Premedalltheway

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Could anybody explain to me their research experiences(please specify your research topic) . What one does on a typical day, how many hours of research per week, the amount of work that is expected of you, how much commitment(most research opportunities at my school require 1 year minimum). Was it so much work that it interfered with your regular classes? Was it worth putting into your application (thus boosting your extracurricular activities and helping you get med school acceptance).Im planning to join one(2nd year already.. :confused: )but I need some feedback before I commit myself...
Thanks!
 

UCLAreject

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check out my thread on Crazy PIs...maybe youll get some idea
 

DubleHelx

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Premedalltheway said:
Could anybody explain to me their research experiences(please specify your research topic) . What one does on a typical day, how many hours of research per week, the amount of work that is expected of you, how much commitment(most research opportunities at my school require 1 year minimum). Was it so much work that it interfered with your regular classes? Was it worth putting into your application (thus boosting your extracurricular activities and helping you get med school acceptance).Im planning to join one(2nd year already.. :confused: )but I need some feedback before I commit myself...
Thanks!
I would suggest doing as much as you want to do. At my university (Washington State) they require at least 3 credit hours for science majors, which is equivalent to 9 hours a week. However, you need not take all 3 credits in one semester. How much it will interfere with your classes really depends on your current course load. So far, the research I am doing applies to neither one of my majors so I am doing it on top of my regular classes and not for credit or pay, which can sometimes hamper motivation to go in. I haven't applied to med school yet, but all my friends that have gotten in have done at least some research.​
Unless you are planning on going MD/PhD I wouldn't worry about getting multiple years of research or publications. As for my particular area of research, I am currently in a synthetic organic chemistry lab working on an anti-cancer prodrug. A typical day for me goes as follows M,W,F Class from 9-12, then go to the lab and setup a reaction, or work something up from the previous day until 2pm. 2-3p class, then back to the lab to work some more. Tuesdays I only have one class (yeah I know, its rough) so I work most of the day in the lab. Keep in mind, depending on the type of lab, you can do some studying while waiting for things to get done (running PCRs or Gels, distillations, rotovapping something, whatever applies in your area of research). I average about 20 hours a week in lab this semester, last semester it was less then half that due to my course load.​
Biggest piece of advice is to find a PI that is a GOOD person to work for. For example, there is a chemist into x-ray crystallography at my school, he is very friendly but once you go to work for him, he expects you to SLEEP in his lab. You don't want that. The way to get an in is to read up on what professors do research on, check the unis web page for this. Then read some journal articles on like pubmed or similar so you have an inkling of what you are talking about or can at least ask a semi-educated question, then just go talk to the proff. Most people want someone to be interested in their research, some don't, they will be pretty clear if they don't want an undergrad around. Good luck and if you have any more questions ask around, I am sure almost everyone here has done research at some point in time. Sorry for the long post but you asked a lot of questions. :)
 
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Premedalltheway

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thanks for the replies....

do you submit anything to your PI after your term is done(to show that you actually did research and not daydream all day)? And you get credit course credit and no grade?
 

DubleHelx

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Premedalltheway said:
thanks for the replies....

do you submit anything to your PI after your term is done(to show that you actually did research and not daydream all day)? And you get credit course credit and no grade?
My situation was very similar to RunMimi's. I had a fellowship over the summer where I was awarded a stipend to do research. I worked about 40 hours a week give or take, all summer. At the end of that my research was not complete and so I carried on in the fall semester, and in fact I am still doing the research now. As part of my research I have to present my findings thus far to the College of Sciences in March and I have already submitted a paper to the College detailing what I have done so far. Right now I work only for myself, no credit, no grades and no money. Basically I am the type of person that doesn't like to leave anything unfinished so I am still working, plus my PI was also my O-Chem professor so I am hoping his LOR will carry some weight. I don't need to really prove what I am doing, mostly because I talke to my PI almost daily if only for a few minutes, and if I don't speak to him for a week or so he comes and finds me in the lab and asks how things are coming along. My PI is really laid back and because I am not getting compensated anymore and this research does not count for my majors he is pretty understanding when I can't come in some days due to exams and such. People who normally do the research for credit do get a grade. If you have more questions feel free to IM me or something.​