Negative Research Experience

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by tatabox80, Jun 22, 2002.

  1. tatabox80

    tatabox80 Super-Duper Member

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    Hi there,
    I dont' believe I've seen a post like this before. During the last school year I worked for a professor doing research. Nothing medically related, actually it dealt with how a certain species of bacteria affected soy bean growth. I had some negative experiences with this experiment. First, we did not progress very far with the project (Had difficulty getting both bacteria and soy beans to grow in the lab), I also had difficulty communicating with the prof I was working for, also towards the end she stopped signing my time cards and I wasn't getting paid. This raised financial issues so I didn't work as much in the lab and worked at my other job to cover. My reason for posting is this, should I mention this experience in my application? I feel as if I wouldn't be able to talk about the research itself if brought up in an interview. I'm more of a people person and enjoyed my work at the hospital much more than I could ever enjoy research work. Any input would be appreciated..and sorry about the long winded post <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" />
     
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  3. coolwaters

    coolwaters Member

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    I think that it would be worth it to mention this experience in your app. We always learn something - sometimes more from negative experiences vs. positive experiences. For example, next time you attempt a research project you will be careful in selecting factors that will produce results in a known climate, etc. Also, in an interview if they ask you to speak about it, you focus on the positive -you explain the project, the type of methods you used, and illustrate it was a good learning experience. Identify a couple things you came away from in the exp. No need to go into the negative - don't tell them, and they won't ask. Remember, not all research projects lead to publication - that's the nature of scientific research.
     
  4. 1st Rain Drop

    1st Rain Drop Sugarsnap Pea Snapper

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    I think you should mention it if you've spent a substantial amount of time working there. The reasons why you didn't enjoy the research (i.e. being more of a "people person") demonstrates exactly why medicine is right for you. Unless your name is published on your professor's work or if you've given any type of presentation about it, I wouldn't worry too much about admissions committees drilling you about the technicalities. I use to work in a plant biology lab and would grow arabidopsis plants only to mutate their genes using vacuum infiltration. My first two years of college I spent working there. Did I ever see any results? No. Not a single mutation was found. I did, however, list the experience on my application because it describes I have been doing something during that time other than going to school. In addition, it was a growing experience because I learned the lab environment was not personally gratifying. Anyways, good luck to you with whatever you decide to do.
     
  5. jmejia1

    jmejia1 Senior Member

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    mention it. if asked, you can say you tried research but that you found you were much more passionate about working with people as a volunteer at clinics etc.
     
  6. trout

    trout Senior Member

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    Any negative can be made into a positive....
    first definitely mention it, they don't check (I actually went through the same experience when I was in undergrad...but at least your mentor knew your name which is one step up from my experience, ironically I went to graduate school turning down the school that I had done this research and will now be attending medical school there in the fall--no one even asked me who the PI was in the lab and I hadn't even listed it, they obviously don't have time to check with each individual person....so this is why this story was important)
    so what did you learn:
    1)importance of communication and team work that needs to be invovled to accomplish things
    2)research isn't always results driven but the process, questions and trouble shooting that got you there
    I think after looking back after five years and having worked with many undergrads in a pretty similar situation I would also have to say (and I was asked about this in one interview) I didn't have the maturity and experience to address the situation directly with my mentor, which is what lead to my dissapointment with research and my eventual lack of interest in the project. Looking back I can say it was problems on both of our behalfs but you still learned invaluable lessons out of that experience...and if you choose to do research again how to handle it differently and what to look for in a mentor. So...think about the positives and write/address these...good luck!
     

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