic science (with some translational aspects)... as I get more and more involved I am missing more and more class and I am getting kinda worried.... our lectures are recorded but I have a difficult time forcing myself to sit down and listen to them and my overall studying has greatly decreased... my PI is an MD only, so she/he does understand about med school demands.......however, the more I get involved the more interested I am (it is a cancer bio lab).... I guess I wanted to know that other people have balanced a good amount of lab time (12-16 hrs a weeK) and still been successful in all their courses because I think the worst thing would be for my school work to suffer....(Also, I am NOT an MD-PhD )

I always remind myself that I should not let school get in the way of my education (that is how I am justifying to myself) but I dunno..... blah I am rambling. Thanks advance for any input.
 

rachmoninov3

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Do practice questions. Especially if you can find a questions for step 1, do them, it'll probably scare the crap out of you and give the motivation for studying as well as curing cancer.
 

GreenShirt

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Consider taking a year off to do research at some point in your medical school career or getting involved in an MD/PhD program. I think a lot of students have problems with the classroom learning of first and second year.We don't go to medical school because we want to sit around reading about science, we go because we're excited about applying science to real life work. I think you may enjoy lab because you are actively engaged in doing something (moving about, solving problems, seeing results, etc.) as opposed to sitting around listening to lectures. A lot of student enjoy their clinical years more for the same reason. Unfortunately, you just have to bite the bullet and get through the boring basic science learning for boards. Try to manage your time better: Allow yourself only so many hours per weak in lab and set aside study time as well (maybe listen to lectures while you have experiments running).
 
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HarryRosenMD

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Hi...

So... not a recipe for disaster by any means - but rather a time management issue. Your research responsibilities basically represent a part time job during medical school. Ultimately, your medical studies should be your priority. If you feel that your studies are suffering due to the research... then seriously consider dropping the research for the time being. You can always return to research... but not to the time devoted to learning your basic sciences. Hope that helps.
 

Pinkertinkle

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no way, more like a recipe for awesomeness if you're up to the task. I balanced reseach, class and board review throughout second year and now have some nice first authorships to go along with a nice step 1 score.

You know how much you can handle, if your grades start to suffer then the first thing to go would be the research. However do realize preclinical grades are pretty much bunk so unless you're afraid of not passing I wouldn't worry.
 

SoCuteMD

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no way, more like a recipe for awesomeness if you're up to the task. I balanced reseach, class and board review throughout second year and now have some nice first authorships to go along with a nice step 1 score.

You know how much you can handle, if your grades start to suffer then the first thing to go would be the research. However do realize preclinical grades are pretty much bunk so unless you're afraid of not passing I wouldn't worry.

This is one of the most perpetuated myths of medical school. See the (Mistakes thread). I bought into it initially (first semester or so of med school) and then changed my mind and started kicking my own @$$. It was one of my better life choices. Doing well in pre-clinical classes + busting my butt studying for Step 1 = rocking Step 1. The knowledge I had from all that helped build a great foundation for clinical learning. The students I know who have fared well wrt interview offers from their top choices have been the ones who did well pre-clinically and on Step 1.
 

FutureDoc4

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SoCuteMD, do you believe this is true in a P/F school? I mean, I know they keep our grades to "rank" us later for AOA (and being the top 20% is only one of the criteria), but there is no Honors, High Pass, here... so, I mean is there a benefit besides that? Step I prep seems like it would be connected to how hard you work in you classes... but they make you memorize so much bull**** in class that a lot of the time is teacher specific and I don't feel like will ever show up on Step I????? Any other feelings on this / research?
 

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Do NOT sacrifice your medical education for basic science research. Basic science research takes a lot of time. A few people will end up at the right place at the right time and everyone will hear about how successful they were. What you don't hear about is the guy who busted his butt in the lab at the expense of med school classes--then the experiments didn't work and his grades went down the crapper. The nature of basic science research is that something will go wrong at some point that will require considerable more attention than you can reasonably give during med school. If you find yourself in one of those right place at the right time situations where everything has essentially been worked out for you--go for it. But I would strongly recommend, without knowing any other details about your research situation, that you take a year off or consider and MD/PhD program. It sounds like you have a general love for research so you will actually get the most out of those really tough situations when you can devote yourself entirely to the research, guilt-free.
If you are set on doing research during med school without taking time off, the safest bet is a clinical project or if you know what you are doing in the lab, to contribute to someone else's project.
 

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You're an M1 in your first semester.

This could be a recipe for disaster if you let it get out of hand. If you're not attending lecture and you're not reviewing the material you're probably falling behind. That's a bad place to be. You don't want to try to cram the week before the test... it just won't work.

You can balance other parts of your life with school, but you need to make sure you haven't tipped the scale to far and it sounds like you might be neglecting your studies.
 

Pinkertinkle

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This is one of the most perpetuated myths of medical school. See the (Mistakes thread). I bought into it initially (first semester or so of med school) and then changed my mind and started kicking my own @$$. It was one of my better life choices. Doing well in pre-clinical classes + busting my butt studying for Step 1 = rocking Step 1. The knowledge I had from all that helped build a great foundation for clinical learning. The students I know who have fared well wrt interview offers from their top choices have been the ones who did well pre-clinically and on Step 1.

You call it a myth because in your experience it hasn't been true. In my experience it is true, so I call it fact.

To have the most options for residency you'll need more than a high step 1 score. You'll have to be a complete package and strong research adds a lot to the complete package.

You advise the OP to spend his time focusing on classes, which will help him do well on step 1. This is the safe route, and it'll probably be fine. But when you apply to a competitive residency high step 1 scores are a dime a dozen. Everyone's got 250+, a bunch of honors, great letters, how is he to distinguish himself?

The OP, like myself, goes to a PNP first two years school. His goal should be to learn enough to pass comfortably and build a foundation for step I. He should not spend extra effort to get that last 10% on the test consisting of minutae which he'll never see again (which we all know exists in classes) especially given that it wont make his PASS any different. If he can spend that effort to work on research and then focus on step 1 when the time comes he will be far ahead of the competition come match.

So people say well research might not work out, your project might sink and you'll end up with nothing. Well if you don't do it at all, you'll definitely have nothing. Research has other advantages besides possible publication: it builds connections with faculty, demonstrates early interest and inquisitive thinking. These are all very helpful for residency applications. Most importantly of all, the OP genuinely enjoys research and it is a nice break from all those boring lectures and inane PBL's that is the bulk of MS1 and MS2. The most exciting moments during my first two years of medical school were in the lab.

This has been my strategy and it has worked out very well thus far. Of course had I bombed step 1 I would be regretting it all now. However one knows what one is capable of best and with determined effort and discipline doing research during first two years a risk worth taking in my experience.
 
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I did lab work 15-20 hours/week during MS2. It was no problem really. Honors in all classes + research pubs = for the win for residency. I'd do it again if given the chance. Also, lab exps that you control are nice after the roller-coaster life of random lectures you may or may not care about.

Granted, your Saturday afternoons might be a little on the boring/nerdy side, but hey, that's life. :thumbup:
 

SoCuteMD

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SoCuteMD, do you believe this is true in a P/F school? I mean, I know they keep our grades to "rank" us later for AOA (and being the top 20% is only one of the criteria), but there is no Honors, High Pass, here... so, I mean is there a benefit besides that? Step I prep seems like it would be connected to how hard you work in you classes... but they make you memorize so much bull**** in class that a lot of the time is teacher specific and I don't feel like will ever show up on Step I????? Any other feelings on this / research?

I wouldn't underestimate the value of AOA or a high ranking. AOA opens a lot of doors.

I found most of my preclinical study very relevant to Step 1 and I found more connection between the preclinical and clinical years than most people insist is there - but I rarely got a pimp question wrong and often knew shelf questions from my preclinical study.

I also presented research at a national conference - but I did most of that work during free time (summers, vacations).
 

SoCuteMD

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You call it a myth because in your experience it hasn't been true. In my experience it is true, so I call it fact.

To have the most options for residency you'll need more than a high step 1 score. You'll have to be a complete package and strong research adds a lot to the complete package.

You advise the OP to spend his time focusing on classes, which will help him do well on step 1. This is the safe route, and it'll probably be fine. But when you apply to a competitive residency high step 1 scores are a dime a dozen. Everyone's got 250+, a bunch of honors, great letters, how is he to distinguish himself?

The OP, like myself, goes to a PNP first two years school. His goal should be to learn enough to pass comfortably and build a foundation for step I. He should not spend extra effort to get that last 10% on the test consisting of minutae which he'll never see again (which we all know exists in classes) especially given that it wont make his PASS any different. If he can spend that effort to work on research and then focus on step 1 when the time comes he will be far ahead of the competition come match.

So people say well research might not work out, your project might sink and you'll end up with nothing. Well if you don't do it at all, you'll definitely have nothing. Research has other advantages besides possible publication: it builds connections with faculty, demonstrates early interest and inquisitive thinking. These are all very helpful for residency applications. Most importantly of all, the OP genuinely enjoys research and it is a nice break from all those boring lectures and inane PBL's that is the bulk of MS1 and MS2. The most exciting moments during my first two years of medical school were in the lab.

This has been my strategy and it has worked out very well thus far. Of course had I bombed step 1 I would be regretting it all now. However one knows what one is capable of best and with determined effort and discipline doing research during first two years a risk worth taking in my experience.

You seem to think I'm anti-research, but the very opposite is true. I've presented at a national conference, am in the process of revising an article and writing another case report. I just think that to do so at the expense of your preclinical study is a big mistake. However, I will say that it's not my research experience that is the bulk of my discussion during residency interviews these days.
 
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