Mar 28, 2010
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Pre-Medical
Currently I am a freshman. I have two research positions at my school-one for drug intervention and one for muscular dystrophy. Recently I am realizing it is pretty tough to commit an equal amount of time to each research. However, I feel that one gives me actual laboratory experience while the other provides me with patient interaction. I do want to keep them both, but I know if I want to attain a good position I need to focus more on one. Should I drop one to focus with school work as well? or should I try to deal with balancing these out? Also, I know other activities are important as well. Should I seek these instead? Am I on the right track to getting into medical school and experiencing the best from a premed path. I want to do the best I can be and experience many things I only wished for back in high school. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!:D
 
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Take the spot that excites you most, where you feel the lab will be a supportive environment, where you mesh with the people, where you sense that you'd get a great letter of recommendation from the PI.

Besides research, you need to gain experience with sick people, shadow physicians, get a leadership and/or teaching position if possible, and get in some community service.

Clinical research also provides clinical patient experience. You'd still want to get in some nonmedical community service if you pick this.

More important than any of the above experiences, is getting a high GPA, because experiences won't matter if your numbers aren't competitive enough for the whole application to be appreciated.
 

whiteshadodw

7+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2009
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Pre-Medical
Take the spot that excites you most, where you feel the lab will be a supportive environment, where you mesh with the people, where you sense that you'd get a great letter of recommendation from the PI.

Besides research, you need to gain experience with sick people, shadow physicians, get a leadership and/or teaching position if possible, and get in some community service.

Clinical research also provides clinical patient experience. You'd still want to get in some nonmedical community service if you pick this.

More important than any of the above experiences, is getting a high GPA, because experiences won't matter if your numbers aren't competitive enough for the whole application to be appreciated.
especially that. you don't want to work in a lab where your PI doesn't give a hoot about your career. if you're working hard in their lab and getting them data, they should be willing to help you our and give you an excellent LoR. you can kinda figure out who cares about your career and who doesn't based on how you interact with them.
 

bravofleet4

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Jan 17, 2009
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especially that. you don't want to work in a lab where your PI doesn't give a hoot about your career. if you're working hard in their lab and getting them data, they should be willing to help you our and give you an excellent LoR. you can kinda figure out who cares about your career and who doesn't based on how you interact with them.
that's good advice. i think some labs are better at equipping their undergrads. i had a love/hate relationship with my lab. they kept adding people non-stop! it definitely didn't feel like we were getting much individual attention. another lab i visited they actually required their undergrads to read research articles and then present them to the rest of the lab at weekly mandatory meetings. they seemed to push their undergrads more which can be hard to do on your own when you don't know how to get anything accomplished and i felt they were probably more likely to get stuff done.
 

whiteshadodw

7+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2009
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that's good advice. i think some labs are better at equipping their undergrads. i had a love/hate relationship with my lab. they kept adding people non-stop! it definitely didn't feel like we were getting much individual attention. another lab i visited they actually required their undergrads to read research articles and then present them to the rest of the lab at weekly mandatory meetings. they seemed to push their undergrads more which can be hard to do on your own when you don't know how to get anything accomplished and i felt they were probably more likely to get stuff done.
yeah make sure you get into a lab where you have your OWN project, ie, you're doing your own data analysis AND where you have to attend group meetings (this is good because it gives you an idea of the research going on in your field). i worked in a lab where i'd culture stuff, stain w/ antibodies for a whole week, then at the end of the week i'd have a post doc look at it, and he'd say "oh noes, your experiment didn't work". if you have your own project and get to design your own experiments, this is an ideal lab to work at. of course, given the fact that your PI is supportive of you no matter what career path you choose.
 
Mar 28, 2010
3
0
0
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks guys for the great advice. One more thing. The reason I somewhat want to maintain my position in Muscular Dystrophy is that it gives me actual lab experience where I work in the labs and do experiments with mice and stuff. However, in the Drug Intervention research I have more of a good relationship with the PI and she is also a Harvard medical school graduate. I am not too sure if I can get my own experiment going. I am interested in helping other people, but I am not sure if I am really interested in doing any research in drug interventions yet. My gpa so far is a 3.814 is this good enough? Also, I got a B+ in one class by 8 points should I try to ask for a grade change? or should I not bother at all?
 

whiteshadodw

7+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2009
537
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161
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Pre-Medical
Thanks guys for the great advice. One more thing. The reason I somewhat want to maintain my position in Muscular Dystrophy is that it gives me actual lab experience where I work in the labs and do experiments with mice and stuff. However, in the Drug Intervention research I have more of a good relationship with the PI and she is also a Harvard medical school graduate. I am not too sure if I can get my own experiment going. I am interested in helping other people, but I am not sure if I am really interested in doing any research in drug interventions yet. My gpa so far is a 3.814 is this good enough? Also, I got a B+ in one class by 8 points should I try to ask for a grade change? or should I not bother at all?
if you're going to be working in the lab of the PI that taught the class, then HELL NO (see this link if you're not convinced: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=706033)

if you honestly think you deserved an A and you got robbed on some points by the TAs, then yeah, maybe its worth it. 3.8 GPA is really good, avg for top 20s, but great for MD in general. the thing is, when you're at a 3.8x-3.9x gpa, 3 units of B can change your gpa by a few hundredths. if this is a 1 unit class its almost not worth it, 3 units...maybe.
 

bravofleet4

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Jan 17, 2009
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depends on how valid your reason for a grade change is (i know that's really subjective but I'm referring to great disparities in grading NOT many people got a higher grade on it and I think my work is better).
 
Mar 28, 2010
3
0
0
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Pre-Medical
No I am not doing research with a professor who taught a class I was in. I was more worried about whether I should choose a research involved with actual lab (mice experiments, cell culturing) stuff or a research with like surveys, data entry, and more humanitarian projects. Any input on this?
Also, yea I will try to ask about the grade thing if I feel I was pointed off.
 

whiteshadodw

7+ Year Member
Dec 11, 2009
537
28
161
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Pre-Medical
No I am not doing research with a professor who taught a class I was in. I was more worried about whether I should choose a research involved with actual lab (mice experiments, cell culturing) stuff or a research with like surveys, data entry, and more humanitarian projects. Any input on this?
Also, yea I will try to ask about the grade thing if I feel I was pointed off.
if you plan to go MD/PhD bench research is definitely going to be better, but if bench research isn't interesting then you're not going to enjoy it. if you can't be passionate about the research you're doing, you won't be optimizing your time.