Should I drop my lab to pursue clinical work?

  • Drop Now

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Take a semester off

    Votes: 1 50.0%
  • Stick the semester out, then drop

    Votes: 1 50.0%

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2+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2017
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm currently a freshman in college, and I'm doing undergrad research in a psych lab examining the role of various brain stimulation on certain cognitive tasks. I've spent about ~120 hours in this lab (16/wk for 6 weeks over the summer, plus about 20 this semester), but I don't really like the work. The pace is slow (but I still need to put in 10 hrs/week), and I already feel overwhelmed with all the other stuff I have going on (school, making friends, ballroom dance, etc.).

Additionally, there's a free clinic nearby where I could work as a Spanish interpreter (speak the language), and after getting EMT certified, could take vitals/patient histories, as well as a program where I could mentor elementary school kids one day a week. Both these are less of a commitment, have more regular hours (whereas the lab is whenever you can come in), and seem like they'd make me much happier. That said, I understand how important research is to med schools (I'm interested in my state med school, IU Med, as well as others on the east coast. Getting an acceptance anywhere is most important for me, though!). Would these other experiences make up for stopping the research?

Thanks so much for your advice.


2+ Year Member
Aug 11, 2016
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
Research does look good on med school apps, but there's no need to FORCE yourself just for the sake of med school. Like you said, you think clinical work will make you happier, then do that!! Doing things you love will make your premedical journey more enjoyable, and those experiences will be the most meaningful in the end. Every year people get into med schools without any research.
Good luck!
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Impossible is just an oppinion
5+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2012
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I realize this might not be much of help, but in this case, you are really the best source of advice. I think you answered your own question in the OP. In addition, I don't believe medical school value research over patient contact (at least I don't think they should). Besides, you have a lot of research by the looks of it. You need to find a meaningful experience that you enjoy and want to keep/build on for the rest of your undergrad career. Medical school look at your journey and how you improved your self by committing to experiences that don't necessarily need to be medical or research. Hope that helped! You have lots of time to find something you love.
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