On The Road To Medical School: How To Find The Perfect Research Lab for You

Medical school and the path to get there can be very overwhelming. Trust me, I know. But I want to hopefully calm some of your nerves and help you look at it in separate chunks. It's important to focus on the requirements that the particular medical schools that you're interested in have. A popular requirement that I see in research-based medical schools is having research experience.

As a freshman, I would hear about my friends who were upperclassmen talk about the research labs they were a part of and how much they enjoyed it. However, I have also heard of some people only participating in a lab because they felt like they had to, not because they wanted to. Hearing from both sides helped me eventually find the perfect research lab that I was genuinely interested in. I know that I wanted to keep my application honest so I made sure to participate in something I was passionate about.

A common misconception that a lot of pre-med students have is that they need to work in a laboratory-based lab. These labs are usually biology, chemistry, or ecology based. While many students do choose to be involved in these types of labs, it is not a requirement. However, I would still highly suggest researching the potential medical schools you would like to go to, to find out if they do require laboratory-based lab research experience.

In my case, the labs didn't interest me very much. I do enjoy sciences liked biology but I did not see myself working in that type of lab setting. So, I dug a little deeper and finally decided to participate in a psychology/speech research lab. The particular research that the lab was doing interested me on a clinical and personal level, so I knew that I would enjoy it. And I do! Instead of wearing a lab coat and goggles, I am able to communicate with new people every week and interact with them in a clinical setting. I feel like I am able to work to my full potential while learning something new each time.

While a psychology/speech lab is not as common as what a typical pre-med student would do, I enjoy it very much. And I encourage everyone to branch out and participate in something that you're passionate about! Whether you enjoy genetics, observing plants, or observing the psychological mind of individuals; do something that you actually like.

I know that it can be intimidating seeing everyone around you joining the chemistry and biology-based research labs, but you have to focus on whatever you find fascinating. You also have to remember that you will be including something about your research experience in your personal statement and/or somewhere in the application so you want to make sure that you are as honest as possible. The application and personal statement can be tedious but you could make it slightly easier on yourself if you're explaining something you were passionate about with ease.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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