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Report Nightmare Research Position on Application???

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by rxfudd, Feb 14, 2001.

  1. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    I am getting my AMCAS application ready to be submitted this summer and I am unsure whether or not to report a research position I had for 8 months.

    It was my first time ever working in a lab and it was purely bad luck that I ended up with one of the most bitter, unpleasant researchers on campus. His impression of me is that I was immature, unreliable, irresponsible, etc., all of which I obviously disagree with (and conflicts with the success of my present research). For the most part, his opinion is based on the fact that for the last two months of my time with him, I tried to find any way possible to work when he was not there (since he was so damn mean). I came late a few times and he flipped. He gave me NO autonomy and was constantly looking over my shoulder to see what I was doing and inevitably criticize me.

    In general, he was VERY difficult to work with. He would give me little "quizzes" and stare at me like I was a total idiot if I did not have an answer (or an incorrect one). I once was preparing a solution and upon checking my work, he asked me how sure I was of what I was doing. I told him I was quite sure and he asked whether I would bet money on it. He wagered $5 that I was wrong. Not knowing quite what to do, I agreed and after explaining my reasoning for how I prepared the solution, he simply grabbed my money, put it in his wallet, said "Never be too sure of yourself" and walked away. We clearly did not get along.

    Probably the worst it ever got was when he threw an apple at a wall because I did not know how to properly withdraw blood samples from a dead rat with a syringe (I had never used a syringe or withdrawn blood from an animal before, living or dead). He proceeded to pick the crushed apple up and throw it at (not in) a garbage can with such force that he knocked it halfway across the room. He then blamed me for the mess, telling me that I should know what I'm doing if I'm going to ever get anywhere in the lab.

    My current research couldn't be going better. I am in the middle of fine tuning my expt's and will probably publish by the end of the year. In fact the current researcher I am working under recently told me how great of a job I am doing, the exact opposite of what the first researcher thinks.

    So the question is, do I put my first experience on my application. Two things should be noted:

    1) The researcher is affiliated with one of the medical schools I am applying to (in fact, he has been an interviewer in the past). If this school (or any school, for that matter) would contact him, he would not have kind words for me.

    2) It was a paid position, so I assume it is considered employement and not just academic research. Does the AAMC require that ALL employement be reported on the AMCAS app?

    I know that if I were asked about it on an interview, I would be able to explain the situation. In fact, my advisor (who teaches at the med school) told me that he could never understand how I lasted even 8 months with him and that he felt that the researcher had an anger disorder (I would not dispute this). However, I do not want med schools to contact him beforehand and give him the opportunity to cause problems. On the other hand, if they find out that I had worked with him (this is possible since, as I have said, he is affiliated with the med school) and I did not put it on my app, that will look very bad.

    What should I do???
     
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  3. First of all, you absolutely need to include this experience on your application. It sounds like you spent a significant amount of time working there, and it would leave a sizeable hole in your work history if you omitted it. A bad work experience looks better than a discontinuity in your work experience.

    While you should include this position on your app, you certainly don't need to have this prof write you an evaluation. Just pray that schools don't ask for it, and that your prof's school doesn't consult him on your application. Even so, you might be surprised at how fairly he would treat you.

    In the professional world, everyone has ill-tempered, unprofessional bosses, and managers with whom they don't get along. This is just a part of working relationships and can be as much a learning experience as a daily pain in the ass. Be thankful that you have a good, fulfilling research position now, and don't back down from explaining your experiences with your unprofessional former boss. Best of luck!

     
  4. peachfuzz

    peachfuzz Junior Member

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    hi, rxfudd,

    i had the exact same problem when i was an undergraduate. i worked with a professor for seven months. we did not get along at all, and by the end, i was so frustrated that i had to leave. when i was filling out my application, i was also conflicted -- after all, i did not want to leave my application incomplete, but at the same time, i did not want to jeopardize my chances. i finally decided to include everything. i was asked during the interviews on the reason i left the lab (make sure you have a good answer prepared), and i simply told them the truth -- that our styles did not mesh. (try not to go into the details, since one, you dont want to dwell on the negatives, and two, you dont want to sound bitter, which may decrease your credibility) i am currently applying to medical school this year, and have already received several acceptances. i understand your concerns, but i wouldn't be too worried -- i think scientists understand that their fellow colleagues are not all angels! (and if this guy is as bad as you say, he probably has an infamous reputation already). so, good luck with everything, hope this has helped. [​IMG]
     

  5. I would definitely include the research on your application. I was never asked why I left a job or research position on any of my interviews. Further, you are not required to write the name of your supervisor on AMCAS. The only secondary application that asks for that information (of the schools I applied) is Stanford.

    If a school has a problem, they will ask you to clear it up at the interview. I believe this makes for an interesting story, where they'll be able to get a glimpse at your personality. So, I definitely would not be worried by this.
     
  6. dfleis

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    #5 dfleis, Feb 14, 2001
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  7. mehring

    mehring Junior Member
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    That story sounds familiar. I personally had a pretty awful experience that unfortunately turned me away from research. Include your experience on your application and be proud of yourself for having tolerated it that long.
     
  8. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member
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    Thanks for all the advice - it's looking like I'll be adding the experience to my application. One question though: If by some horrible horrible chance I were to get him as an interviewer, do I have the right to request a different interviewer (with the reason that his pre-interview experiences with me would bias the interview)? Although the chance is slim, it has crossed my mind. Thanks again to everyone.
     
  9. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator
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    If you get your old advisor as an interviewer, be sure to bring an apple. If things go poorly you can always throw it at him.

    And if you don't get him as an interviewer, see him before you go to the interview and bet $5 you'll get accepted. The least you can do is get your money back.

    [This message has been edited by mpp (edited 02-14-2001).]
     
  10. jerseybri

    jerseybri Junior Member
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    Rxfud,

    If you were unfortunate enough to have him as an interviewer, I would definitely explain the situation to someone in the admissions office and request someone else. I know that at one of my interviews, a similar situation occurred and the admissions staff was perfectly accomodating in finding another interviewer. Not that it is even likely to happen, but you worked hard to get to this point, don't let a situation like that put you at a disadvantage. Best of luck.
     
  11. dfleis

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    #10 dfleis, Feb 15, 2001
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
  12. lilycat

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    One thing to consider -- not that I'm saying you should or shouldn't include this experience, but I know that at least on the Stanford secondary, they ask for the contact information of supervisors for any of the activities you mention, and ask if there is any reason they should not contact them. I don't know how many other schools do this, but it might be worthwhile to consider in advance.
     
  13. Malftap

    Malftap Member
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    Definitely include your research experience on your application!! Like someone else mentioned you don't have to ask that guy for a letter of recommendation. If a question comes up about your research experience just tell the truth. Trust me....you'll be fine. Oh and don't worry about your name being on a publication. I'm working in a research lab right now and my name isn't on a publication (maybe because we haven't published anything so far) but it did not hurt my application. Put your experience on your AMCAS!!! Think of it like this...even though is was a bad experience it was an experience none the less and you want to make your application as competitive as possible.

    [This message has been edited by Malftap (edited 02-18-2001).]
     

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