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What to do with the last Summer of our lives...

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Mango, Jan 24, 2001.

  1. Mango

    Mango Very Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Recently, there have been a lot of meetings and discussions around here about research/clincal opportunities for this summer. And I'm all confused about what to do! It's so much to think about. For instance, it is the last free summer of our lives; but most people will tell you that you should do something medically related to improve your chances at getting a residency position. Plus there's the whole need to make money issue, which adds even more complications!

    So I'm all in a funk over this crap. If I had my choice (and several thousand dollars), no strings attached, I would spend the summer traveling. I'd go to Cali to see friends, maybe check out the Grand Canyon, and return to Europe for a month or so. That sounds SO good. But in the real world, that just won't be feasible.

    I guess I've just been thinking out loud up till now. So here's my question. How important do you think working in a medical-type job is? I've got boatloads of previous clinical experience, but none in research. Should I check out a research job and doom myself to a summer of absolute boredom? And here's another good question. What do you do if you're not sure about what specialty you want? It probably isn't going to help me gain a residency in say Ob/Gyn if I spent the summer doing EM research, is it?

    All right, let me know what you guys are thinking about doing, or what you did in the past. I'd love to hear some ideas on the subject. Thanks,

    Mango MS-1

    [This message has been edited by Mango (edited 01-24-2001).]
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  3. fiatslug

    fiatslug Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 8, 2000
    Hey Mango!

    I've got something pretty much lined up for the summer doing research thru the ED. I'm excited about it, because there's tons of projects going on, and also because of the it-will-look-good-on-the-CV factor. But I'd go to Italy if I had the chance! I know someone who did my program last summer, so I know it will be fun, but from what I've heard of the second year students, most who did research had really dull summers.

    I'm also going to try and learn Spanish--at least enough to get by in clinical situations.

    Of course, my primary goal, in this as in all things, is to get out of Southern California the instant it's possible. [​IMG]
  4. Future Surgeon

    Future Surgeon Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2000
    Hi -

    All I can say is that when the time comes to fill out that ERAS application, it feels good to be able to fill in that "Research" box instead of leaving it a big white blank box.

    And ... If you pick your research carefully, your summer won't be doomed to be boring. Pick something that really excites you. The other good thing about that is that if you pick what excites you, it will be easy to relate it to your career choice because the two will most likely end up have something in common. Then it is easy to explain why you did it in residency interviews.

    The way I picked my project was to do a Medline search for any articles from my med school's institution. The one that made me say, "That's really cool!" was the lab I pursued. And what was cool about that research was also what is cool in surgery, so the two things blended very well on my CV -- even though I didn't consciously plan it that way.

    If you're REALLY motivated, you could even find a research job in another country or state. Then you could travel, too.

    [This message has been edited by Future Surgeon (edited 01-24-2001).]
  5. tr

    tr inert protoplasm Physician PhD Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Nov 17, 1999
    Hey Mango -

    Why don't you try to get a medically-related job somewhere fun? A friend of mine is going to work with a doctor in Italy this summer, and I know a bunch of second-years at my school spent time in fun places (Africa, South America) last summer doing relevant stuff. Ask the Student Affairs office - they'll probably have lots of leads for you!
  6. Pegasus

    Pegasus Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I am in a similar situation as you. I would like to travel also, however I have no reaseach experience and I feel as if this outweighs a summer off.
    There are lots of research opportunities out there, personally I am looking into clinical research instead of a lab for the summer. Also, there are opportunites to research abroad to almost any place you would like, including Australia! Set up a meeting with someone at your school and see what other students have done abroad in the past. Often times you will be able to find a good connection. You want your summer to be productive as well as fun!

    Good Luck,
  7. TheThroat

    TheThroat SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Arlington, Texas
    It all depends on what residency you want to go into. If you are wanting to get into to a highly competitive residency, DO research. If you are thinking about primary care in residency that is not top 10, then relax, you'll match without the research.
    Either way, you can try to get some research experience later in school if you really want.

    [This message has been edited by TheThroat (edited 01-25-2001).]
  8. Future Surgeon

    Future Surgeon Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2000
    The Throat makes a good point. That would also apply for Neuro.

    But if you do decide to do research, don't worry too much about it being "the last summer" because you can always schedule vaca time during fourth year (most schools allow for 1-2 months of vacation) and travel for a month or so.
  9. Mango

    Mango Very Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 30, 2000
    Thanks for all the advice! I agree that a blank under the "Research" section of my residency apps will not look good. I've investigated my options, and there are a couple hundred research projects going on here, so I am sure I can find something that will hold my interest. I'm going to call tomorrow and make an apointment with the woman that coordinates the student research fellowships.

    One more question. Will it look better if the study I become a part of is an NIH sponsored study? We have many that are, but I think that I may have a hard time being accepted since I have no prior research experience. Any thoughts?

    Oh yeah, one last thing. I will fit some traveling in for sure. My goal is a cross country drive to Cali and back!
  10. Future Surgeon

    Future Surgeon Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2000
    Good for you, Mango!

    Quick answer to your question about NIH funding. Usually NIH funded studies are of slightly better quality (not always, just a general rule) so if you had a choice, it would be better to go with one of these. The only downside is that it may mean that you don't get much independence since you may just be a little cog in a big wheel ... but that may actually be better for you since you are just aiming to get some experience anyway.

    Remember to pick something that REALLY interests you instead of picking something just for the CV. That way you'll get the most out of it and can discuss it enthusiastically come interview time.

    Good luck!!!
  11. ringo643

    ringo643 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Although I relish the idea of having a free summer (I've worked HARD every summer during college) I think I should probably try to find some research to do. Especially since the only school I've been accepted to (so far) is a state school not on the hallowed USNWR list, and I think research would help me with residency down the road. So, my question is: is there a website or list somewhere where I could look up research projects? I've never done research of any kind before (not particularly interested in it, just as a concept) so I don't know how this works. Help! Thanks.
  12. peachfuzz

    peachfuzz Junior Member

    Jan 30, 2001
    Hi FutureSurgeon,

    I'm an entering med student who's really interested in research and neurosurgery, but I am not certain how I'd combine the two. You've mentioned that the research you conducted meshed well with surgery, so I was wondering if you can let me in more on what the research involved.

    (feel free to email me directly, [email protected])
  13. cobalt

    cobalt Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Jersey
    Mango - You mentioned talking about research for residency you (or anyone else) know if research done BEFORE medical school (undergrad, year off) would be applicable?


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