pushkin

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I'll be starting med school next fall, and at one of my interviews they mentioned that some students come early and do summer research. I was just wondering how common this was. Has anyone around here done anything like this? I'm not MD/PhD, by the way--I know those guys often do a pre-MS1 project, but I'm wondering about regular MD students.

Thanks!
 

Zondeare

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I did research the summer before my first year and it was an amazing experience. I got to do clinical work and publish a paper as first author. If I had to make the decision again, I'd do it in a heart beat (and no, I'm not an MD/PhD).

I must warn you however that some mentors don't work as well with med students as mine did. I was really blessed with who I ended up working with and the experiences I got to have.

I highly recommend learning something about who you plan to work for before you agree to the summer job. Plus, it's important to be completely ready to start medical school. Don't let yourself be burnt out before the first day. You'll be burnt out soon enough.
 

Powder

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There is no need to research before you start med school. Enjoy your summer off. Med school is hard work, enjoy your free time.
 

erin682

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If you like research and it really interests you, go for it. Otherwise relax and enjoy yourself. I took the whole summer off and traveled. It was great and I would do the same thing again.
 

mikedc813

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erin682 said:
If you like research and it really interests you, go for it. Otherwise relax and enjoy yourself. I took the whole summer off and traveled. It was great and I would do the same thing again.

I agree that it's a matter of preference. There's no by ANY absolute need for you to do research the summer before you start your medical career. 1st year is definitely a time of stress as you adjust to a brand new world and try to balance your workload with life in general. If you happen to really like research go ahead and do it. If not, don't kill yourself by forcing research down your throat. Do whatever you find enjoyable during the summer. Trust me, if you don't you'll be wishing you had. Good luck
 
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pushkin

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Thanks for all the responses. Believe me, I am not trying to crowd my summer with too many things to do. The reason I am interested in this is that I already work as an RA in a chemistry lab, but I will be moving across the country next summer or fall to start med school, and I'm interested in heading out a little early just to get my bearings. I like doing research, but the lab where I currently work is pretty crazy. My boss is weird and I'm not learning that much by working there, so I thought that if I could line up a different research job for the summer, in my new city, well, that would be the best of everything. Either way I have to stay employed til school starts. Now if it was just summer research vs. vacation, that would be a different story!

Zondeare--how did you find your mentor? I've thought of contacting people whose labs I'd like to work in, but that seems pretty random and out of the blue. Are people receptive to that? Did you have contacts at the place where you did your summer research? I definitely understand the importance of working with someone who's supportive!

Thanks again!
 

Blake

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Do research if you like it. You can even continue your research while in med school (several folks in my class are doing it, and I am planning on doing it next year). I actually wish I had done summer research last summer so I'd be able to work a bit on it during the first year. Don't let people discourage you on med school already. From what I've experienced so far, it's definitely overrated, difficulty-wise. Good luck ;)
 

Zondeare

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It's actually encouraged to contact mentors whose work sounds interesting to you. Most of them are really receptive. Don't forget that they volunteered for you to spend time with them. They really love med students. And no, I didn't have contacts at the place I worked at. I emailed several mentors, set up meetings, and chose the lab that fit me best.

The best advice I can give about finding a good place to work is to ask a lot of questions and be sure you will be happy working in that environment before agreeing to the position. You should have a chance to meet the mentor before you commit- that meeting can tell you a lot about what kind of work is expected of you (if you just get to watch or if you actually get hands on experience) and what that mentor is like.

The summer before you start med school should be fun. If research sounds fun and you are chomping at the bit to get started, by all means do it. No matter what though, make sure it's something you really want to do.
 

azzarah

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I would personally only do it if I liked a topic and were guaranteed a first author paper :p