I am on the pre-med track while conducting part-time research during the school year. Of course, by the nature of my surroundings, the potential path of pursuing research full-time has come across me more than occasionally. What better way to explore that possibility than a full-time summer internship in a lab?
See, during the school year as a part-time job in between classes, I love every minute of the research laboratory. It’s a nice way to take what you learn in class and apply it hands-on. Running experiments is also very fun, and helps feed and expand my curiosity.
Full-time research, however, is a lot different. Most of the time, you are repeating failed experiments and spending countless hours trying to get something to work. Don’t get me wrong – research is wonderful and has the potential to change the lives of millions of people, but it lacks the one-on-one human contact that you can get with seeing patients (whether as a physician, nurse, assistant, etc). The work you do has a much lower direct and immediate impact on those who are in medical need, and it leaves you with an empty, defeated feeling inside. Your motivation to contribute to a healthy society and to discover new knowledge can be hindered by the frustrations of lab bench work.
The more full-time research I do, the more I am directed away from the pursuit of academic research, and the more I am directed toward a career in medicine.