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Time to do research during 1st year of med school?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Hemichordate, May 9, 2008.

  1. Hemichordate

    Hemichordate Peds 7+ Year Member

    May 5, 2008
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  3. soeagerun2or

    soeagerun2or Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Wait until you start classes, then assess your ability to multitask and take on projects as indicated. You could start over the summer with the knowledge you will cut back during the assessment period.
  4. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 16, 2003
    Depends on your school, how does the grading system work? If it's p/np you have some more leeway. I wouldn't recommend starting research the first week of medical school, but after a few months once you've gotten the hang of things and have spare time then you can think about starting a research project.
  5. SugPlum

    SugPlum 2+ Year Member

    Nov 17, 2007
    I tried to work on a research project, but I really didn't have the time.

    I would say that bench research would be more difficult. If you are in a lab, you need to be there a certain amount of time to do experiments, whereas you can be writing protocols, designing surveys, and working with data whenever. Still, I think that it would be difficult to devote 10-20 hrs. each week to research.

    Keep in mind that many students do research during the summer after first year.
  6. SamusLives

    SamusLives 2+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    I didn't have time to do any research until 4th year, which was Pass/Fail. The research was clinical, so I got to work with patients and administer surveys. It was a whole lot of fun.

    Yes, I could have done research over the summer, but frankly I like to have some time to myself to just relax.

    I did research b/c I thought the project would be fun and I had too much time on my hands during my 4th year. If on the other hand, you want to do research b/c you're going into a field that encourages it, then by all means get started earlier (but never sacrifice your course work for research). All the research in the world won't make up for terrible grades (unless you cure cancer, and your supervisor is gracious enough to give you any credit whatsoever).
  7. Mobius1985

    Mobius1985 7+ Year Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    I'm finishing up my first year, and I definitely didn't have time for research this year, but I did apply for, and get awarded a fellowship grant to do research this summer. I can also take up to four months during my fourth year and do a research elective, with no clinical or classromm responsibilities. One can also take a full year off between M2 and M3 years to do research without paying tuition, if its at another institution (like NIH, which pays a stipend).
  8. AK_MD2BE

    AK_MD2BE New Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    Saint Louis
    This question is entirely situation dependent. I believe for most medical students doing research for 10 hours/week during the first year is very doable. In fact, research during the first year would be optimal b/c during second year the material is more relevant towards Step 1 and therefore should be given more attention. However, if you cant do research during your MS1 year, there is always the summer after first year. Good luck.
  9. nogolfinsnow

    nogolfinsnow 7+ Year Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    I think time-wise it's doable, but if you're starting on a brand new project you might have a tough time really getting into it if you can only give it 10 hrs/week. A lot of schools have summer research programs that you can get a stipend for. That way you can get in on a project and put some real time in. First year's different for everyone. Some people need more time to get adjusted to the school load, some people don't. If you find that you need more time for classes and have less time for research then your project's just sitting there. I'd recommend waiting until the summer and giving 10 solid weeks to something.
  10. RxnMan

    RxnMan Who, me? A doctor? Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    This is what I would say too. If your preclinical grades don't matter (P/F system, modified P/F system, or students are not ranked), then you can rob Peter to pay Paul, as long as you have school under wraps. Another trade-off: the best way to prep for the boards is to do well in preclinicals.

    My school follows one of the systems I mentioned, and I had enough time to take a clinical study from conception to publication.

    For those interested in year-off programs, please see the research forum FAQ (link in my sig).
  11. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig 10+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    Its totally up to you on how you spend your free time. If you're motivated enough, I don't see why not. Just as long as it doesn't affect your ability to prepare for class (and lose your mind).
  12. kevster2001

    kevster2001 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Not really unless you're some kind of super multitasker with no interest in down time. THere's plenty of time in the summer and you can always expand
  13. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant 5+ Year Member

    Sep 3, 2005
    There are a lot of people in my class who have 10-20 hr committments outside of class (whether it be a job or research or whatever). As long as the time you put in can be flexible then there probably won't be a problem doing at least 10 hours, but I'd wait until after a month of school goes by until you get the hang of it before you start anything up
  14. Monica Lewinsky

    Monica Lewinsky 2+ Year Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    There's plenty of time during M1 to do research. If the choice is between memorizing minutia to get Honors or to dedicate time to research, you should pick the research.
  15. supa76

    supa76 5+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2006
    El Paso, TX
    I am an MSI, and I have put in about 10 hrs/ week towards EM research since last December. Its going to pan out to some bigger projects this summer and for the next three years, so it worked out really well for me.

    Like everyone said above, wait to see how you handle school by itself for the first couple of months before you take on any other commitments.
  16. soeagerun2or

    soeagerun2or Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    To add to what I previously stated, and to what others have said, it also depends on the kind of research.

    Clinical research can often be done in spurts at home i.e. collect pieces of data from 100s of files you copied or electronically accessed. Do it when you can or have time and it works well.

    Bench research requires solid blocks of time in the lab. However, if you are doing molecular biology or biochemistry you can spend an hour setting up and starting an experiment and sit there reading for the next 4 hours while it runs and change buffers whenever needed etc. Generally though, the less cerebral and more labor intensive the task, the more likely an undergrad/med student will get it (counting labeled cells under microscope, animal work, and so on).

    If you can multi task well, prioritize effectively, and configure your research to fit your schedule you should have more than enough time to do well in class and conduct significant research on the side.

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