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Advice on taking a research year

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Hello everyone.

I would very much like to get some opinions on the matter of taking a research year during medical school.

I am a current first year medical student in the US (but a Canadian citizen-graduated from Mac) and I am currently continuing doing research from my Masters project along with my first year classes. I am finding it quite difficult to manage time between both commitments and fear it may get worse into the fall where the course load at my institution is higher.

I completed my Masters in Biochemistry (bioinformatics specifically) and was writing an algorithm for a publication where I would be first author (likely in a higher impact journal). In addition, I was offered to head statistical analysis for an upcoming clinical trial which will be published this year as well. I would like to note that my research work would be paid.

I don't want to lose the opportunity to complete these projects that I am very passionate about, but at the same time, I would be essentially be delaying graduation from medical school by a year. I understand there are opportunities to do research after graduation as well, but I feel I would miss the boat on some of these potential first author publications that I have already invested a lot of work into. Additionally, my school does not have summers off, so this voids the opportunity of engaging in this research during that time.

As of now, I feel I would regret the opportunity of not completing these projects and making a productive research year which would also involve international conference presentations. However, I feel as though insight from others who are perhaps free of any personal biases will help me make an informed decision.

I look forward to hearing your advice and experiences on this matter.

Thank you.

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You sound passionate about doing this and therefore, if I wee you, I would do it - in the knowledgecthatcitvmsy not impact my career path or opportunities in the future. Life is long, it is only a year, and so long as med school will bectherecforvyouvaftervthis year, you will love with no regrets.

i entered Med school with absolutely no research experience. With a fellow student, one summer, in three weeks, we did a literature review and were published. This pro ed to be of no help when CaRzmS came along. As a resident, I had a 2 month research rotation, and it proved to be very productive in terms of publications. I have since attended international conferences and made presentations. This is all to say that we each create our own path and there is no one right path for any of us.

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You've got a tough decision ahead, no doubt, so before I give advice, I just want to be clear: you finished a Masters, and now you are considering officially taking a year off to get paid to complete 2 major projects which will likely result in meaningful publications. Taking the year off is the only real option because your school doesn't have summers, and it's not likely you could complete that work and your 2nd year of med school at the same time.

Is that a decent summary? The answer depends on a couple of things. First, are you doing the research because you care about the research, or because you think it will help your career? If you actually like/care about the research, then stop reading here and take the year off. If you're doing it for your career, consider each of these variables: 
-How close is the research to your clinical field of interest? If it's far off, or if you're not sure where your clinical interest lie at the moment?
-How much will you be able to expand your academic network by completing this, and will that network be relevant for your residency match?
-Are you in a rush? I started medicine after a basic science PhD. I thought I SHOULD be in a rush. 10 months out from residency, I realize that even for me, adding a year wouldn't really make a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Hope this helps. Also, I've PMed you. You'll see why ;)

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It is not uncommon for people moving from Masters to Medicine to have left over work they want to finish.  They may also feel sense of responsibility and pride to their Masters PI/Team to stay involved.  In some cases there could also be pressure and even guilt from the PI to stay engaged.

Where will you be after the one year.  Research work is never finished.  Will be in the same situation where you feel you need to stay engaged ?

Just make sure you are doing it for your own reasons and not to appease others.   


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