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I just had an interview with a molecular biologist regarding a volunteer position on her research team. She was completely turned off by the fact that i was "pre-med". Her reasoning for this was "pre-meds are typically very type-A and are far too gung-ho for my lab. Im thinking about choosing 1 pre-med, but probably wont".

Has anyone else run into this?
 

surftheiop

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I just had an interview with a molecular biologist regarding a volunteer position on her research team. She was completely turned off by the fact that i was "pre-med". Her reasoning for this was "pre-meds are typically very type-A and are far too gung-ho for my lab. Im thinking about choosing 1 pre-med, but probably wont".

Has anyone else run into this?
I personally haven't, but its not surprising
 

ShinyDome19

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Its common...and there are many reasons for it. (Note- my opinion comes from the Bench research POV)

#1) In general, the majority of pre-med students find out that the effort needed to get into medical school isnt worth it and end up changing majors...When they do this, research is often no longer needed, so they drop out of the lab.

#2) Most pre-med students have this idea that research is required for them to get into medical school and can only satisfy that by getting published. So, they try and jump in to a lab for a couple semesters thinking they are going to get published for curing cancer, then figure out they dont like researching some little nuance about what appears to be an insignificant protein in a cell and that the time + effort needed to get a publication can be tremendous and the odds of actually getting published in the year they have to put into the research are slim to none...they drop out of the lab. (**This is probably where the Gung-Ho statement plays in**)

#3) A lot of pre-meds are worried that they need straight A's more or less, hence research becomes secondary to your primary classes...(not saying this is a bad thing, but reality).

#4) Most pre-meds have no intention of actually doing research after graduation...So, teaching you how to do something associated with a long-term project isnt worth while.

With the points above, and the general fact that most undergrads think research is just like the labs associated with their science courses, and realize its completely different once they start "research" in a lab, it is very risky for a graduate student/PI/Post-Doc to take on an undergrad. It takes quite a bit of time/money to train an undergrad. And, most undergrads have this idea that since they are a science major or what not, and that they got an A+ in their Biology I & II etc, they are ready to do full blown research. Once they realize that washing dishes and doing repetative, boring culture work etc every day, for days on end, is a huge part of doing research, especially at the "entry" level, they realize they hate research and drop out...Research is definately not for everyone...Being Pre-med puts the risk that you wont stick with a lab far beyond that of the regular undergrad and it already shows that you wont be sticking around to do a masters/doctorate degree in that lab...so, really the cost out weights the benifit for most labs.
 
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thesauce

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It doesn't make any sense. From my experience, I would think type-A personalities are great for bench research. I'd be trying to fill my lab with these kinds of people.

However, unless your major is actually "pre-med," which few colleges offer, I highly encourage you to just state your actual major and say you're undecided about what you want to do. This avoids these biases.
 
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mwalker394

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I've also experienced this. I've sometimes wondered if they don't resent us or feel like we're "using them," as most of us don't intend on doing research in our careers. I can definitely see them wanting to give the position to someone who intends on going the Masters/PhD route.
 

BBender716

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They shouldn't be kidding themselves. Pre-meds/PIs use EACH OTHER. PIs get unpaid researchers to do, most commonly, base menial tasks while the pre-med participants get to jot it down on their application. Come on. Symbiotic relationship here?
 
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I doesn't make any sense. From my experience, I would think type-A personalities are great for bench research. I'd be trying to fill my lab with these kinds of people.

However, unless your major is actually "pre-med," which few colleges offer, I highly encourage you to just state your actual major and say you're undecided about what you want to do. This is avoid these biases.
This is what I will do from now on. I am a microbiology major, the interviewer asked me what my plans were after graduation and I told her medical school. From now I will think of something else to answer that with.
 

madamebovary

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This is what I will do from now on. I am a microbiology major, the interviewer asked me what my plans were after graduation and I told her medical school. From now I will think of something else to answer that with.
Yea from my experience, i never say what my post plans are. Next time just say you are not sure yet.
 

apumic

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Premeds are known for lack of dedication, flakiness, etc. Considering the time and resources a lab would be investing in you, taking on a premed just isn't worth it. One lab I was a part of allowed all of us who were part of the lab (i.e., not just RAs) to make the decisions about who to bring on as our assistants. In all honesty, if someone expressed they were "premed" I would have had my doubts and the interview probably would have become much more difficult on them. It would not have been an automatic "you're out of consideration" but I'd have asked much tougher questions concerning motivation for being in this lab; knowledge of what we are doing and what contribution you expect to be able to make (yes, you should always walk into a lab interview knowing at minimum the mission statement of the lab and the general subject area which we are studying); what time management strategies the person is currently using (and how they are working); what research and lab experience you have; how you work as a team player, leadership, etc.; and maybe even thrown in a question about which activity/EC the premed was willing to sacrifice to become a part of my lab (i.e., "prove to me that this lab is going to be a priority"). Being premed shouldn't make it impossible to get a lab position but it defintely makes researchers much more guarded and less likely to want to risk so much on you.
 

ShinyDome19

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I would do like TheSauce said, however I would still put it out on the table that you are interested in possibly pursuing medicine. Reason being, you dont want to get into a lab and then have the PI blind sided by your applying to medical school, especially if you need a letter of rec. from them.
 

ThaliaNox

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Another argument I have heard is that pre-meds are too busy. A PI would really rather eat your whole life for the lab and pre-meds want to do things like run off to Peru for a week or volunteer on Thursdays. They'd rather have someone who wants to go to grad school and therefore is willing to devote all of their free time to the lab.
 

Perth Domer

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where I go you have people wanting med school who take a generic Science Pre Professional or Arts and Letters pre professional major and the pre meds who take specific science majors like Biology, Biochem, Physics, etc. Just from sitting in lectures I get the impression as a Bio major that the profs loathe the generic premeds. My Cell Bio Prof had a list of ways to do well in Cell Bio, and one was to take baby bio with the pre meds. So a lot of labs refuse to look at kids out of the specific major (but not all). Also they give preference to people thinking PHD, but it's not a deal breaker.
 

Dial71

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It's happened to me before.

I have about 2 years experience in an organic chem lab. Since my PI was leaving for a semester of travel, he encouraged me to branch-out during his hiatus and work in another lab.

I got in contact with a synthesis group and scheduled an interview. Things went well. The PI seemed happy with my credentials and gave me a good description his research.

However, the interview took a turn for the worse after I confessed that I planned on applying to medical school. The PI's demeanor changed and he kept emphasizing the 20hr/week time commitment and that he only had two pre-meds, from 3 years ago, in his lab. It was clear that he no longer saw me as a good candidate, despite my actual interest in chemistry.

Feeling forced, I turned down the position. Later, I found out that no 20hr/week commitment actually exists for that group. It is clear that identifying myself as pre-med costs me that position.

Moral to all pre-meds: If you are so lucky as to get a research position, please do not burn the PI. You are only prepetuating the stereotype!
 

saveourpens

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yeah...I worked in a microbiology lab for 7 months. THANK GOD they let me go..she said I obviously didn't have time for them always put their lab second..well what the hell do you expect when all you want me to do for you is make gels and fin lb media. My exams are more important than that.

I could honestly tell that she was put off with me being pre-med.

Next interview for a research position, I tell them that I am undecided and am even considering a career in X..hey why not.

I now have my own project. I can do whatever the hell I want...no more waiting hours to make LB so I could give it to somewhere else. The only glassware I wash is my own. If someone calls me up to do something and I leave for the day, no one will think evil of me. The research itself is awesome. Now, the fact that I have the same responsabilities in that lab as some of their grad students may or may not have to do with me not telling them I was pre-med, but it sure didn't hurt.
 

RogueUnicorn

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I just had an interview with a molecular biologist regarding a volunteer position on her research team. She was completely turned off by the fact that i was "pre-med". Her reasoning for this was "pre-meds are typically very type-A and are far too gung-ho for my lab. Im thinking about choosing 1 pre-med, but probably wont".

Has anyone else run into this?
I'm sick of arrogant PIs like that!!!
 

d1ony5u5

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Premeds are known for lack of dedication, flakiness, etc. Considering the time and resources a lab would be investing in you, taking on a premed just isn't worth it. One lab I was a part of allowed all of us who were part of the lab (i.e., not just RAs) to make the decisions about who to bring on as our assistants. In all honesty, if someone expressed they were "premed" I would have had my doubts and the interview probably would have become much more difficult on them. It would not have been an automatic "you're out of consideration" but I'd have asked much tougher questions concerning motivation for being in this lab; knowledge of what we are doing and what contribution you expect to be able to make (yes, you should always walk into a lab interview knowing at minimum the mission statement of the lab and the general subject area which we are studying); what time management strategies the person is currently using (and how they are working); what research and lab experience you have; how you work as a team player, leadership, etc.; and maybe even thrown in a question about which activity/EC the premed was willing to sacrifice to become a part of my lab (i.e., "prove to me that this lab is going to be a priority"). Being premed shouldn't make it impossible to get a lab position but it defintely makes researchers much more guarded and less likely to want to risk so much on you.
This is very true. I'm a lab manager in a Medical School lab, and I am very cautious about pre-meds who want to volunteer at the lab. This because they (well, I should say "we") have the reputation of just taking what we need for medschool apps and running without consideration for anyone else. No one likes this. Pre-meds usually just want to do research to check off the box in the AMCAS app. This approach tends to make them bad volunteers who lack interest in what is actually being done. That, and the fact that if labs are not careful about weeding out sterotypical pre-meds, all they see of them after handing them the LoR is their back, as they run fast toward the door. When you work in research for a living, this is not the kind of people you want to surround yourself with... That's just how it is.

So, this prejudice against pre-meds has its logic. Not all pre-meds are like this, but unfortunately for the rest of us, a good deal are. And a bad reputation is a hard thing to shake off.
 
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CarlATHF

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Telling a lab P.I. you are pre-med at an interview = Telling a lab P.I. your ultimate goal is to take over the world and then laughing maniacally.

Tell them you are undecided. It really is true, because I've had a few pre-med friends who started research and fell in love with it (and are now going to grad school).
 

AlanAlanine

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say you're not sure what you're doing after graduation.... maybe academia.
 

alibai3ah

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As a fellow rejectee of a research position, I can tell you the main reason behind this. It's because they are concerned about longevity. They think pre-meds are using this job as a stepping stone to get into medical school. They know you will leave and they don't want to take that risk and time/effort in training you. Hope that helps!
 

StayingFocused

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There are many places you can find research.

I am premed but I have my heart set on MD/PhD. The doc's I work for now that I am passionate about research so they've let me in. I've gotten two pubs from it too..


Just make sure they understand that you genuinely are interested in research and they shall let you in.

That really isn't fair that she said that..."most are type A" she's stereotyping you b/c you are pre-med. I bet she couldn't get into med school and is just taking it out on you :)
 

BerlinDude

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Frankly, if I had my own lab, I wouldn't accept pre-meds or medical students either. From what I've seen, most of them just want something to put down on their resume, do little work, and what work they do is performed sloppily. Better to have no one at all.
 

RogueUnicorn

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wow i've never seen you use !!!! like that. thank GOD you were being sarcastic, I would have though someone hacked your account.
hmm now that you mention it, it does seem i'm an elipses kind of guy...
 

JJMrK

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They shouldn't be kidding themselves. Pre-meds/PIs use EACH OTHER. PIs get unpaid researchers to do, most commonly, base menial tasks while the pre-med participants get to jot it down on their application. Come on. Symbiotic relationship here?
If the research is paid and more involved, I can see this happening. If it's just a volunteering position I agree with you that it doesn't make much sense.
 

ShinyDome19

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They shouldn't be kidding themselves. Pre-meds/PIs use EACH OTHER. PIs get unpaid researchers to do, most commonly, base menial tasks while the pre-med participants get to jot it down on their application. Come on. Symbiotic relationship here?
I agree with this to a certain extent...But, even the volunteers have to be trained to do those menial tasks...and how many pre-meds do you think will stick with doing those tasks reliably..especially when they think they are "menial".

And really, its not worth going into a lab where your only planning on doing research for a short term and getting stuck doing menial tasks...while you may be contributing to the lab teams efforts, your not really doing "research"; your not going to have much to talk about / show for it when it comes to interviews.

From my own experience, it wasnt so much that PI's that hated the pre-meds, they didnt really have to deal with them much. It was usually the post-docs and graduate students who have the pre-meds dropped on them....we were the ones that went and bitched to our PIs that the damn pre-meds stopped showing up and causing us to have to start washing dishes again/manage our cultures etc..which put us behind on our research...
 

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I still think it is kind of unfair that the PI did this to the OP. Yes, there are a lot of annoying premeds but that doesn't mean every premed is a bad apple.
 

she woolf

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Meh..Everyone uses someone to get ahead in life. I don't see the big deal it's the chance they take hiring you as a pre-med :\
 
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I'm a grad student working in a lab, coincidentally the same lab I volunteered in as a premed.

Luckily, our lab manager is a no bull kind of guy and chewed me out for being a premed during the tour. It was enough to set off my "I can prove you wrong" work ethic.

So getting bitched out and then having the opportunity to see from the point of the grad student, here's my two cents.

Grad students spend SO much time in our labs. They really are ours, this is our life and blood in this research. Also there is always heavy pressure to produce meaningful data. To get to that data into a publication takes years of work, countless failures, and countless redirections of the lab. Simply training someone on the protocol is going to be a good amount of time trouble shooting. There is also a possibility that there is the red tape jungle to get them on the protocol if the lab works with animals.

So the premed walks in because they've been told by everyone that medical schools see research as little gold nuggets on your resume. They want publications, they want hands on experience, they want leadership positions, they want a line on their resume, and a letter of recomendation. Which is fine if you earn it. My lab sticks together and we take care of each other. The problem is a premed is used to volunteering for a semester at a time. Most of our first years as grad students we don't even figure out what the hell we're doing!

Well someone has to watch the baby. (and yes, that is what we call you in the most loving way.) You get different reactions to this duty depending on the person. I like it, but generally feel guilty because I can't give her hands on experience. Our lives (graduation) depend on producing good data, so it can be a while before anyone hands over experiments from their own research to you. We know you're smart, but we've already been in your shoes so we know that the virtue needed is more so patience or temperance. Our variability will go through the roof if we give you half the experiments. You just haven't had the 3 months of doing this 40 hours a week to get it where the scientific community places the bar. So you watch over the shoulder and do dishes. Other people get pissed because teaching you the basics takes away from their ability to do experiments. They feel like you'll never stick around to contribute to the lab, why bother?

The premed comes in and says "free work!" and is shocked when everyone turns back with hesitation and often anger. A doctoral student with a departmental fellowship is also free work with a higher education and the drive to produce.

Advice for making your best impression as a premed undergrad.

When you make an appointment to talk about research opportunities, know what they're researching. Then when you walk in, whip out your schedule for the next semester showing off big trails of free time. That means schedule your classes so you have at least one or two days with a block of 6 or more hours between 9 and 5. I could never teach our current undergrad how to run my experiment, it takes a total of 6 hours to complete if I'm on top of things. She only stays in the lab from 9 to 12:30 or so. You will seem endlessly more dedicated to the PI if you've already taken the time to fit work into your lab. That and promise of Summer work.

And if it really matters to you, tell them you're undecided about MD, MD/PhD, or PhD programs and you really want to put in an effort to get a better picture of it all.
In the end, it's not fair that they judge you by your predecessors. However, give them grumpy lab monkeys a break. They know more about what you're trying to get into than you do.
 
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JJMrK

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I'm a grad student working in a lab, coincidentally the same lab I volunteered in as a premed.

Luckily, our lab manager is a no bull kind of guy and chewed me out for being a premed during the tour. It was enough to set off my "I can prove you wrong" work ethic.

So getting bitched out and then having the opportunity to see from the point of the grad student, here's my two cents.

Grad students spend SO much time in our labs. They really are ours, this is our life and blood in this research. Also there is always heavy pressure to produce meaningful data. To get to that data into a publication takes years of work, countless failures, and countless redirections of the lab. Simply training someone on the protocol is going to be a good amount of time trouble shooting. There is also a possibility that there is the red tape jungle to get them on the protocol if the lab works with animals.

So the premed walks in because they've been told by everyone that medical schools see research as little gold nuggets on your resume. They want publications, they want hands on experience, they want leadership positions, they want a line on their resume, and a letter of recomendation. Which is fine if you earn it. My lab sticks together and we take care of each other. The problem is a premed is used to volunteering for a semester at a time. Most of our first years as grad students we don't even figure out what the hell we're doing!

Well someone has to watch the baby. (and yes, that is what we call you in the most loving way.) You get different reactions to this duty depending on the person. I like it, but generally feel guilty because I can't give her hands on experience. Our lives (graduation) depend on producing good data, so it can be a while before anyone hands over experiments from their own research to you. We know you're smart, but we've already been in your shoes so we know that the virtue needed is more so patience or temperance. Our variability will go through the roof if we give you half the experiments. You just haven't had the 3 months of doing this 40 hours a week to get it where the scientific community places the bar. So you watch over the shoulder and do dishes. Other people get pissed because teaching you the basics takes away from their ability to do experiments. They feel like you'll never stick around to contribute to the lab, why bother?

The premed comes in and says "free work!" and is shocked when everyone turns back with hesitation and often anger. A doctoral student with a departmental fellowship is also free work with a higher education and the drive to produce.

Advice for making your best impression as a premed undergrad.

When you make an appointment to talk about research opportunities, know what they're researching. Then when you walk in, whip out your schedule for the next semester showing off big trails of free time. That means schedule your classes so you have at least one or two days with a block of 6 or more hours between 9 and 5. I could never teach our current undergrad how to run my experiment, it takes a total of 6 hours to complete if I'm on top of things. She only stays in the lab from 9 to 12:30 or so. You will seem endlessly more dedicated to the PI if you've already taken the time to fit work into your lab. That and promise of Summer work.

And if it really matters to you, tell them you're undecided about MD, MD/PhD, or PhD programs and you really want to put in an effort to get a better picture of it all.
In the end, it's not fair that they judge you by your predecessors. However, give them grumpy lab monkeys a break. They know more about what you're trying to get into than you do.
Yeah, this is why the best situation you can find is a lab that is just starting up a new project (that has funding) that you can come in and run.
 

jcpenny

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I'm a grad student working in a lab, coincidentally the same lab I volunteered in as a premed.

Luckily, our lab manager is a no bull kind of guy and chewed me out for being a premed during the tour. It was enough to set off my "I can prove you wrong" work ethic.

So getting bitched out and then having the opportunity to see from the point of the grad student, here's my two cents.

Grad students spend SO much time in our labs. They really are ours, this is our life and blood in this research. Also there is always heavy pressure to produce meaningful data. To get to that data into a publication takes years of work, countless failures, and countless redirections of the lab. Simply training someone on the protocol is going to be a good amount of time trouble shooting. There is also a possibility that there is the red tape jungle to get them on the protocol if the lab works with animals.

So the premed walks in because they've been told by everyone that medical schools see research as little gold nuggets on your resume. They want publications, they want hands on experience, they want leadership positions, they want a line on their resume, and a letter of recomendation. Which is fine if you earn it. My lab sticks together and we take care of each other. The problem is a premed is used to volunteering for a semester at a time. Most of our first years as grad students we don't even figure out what the hell we're doing!

Well someone has to watch the baby. (and yes, that is what we call you in the most loving way.) You get different reactions to this duty depending on the person. I like it, but generally feel guilty because I can't give her hands on experience. Our lives (graduation) depend on producing good data, so it can be a while before anyone hands over experiments from their own research to you. We know you're smart, but we've already been in your shoes so we know that the virtue needed is more so patience or temperance. Our variability will go through the roof if we give you half the experiments. You just haven't had the 3 months of doing this 40 hours a week to get it where the scientific community places the bar. So you watch over the shoulder and do dishes. Other people get pissed because teaching you the basics takes away from their ability to do experiments. They feel like you'll never stick around to contribute to the lab, why bother?

The premed comes in and says "free work!" and is shocked when everyone turns back with hesitation and often anger. A doctoral student with a departmental fellowship is also free work with a higher education and the drive to produce.

Advice for making your best impression as a premed undergrad.

When you make an appointment to talk about research opportunities, know what they're researching. Then when you walk in, whip out your schedule for the next semester showing off big trails of free time. That means schedule your classes so you have at least one or two days with a block of 6 or more hours between 9 and 5. I could never teach our current undergrad how to run my experiment, it takes a total of 6 hours to complete if I'm on top of things. She only stays in the lab from 9 to 12:30 or so. You will seem endlessly more dedicated to the PI if you've already taken the time to fit work into your lab. That and promise of Summer work.

And if it really matters to you, tell them you're undecided about MD, MD/PhD, or PhD programs and you really want to put in an effort to get a better picture of it all.
In the end, it's not fair that they judge you by your predecessors. However, give them grumpy lab monkeys a break. They know more about what you're trying to get into than you do.
This.
 

PingPongPro

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I told my researcher I was pre-med and I think the PI actually liked it. At least half of the undergraduate researchers here are pre-med.
 

Narmerguy

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It's unfortunate but in my school, most of the top science majors (with the exception of physics although I think a few of the tops are) are premed. That means that the best students most of the professors can hope for will be premed and it seems like they've accepted all the evils (and goods) that come with that.
 

DrMaximus

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Wow, that's crazy. My research professor is psyched that I want to go to medical school.
 

Tatastrophy

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I wasn't rejected but was definitely tested and held to a higher standard because I am a premed in my current lab.
At one point, actually, my PI compared being a doctor to prostituting oneself. I just smiled and moved on to subjects that showed that I am well prepared and have something to contribute to the lab. Now, I work on my own project, and get the respect I deserve, but hearing that comparison stung like mad (especially since the same could be said about bench research in a lucrative area).
As far as type A personality-I readily admit that it gets in a way for me sometimes because I get frustrated when I redo an experiment several times and it doesn't work. But at the same time, it is the same trait that makes me look at my procedure again, figure out where I am wrong and do it again.

I think that PI probably just had too many bad experiences with Pre-Meds. I'd keep pursuing it (if it matters to you) and show that you can be depended on to do real work.

Btw...are most ppl seriously washing lab glassware when they start? Seems kind of a waste of time for student and the PI.
 

ShinyDome19

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I wasn't rejected but was definitely tested and held to a higher standard because I am a premed in my current lab.
At one point, actually, my PI compared being a doctor to prostituting oneself. I just smiled and moved on to subjects that showed that I am well prepared and have something to contribute to the lab. Now, I work on my own project, and get the respect I deserve, but hearing that comparison stung like mad (especially since the same could be said about bench research in a lucrative area).
As far as type A personality-I readily admit that it gets in a way for me sometimes because I get frustrated when I redo an experiment several times and it doesn't work. But at the same time, it is the same trait that makes me look at my procedure again, figure out where I am wrong and do it again.

I think that PI probably just had too many bad experiences with Pre-Meds. I'd keep pursuing it (if it matters to you) and show that you can be depended on to do real work.

Btw...are most ppl seriously washing lab glassware when they start? Seems kind of a waste of time for student and the PI.
Gotta start some where...Most undergrads dont have jack for knowledge when it comes to research when they first step foot in the lab, despite what they think they know from their classes...and if your under a graduate student, washing their dishes, pouring media, re-culturing bugs (micro), every day saves the graduate student an enormous amount of time that they can use to catch up on papers, work out problems with techniques, grade papers, etc... Those "menial" jobs are much more important than people think, having someone handle them for you is definately not a waste of time for the PI or graduate student.

Every undergrad I took on had to show they could handle washing dishes and maintaining cultures for atleast a semester...They picked up small things here and there - how to pour a gel, the basics of PCR etc..Let them put a couple together towards the end of the semester...then next semester, that becomes their regular job...

Iv definately never had a problem taking any student, pre-med or not, under my wing during grad school if they said the magic words - "I was dishes"...even if they only had time to come inbetween classes to do it...they definately were considered for the job. If they thought they were above washing dishes and what not, no way in hell I am going to trust them with more important tasks. Those that did stick around (2 of the 1-3 I took on every semester over 3 years) actually learned quite a bit, they were easy to work with because they listened to what you said...both of them stayed with me over 2 years and had individual projects by the time I graduated...one stayed on for a masters, the other went off to medical school for an MD/PhD if i remember correctly. They worked their way up..thats the way it should be.
 
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Tatastrophy

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Gotta start some where...Most undergrads dont have jack for knowledge when it comes to research when they first step foot in the lab...and if your under a graduate student, washing their dishes, pouring media, re-culturing bugs (micro), every day saves the graduate student a lot of time that they can use to catch up on papers, work out problems with techniques, grade papers, etc... Those "menial" jobs are much more important than people think.

besides, if you cant handle washing dishes, theres no way in hell I would trust you with an important part of my research project.
I guess it is just dif at other labs. I work in a biochem lab (heavy on the bio, not so much on chem) and on the first day I was taught how to use a technique, which actually came quite useful for my project. I was taught how to make LB, pour plates and all that stuff but only because I am expected to make my own-my PhD student has never asked me to do that stuff for her (although I would readily do it if she needed, its easy and for the most part quick).
Just interesting that people can spend same amount of time in lab and do wildly different amount of actual research vs menial work.
 

ShinyDome19

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I guess it is just dif at other labs. I work in a biochem lab (heavy on the bio, not so much on chem) and on the first day I was taught how to use a technique, which actually came quite useful for my project. I was taught how to make LB, pour plates and all that stuff but only because I am expected to make my own-my PhD student has never asked me to do that stuff for her (although I would readily do it if she needed, its easy and for the most part quick).
Just interesting that people can spend same amount of time in lab and do wildly different amount of actual research vs menial work.
I agree that it will differ greatly between labs and even graduate students. If you go to a lab that has a ton of funding and pays its graduate students a research stipend, your graduate students will have more time to dedicate to pure research and teaching the undergrads. If your lab was like my'n, where you have to teach 1-2 classes every semester (I had to instruct 2 undergrad laboratory classes which were 2 -3 hours long each, twice a week..also had to prep 100+ cultures for the classes, grade + create exams, hold office hours..etc)...on top of that, I had my own classes that I had to attend and study for, if your graduate student is finished with classes, they will have more time...I also had meetings with my PI and graduate committee nearly every week...and I had to find time to do my research and make some sense of the data collected that week.

On top of that, research has a lot more involved with it than what the average undergrads see for the most part. Most undergrads never see the literature searches and mounds of papers that have to be read on a regular basis in order to stay on top of the current research. The collaborations with other labmates and professors that have to be made (statisticians, bioinformaticians, etc..)..The small projects like reviewing papers for the PI...Heck, most undergrads never see the frustration of running the statistics on the data, just the collection of the data itself. Some graduate students work all day for 7-days a week because they are trying to graduate as quickly as possible..others, are not in any rush to graduate and as such, more likely to sit down and teach an undergrad.
 
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Tatastrophy

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I agree that it will differ greatly between labs and even graduate students. If you go to a lab that has a ton of funding and pays its graduate students a research stipend, your graduate students will have more time to dedicate to pure research and teaching the undergrads. If your lab was like my'n, where you have to teach 1-2 classes every semester (I had to instruct 2 undergrad laboratory classes which were 2 -3 hours long each, twice a week..also had to prep 100+ cultures for the classes, grade + create exams, hold office hours..etc)...on top of that, I had my own classes that I had to attend and study for, if your graduate student is finished with classes, they will have more time...I also had meetings with my PI and graduate committee nearly every week...and I had to find time to do my research and make some sense of the data collected that week.
point taken...and yea I guess it really depends on how generously funded the lab is. I am tremendously grateful to have gotten the chance to do my own work right away (I did have to read tons of papers on the area that my PhD student works in which I guess prepared me to actually have an idea for a project). But yea, to get back to topic is that you have to show that you are committed to the place and are willing to put time into it.

P.S. Kudos to you to dealing with all that and surviving!
 

JJMrK

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I wasn't rejected but was definitely tested and held to a higher standard because I am a premed in my current lab.
At one point, actually, my PI compared being a doctor to prostituting oneself. I just smiled and moved on to subjects that showed that I am well prepared and have something to contribute to the lab. Now, I work on my own project, and get the respect I deserve, but hearing that comparison stung like mad (especially since the same could be said about bench research in a lucrative area).
As far as type A personality-I readily admit that it gets in a way for me sometimes because I get frustrated when I redo an experiment several times and it doesn't work. But at the same time, it is the same trait that makes me look at my procedure again, figure out where I am wrong and do it again.

I think that PI probably just had too many bad experiences with Pre-Meds. I'd keep pursuing it (if it matters to you) and show that you can be depended on to do real work.

Btw...are most ppl seriously washing lab glassware when they start? Seems kind of a waste of time for student and the PI.
Definitely. These labs should be avoided if at all possible.
 

ThaliaNox

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I actually kicked someone out of my lab senior year for patheticness at washing glassware. Our lab was an organic chemistry lab, where washing glassware right is a religious duty involving multiple washes with multiple chemicals and various types of water. Then the glassware needs to be religiously dried both overnight by air and then for several hours in an oven. If you realize that the kid washing the set of glassware you needed didn't get it right and the flask or one adapter you have of the right size is cloudy, you're a day behind because the whole process has to be done over. Don't underestimate the washing of the glassware!
 

Untraditional

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I just had an interview with a molecular biologist regarding a volunteer position on her research team. She was completely turned off by the fact that i was "pre-med". Her reasoning for this was "pre-meds are typically very type-A and are far too gung-ho for my lab. Im thinking about choosing 1 pre-med, but probably wont".

Has anyone else run into this?
Yes.

Researchers aren't interested in helping you build your resume, they're interested in research. Some are more blunt about that particular attitude.

Maybe you could find a grad student who would take you on then get friendly with the PI? Or perhaps an MD that runs a research lab?

If you realize that the kid washing the set of glassware you needed didn't get it right and the flask or one adapter you have of the right size is cloudy, you're a day behind because the whole process has to be done over. Don't underestimate the washing of the glassware!
"I just want to thank the dishwasher that made all this possible!" -Organic Chemistry PhD Defense
 
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45408

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On the flipside, one of my PIs used to send out letters via the pre-med advisor soliciting research assistants, because he usually got a much healthier response than from soliciting his own department (psychology, for a neuroscience lab).