“But is it RESEARCH research?”

So the meeting today went really well!  It helped that I’m honestly fascinated by the research they do.  I’ve decided I’d definitely rather work in their lab than shoot for getting my own NIH grant to do some research I couldn’t care less about (despite the advice I’ve been given).  I get that the latter decision would make my CV look much better for residency – but.. here I’ll get to work in an area I care about AND be trained to do blood draws, patient interviews, and EKGs, which is just absolutely fantastic.

Another thing I’m really happy about, in retrospect, is my decision to not do any research whatsoever before med school.  I kept thinking that I should, but… the research descriptions on the “research opportunities” website, just… eurgh.  Studying Protein Ag2x-beta’s effects on Protein Grrh1 for 10 hours a week sounded like a very special kind of hell that I had done nothing whatsoever to deserve.

In the end, if I had done undergrad research, it would have been solely for the purpose of looking good for medical schools.  And I was already doing something else 4 hours a week solely to look good to medical schools.  (To wit, “volunteering at a hospital”, otherwise known as “linen folding”.  Believe me, once I realized that the gig kind of sucked and had no correlation with medicine, I decided I’d do it for exactly 1 year and then quit.  Seemed like saying “1 year of clinical experience” would cut it – and it did, just barely.)

So I’m all in favor of playing the game when you have to play the game.   But a doctor I would consider to be my advisor told me something that I’ll always remember:  he said that at a certain point, the idea that you do ambitious things so you can grab that next golden ring and make it into the next prestigious opportunity – that has to stop. At some point you have to say, “This is the point I was trying to get to. Now I have options – so what do I want to do?” Because there’s always going to be another golden ring you could grab if you wanted. At some point, you have to be content and accept that not grabbing the next ring – whatever it is – doesn’t mean that you’ve “given up”.

The best college can be followed by the top medical school, then the prestigious residency can be followed by the prestigious fellowship, then the research grants, then the academic appointment – and if that’s what you want, fantastic – but if you don’t, when does it end?

So, you know, no – this will not be “RESEARCH research”.  I’m not going to be doing my own research or investigating my own hypothesis.  But I really don’t want to.  What I want to do is to get some training and leave the gig a little more sure of what I want to do with my life.

Also, blood draws.  Because – let’s be honest – that’s pretty awesome.

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5 thoughts on ““But is it RESEARCH research?”

  1. I have people (mostly friends) telling me that I HAVE to do research the summer after my first year of med school to build my resume. Is this true?

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