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Who has time for research?!

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BLACKMD

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I've searched the threads and don't believe this is a repost. So, I'm a non traditional student so I only have 2 years of prereqs before my application cycle. I'm also in the Army ROTC. I'm taking classes this summer (including volunteering and shadowing) but the traditional semesters are insane. 12-15 credits of ALL hard sciences/physics, not including my army obligations. I don't see time for research. Next summer I'll be gone most of the summer for LDAC so that opportunity is gone as well. What are some other innovative ways I can conduct research?
 

Ismet

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I don't know how much time your army requirements take up during the school year, but it's very easy to fit in 2-3 credits (10-15 hours/week) of research on top of 12-15 credits of classes. Usually people who can't fit in research in the school year will do a summer research program, but it looks like that is not an option for you.

You could take another year off after your pre-reqs to do research. That's probably your only option if you don't have a free summer and you can't fit research in during the semester. Also keep in mind that while research is good to have, it's not a requirement for medical school.
 

NickNaylor

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Try and do something that isn't lab-based; a clinical project or something that involves a lot of data crunching would probably be easier for you to handle as that stuff is more portable (i.e., it's easier to work on that stuff at home whenever you can). Beyond that it all comes down to just making time for it. Summers are ideal but obviously that's not a possibility for you.

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BLACKMD

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Try and do something that isn't lab-based; a clinical project or something that involves a lot of data crunching would probably be easier for you to handle as that stuff is more portable (i.e., it's easier to work on that stuff at home whenever you can). Beyond that it all comes down to just making time for it. Summers are ideal but obviously that's not a possibility for you.

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So number crunching would be satisfactory? How terrible would it be if I didn't have any research at all? I get many mixed responses when asking other premeds. It simply boils down to time. I'd rather do well in my classes than do poorly but have some random number crunching research.
 

NickNaylor

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So number crunching would be satisfactory? How terrible would it be if I didn't have any research at all? I get many mixed responses when asking other premeds. It simply boils down to time. I'd rather do well in my classes than do poorly but have some random number crunching research.

See Ismet's post above. How important it is is also school-dependent. The big name schools all but "require" research because they are research institutions and they are in the business of training future researchers (even if you're only getting a MD). Research tends to be less important at the leas competitive schools and schools that are "clinically focused."

I agree though that school should be priority #1. Research isn't worth it if it'll hurt your academic performance.

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Serrulata

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I'll also add that it's important to find a flexible lab. It's something you'd want to discuss before you started any position - is it okay if you can't do as much one week, but make up for it the next? Can you make your own hours to fit in between classes? Those are the types of things to consider for a busy schedule. It can be done but it is also exhausting - but hopefully worth it! :)
 
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