Apr 5, 2010
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Is only doing research each summer while in college enough, and is it possible to get publications out within this time period? Or should I find time throughout the school year? I'm worried about having enough time to keep a near 4.0 gpa, do volunteering, and pursue other interests of mine, while still doing enough research to be able to put out publications.

Any suggestions?
 

illegallysmooth

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One summer at a time is really not conducive to publication. If you want to be listed as an author, you're going to have to make a longer commitment as most experiments take time to complete, write up, submit to journals and be accepted for publication. Your best bet is to find a researcher at your school who understands you are there to learn and help, and that you aren't going to be able to be there every day. Give them an approx. number of hours per week that you would be available so that they are fully aware beforehand. It's all about time management.
 
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It will be more difficult to get your name on a publication when you only spend summers in the lab, and you are less likely to get a solid Letter of Recommendation in such a situation. Many don't get published even with through-the-year association with a PI, not even after two years, but they ARE way more likely to get a solid supportive letter from an investigator who gets to know them welll over a prolonged period of time.
 

SweetRain

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There are different ways to do this, but I really don't like how you want to get a pub out of summer research. Yeah it's not impossible if you work with some big faculty but it sounds like you're just doing research as one more thing to add to your resume.
My advice: don't do it if your heart is not in it. There are undergrads who bust their asses off in lab because they are genuinely interested in science.
 
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There are different ways to do this, but I really don't like how you want to get a pub out of summer research. Yeah it's not impossible if you work with some big faculty but it sounds like you're just doing research as one more thing to add to your resume.
My advice: don't do it if your heart is not in it. There are undergrads who bust their asses off in lab because they are genuinely interested in science.
I am genuinely interested in science, and there's nothing I'd rather do with my life than pursue medicine (except maybe theoretical physics). Research is something I'm certain I would enjoy. Either way, I need to do research to get into med school, and I need to get into med school to be a doctor :)

Is that so wrong?

And to other posters:

Thanks, I guess I'll find a more long-term commitment. One summer at a time just didn't seem enough.
 
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illegallysmooth

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There are different ways to do this, but I really don't like how you want to get a pub out of summer research. Yeah it's not impossible if you work with some big faculty but it sounds like you're just doing research as one more thing to add to your resume.
My advice: don't do it if your heart is not in it. There are undergrads who bust their asses off in lab because they are genuinely interested in science.
An interest in science and love of research are two very different things. The OP cannot know if his heart is in it or not unless he tries it.
 
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What year are you in?

I think it's best to start working at a new lab during the summer so you can work there full-time while you adjust and learn new techniques. If you like the lab you should continue to work there during the school year until you a) finish your project b) get tired of it c)want to try something new.
 

JJMrK

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You don't have to do a lot of volunteering per week if you're consistent with it and continue for a year or two. Research, on the other hand, takes a pretty significant time commitment; it will be tough to get a publication just working over the summer.

If you want to do both, get a volunteering gig and just do that a few hours/week for an extended period of time. Do research the rest of the time.