Aug 6, 2017
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Hello, Everyone!

This is my first time posting on this site.

I just finished my ALB in Psychology at Harvard Extension and will, hopefully, be starting the Premedical Program there in the Fall of 2018. I'm 32, so definitely an older student. I am currently job hunting for a position that will both pay my bills and utilize my current skill sets while also providing a learning experience and medical/hospital exposure.

It looks like I may (FINGERS CROSSED) be receiving two job offers next week. One is with Boston Children's Hospital as an ICU Patient Experience Representative. It is mostly administrative/secretarial but it will involve phone contact with patient's parents, physicians, and nurse practitioners. I will also have the possibility of assisting with research once I have learned all the fundamentals of the job as well as occasionally meeting patients face to face. The other position is at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as a Clinical Research Assistant where I will be involved in executing trial protocols, regular meetings with surgeons and fellows, and daily participation in behavioral medicine research. They both seem amazing for entry-level exposure and full-time work. Both will offer daily contact with Harvard Medical School faculty. The first involves more engagement in a traditional hospital environment and has better benefits, but it is mostly a desk job. The second offers firsthand research exposure but about a quarter of the benefits.

I also volunteer weekly on an LGBT helpline and plan to take on more volunteer work once I know my work schedule. I still have at least 3 years before I can start applying to medical schools so there is plenty of time for shadowing and whatnot. I want to give any position I take my full commitment and stay for at least two years to gain competency and build meaningful relationships and networks.

I'm torn. I may not get the offers, but this dilemma raises the question of where I should focus future job hunting. Lower paying but fascinating research assistant positions? Or better paying and more hospital based administrative work? If you were in my shoes, what would you pick and why? If you read all of this, thanks so much!

Best,
S
 

DrMidlife

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Either is fine. You aren't likely to get your name on a paper in the research job you describe, so the "research" in it is relatively trivial from the perspective of med school admissions.

Also note that janitors get exposed daily to Harvard Medical School faculty without improving their Harvard admission odds. If you're not actively demonstrating academic prowess to those faculty, they aren't LORs-in-waiting. "Academic" means you're writing a study. "Assistant" means you're running a study. Very different.

Best of luck to you.
 
OP
Saydegrace
Aug 6, 2017
2
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Either is fine. You aren't likely to get your name on a paper in the research job you describe, so the "research" in it is relatively trivial from the perspective of med school admissions.

Also note that janitors get exposed daily to Harvard Medical School faculty without improving their Harvard admission odds. If you're not actively demonstrating academic prowess to those faculty, they aren't LORs-in-waiting. "Academic" means you're writing a study. "Assistant" means you're running a study. Very different.

Best of luck to you.
Thanks for the reply!

I meant more that I would feel lucky in either position to be working directly with Harvard Medical School faculty. I've taken enough classes at the Extension school with professors who also teach at the medical school that I don't have hero worship, just extreme respect, and admiration. I feel pretty privileged that I have access to such amazing folks in my neighborhood. Harvard Medical School is obviously fantastic, but I'm going to aim for best fit when I start applying, not go prestige hunting :). I am going down this route at this point because I get googly eyed and fluttery over the learning process so I'll see where that takes me. I doubt it will land me the top tier. But if I can learn from some brilliant people, I'll be happy wherever I am.
 
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