Jun 17, 2013
Hi everyone, so this semester I began volunteering at a research lab. Technically, I'm not even sure if what I'm doing is worthy of the title "Research Assistant." The lab is a nutrition/lifestyle lab that recruits people in nearby counties to participate in a study that is trying to find out how to best help the obese control their weight. I was assigned one of those counties and have the responsibility of taking all the food logs and inputting the data onto the computer. I can also (in the future) go on the recruiting of the participants or give phone interviews to see who is eligible to be in the study. Is this considered research or volunteering?? It's very monotonous and I'm not enjoying it, I have to commit to a semester so I'll be finishing this one but I'm still deciding whether or not to continue after that. I would have like to have at least a year of research but if it's not worthy of my time and I have nothing important to say about it I'm not so sure. The people I work with are great, but I have zero contact with the PI, he does not ever visit the lab. I feel terrible leaving after a semester but I also feel I'm wasting hours of my week that I could be doing something else.

Would it look bad to only do one semester of this research and try to apply to another lab for the Spring (that I'll hopefully enjoy)? I don't want to give up on research just yet!

Thanks so much :)


5+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2012
I don't know if it's bad but if it might comfort you to know I'm doing the same thing. I got into a research position that was absolutely horrible. Grueling grunt work with no significance. I left and am spending that time on other things like ECs and MCAT studying. I'm going to try to find something more interesting next semester, but research isn't totally necessary for the med schools I'm looking at.