Quit research?

  • Yes

    Votes: 11 68.8%
  • No

    Votes: 5 31.3%

  • Total voters
    16
Mar 23, 2016
3
1
Status
Pre-Medical
So I'm in a bit of a predicament. I've been volunteering for a research lab since my freshman summer, for 20+ hours a week (for free!!). I'm in the honors program which requires you to publish a thesis, which is why I started research in the first place.
This past summer I finally got paid for it but I was working 40 (or more) hours a week... I've been absolutely miserable. I cry on the way to research and on top of those 40 lab hours, I have to come home and write or read papers etc. I'm so miserable. But if I quit, I won't get a LOR from my mentor, won't graduate with honors, and I feel like I'll look lazy. Plus, I haven't really gotten any leadership positions. I've gotten 15 volunteer hours per semester since I started but research has been my main thing. Also, I'm very involved in a community service club that ties in directly with my research. I just feel like if I quit then my whole resume will fall apart but if I don't quit, I will hate my life/senior year.
Someone PLEASE give me some kind of insight as to what I should do. I hate quitting and feeling like I'm giving up but I also don't want to have to get on anti-depressants. Should I quit and try to be a scribe or something? Or volunteer more? Help :(
 

Lawper

cat in a box
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Jun 17, 2014
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Sorry you're feeling this way. But we need more information.

1. Why do you dislike your research? What happened? Were the grad students/postdocs/PIs too demanding, furious, upset about your results, experiments etc.?

2. Can you work in another lab and still complete the thesis?

3. Have you acquired clinical and shadowing experiences?
 
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Commer_Knocker

Don't let the bastards grind you down.
2+ Year Member
Dec 12, 2015
88
35
The Other Side
QUIT. You don't need research if you aren't interested in a top 20 school or an MD/PhD. So if it's not something you're passionate about, you're wasting your time.

Graduating with Honors means nothing in the grand scheme of your medical career and very little for the admissions process. LORs can be found elsewhere.

Scribing would be great. And doing more volunteering, especially clinical, would fill any void left by quitting research. Plus, you've already done quite a bit of research already and could still put that on your app/talk about it during interviews.
 
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GoCubsGo20

2+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2016
500
664
Status
Medical Student
I was miserable with my PI too. I often dreaded working with him and would constantly sulk about it. Long story short I quit. Sure it made him angry, but I decided to put myself first for once. Applying to med school is essentially jumping through hoops, and I guess I got sick of it and decided to do what I wanted. I feel so awesome about my decision and have so much more motivation. Just my two cents.
 

zurc2014

5+ Year Member
Sep 25, 2014
735
719
Status
Medical Student
Stick it out. I started off like you did. I felt somewhat depressed for a phase during undergrad due to always being in the basement for HOURS and coming out at night. It was rough. I stuck with it and it led to sooo many doors opening. I mean opportunities premeds would die for. Not saying its a must and maybe I got a little lucky but just imo. I felt like you for a good 6 months now its going on my 6th year straight of research (was originally thinking MD,DO/PhD). It sucks....yes. But stick with it and pull as much goodness out of it as you can. I %100 percent say stick with it.
 
OP
katencispeig
Mar 23, 2016
3
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Sorry you're feeling this way. But we need more information.

1. Why do you dislike your research? What happened? Were the grad students/postdocs/PIs too demanding, furious, upset about your results, experiments etc.?

2. Can you work in another lab and still complete the thesis?

3. Have you acquired clinical and shadowing experiences?
1. They're very nice but expect too much. During the school year, I work over 20 hours in the lab then have to do a lot of writing outside of the lab and it makes keeping up with everything else impossible. And honestly I just do not like research. I hate sitting inside all day. And sometimes, I'll get there, expecting to be doing experiments, and end up just sitting there all day. It's very frustrating.
2. Nope
3. I volunteer in a hospital. And I have 40 hours of shadowing but only with one doctor. I never have time to shadow bc all of my time outside of class is spent at research.
 

Gryffindor20

2+ Year Member
Feb 9, 2015
256
349
Dumbledore's Office
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
What year are you now?

I would say that if you can, you need to cut back the hours of research per week, and devote some time to clinical work. It sounds like you've worked your butt off and you are simply feeling some very natural burnout. Try to set aside winter break to do nothing but fun; you need it. Meanwhile, take this semester and try to find a volunteering project that you care about and that you can devote some significant time to before you apply.
 

Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,552
78,734
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
Get out of there right now. No EC is worth the suffering you're going through.

Contrary to premed delusions, you don't need a LOR from your PI for med school.

So I'm in a bit of a predicament. I've been volunteering for a research lab since my freshman summer, for 20+ hours a week (for free!!). I'm in the honors program which requires you to publish a thesis, which is why I started research in the first place.
This past summer I finally got paid for it but I was working 40 (or more) hours a week... I've been absolutely miserable. I cry on the way to research and on top of those 40 lab hours, I have to come home and write or read papers etc. I'm so miserable. But if I quit, I won't get a LOR from my mentor, won't graduate with honors, and I feel like I'll look lazy. Plus, I haven't really gotten any leadership positions. I've gotten 15 volunteer hours per semester since I started but research has been my main thing. Also, I'm very involved in a community service club that ties in directly with my research. I just feel like if I quit then my whole resume will fall apart but if I don't quit, I will hate my life/senior year.
Someone PLEASE give me some kind of insight as to what I should do. I hate quitting and feeling like I'm giving up but I also don't want to have to get on anti-depressants. Should I quit and try to be a scribe or something? Or volunteer more? Help :(
 

Weirdy

2+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2016
2,075
2,498
Status
Podiatry Student
Quit.

Was in your shoes albeit a much less load. 20hrs a week + 12hrs grad school.

It was a paid position but after 6 hours of staring at a computer screen crunching numbers, running through 40-50 pages of article searches so your superviser could write a grant under deadline....you lose motivation for anything else and its harder to focus on courses.

The prof I was under was a complete machine. I completely respect them as a professor and the tenacity and skill they have to be where they are. But people-person wise, they had no regard for their interns or assistants. Only wanted results and when we weren't pushing the quota for that week, we'd all get chewed out in their office one by one. They'd tell us they wanted to look for a specific thing or do a specific task without further instructions and left us dry to figure it out. When we came to them for answers, we'd find out they weren't exactly keen on how to do it either. I can understand that they are under pressure to write grants and push for funding and come up with the next brilliant idea to keep their research labs but its not what I wanted at all. It was a good experience in that I knew what the real taste of research was and how result oriented and cutthroat it was. I saw the dirty side of academia if you will.

Soon as I got fired (for not meeting quota + personal things like death in the family + adjusting to grad school), I did whatever the hell I wanted job wise. It helped color my resume so much more than the research I was doing (already had 2 years of research in undergrad so admissions-wise it wasn't like I was lacking research) and I was much happier and doing better in my courses.

When you quit, you will realize how many opportunities you've missed out on because you were grinding away in a lab without seeing daylight for 6-7 hours and putting even more time outside of the lab just to catch up for the next day. You've already got so much experience going through years of what you did. No adcom is going to s*** on you for firmly saying "No, I've had enough."

And you can still get into MD programs even if you quit. You getting into a program does not hinge on you continuing being miserable in research.
 

OnStrings

2+ Year Member
Aug 10, 2016
70
62
California
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Quit.
Reasons have already been stated above.
 
May 4, 2015
916
374
Status
Medical Student
I am with Lawper:
What about the research do you not like? There were two times in my life that made me cry every day profusely; and I'd like to think I am very strong. One ended up being the most successful highlight of my career to date when I stuck it out and the other was just plain mind fudging at the place I was in during adulthood. The second place, had I stuck it out, would have been very successful for me too but the people there were absolutely awful human beings and I ended up leaving. But I wish I had stuck it out because I was no longer a student and so no fall back.
You on the other hand are a student. If you quit research, you have countless things to fall back on and countless avenues to chase if you speak with advisors of your major and network with students to get better opportunities. I hope you feel better because let's be frank, if you don't like research, thankfully you won't have to focus on it as a physician if you don't want to. Understand though, not all PIs are alike. I also don't think this trend of 'research' being an unsaid requirement is a healthy practice for MD applicants. It detracts from actual scholarship through other means which is completely acceptable. Doing community service with people you want to help for a lengthy period of time is really more important and if you have a genuine heart for an activity in your life, follow that and amaze the places you apply to.
Graduating honors is also not as prestigious as many people point out. I went to a great undergrad but I never once thought to do honors because it was just fluff. I instead opted for other programs that supplemented my interests. I loved the flexibility and they were just as prestigious if not more than the honors program.
 
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