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Tag Archive for 'research'

do you have what it takes?

Really? Do you have what it takes to be an MD/PhD? Before you rattle off your sky high GPA and MCAT scores at me, let me tell you about the requirements they don’t tell you about or sugarcoat because they know you’ll go running for your life.

1. Have an inquisitive mind. Sounds like a good skill to have, right? Something that’s really indispensable if you’re planning to pursue research? Well, yeah, it is. But what they neglect to tell you is that no one is going to listen to your ideas. No one at all. You might even get yelled at. Because you’re just a peon and how dare you think you have anything new to add that some seasoned PI hasn’t already thought of.

2. Work well with others. Research is all about collaboration. Nobody gets anything done by doing everything themselves. You just can’t possibly know everything there is to know about everything. What they don’t tell you is that collaboration as a grad student means checking your ego at the door and groveling at the feet of collaborators who hold your already tenuous fate in their hands. Oh, so sorry, I’m not available the entire month of April for your studies.

3. Be able to think on your feet. A good skill to have that applies to many aspects in life in general besides research. But when it comes to research, this skill takes on a whole new level. You need to be able to think on your feet while being bombarded with questions designed to destroy any credibility your study may have had and humiliate you until you have not a shred of ego left by know-it-alls who have nothing better to do than to destroy you just because they can and not because they’re interested in teaching you some far-reaching lesson about research.

4. Creativity, ingenuity, perseverance are musts. Because shit just doesn’t work in research. And you’re going to have to spend many sleepless nights figuring out why your shit doesn’t work and how to make it work if you ever want to finish your PhD. There’s no such thing as dropping your doomed project and moving on to something that just might work. Nope. You’re going to spend 3-4 years (or more!) chasing the same pointless project because your PI doesn’t want to admit that his idea was wrong.

5. Be prepared to be wrong. Because you often are. But you’re often not as well. But even then, you still are because you’re just a lowly grad student and even the lab tech knows more than you. So yeah, be prepared to be wrong, even though you very well may be right. And don’t even think about defending yourself because doing so is just going to get you yelled at.

So there you have it from the inside. Do you still think you have what it takes? If so, then good for you! We need more people like you in research. If not, just stick with med school. You’ll get enough abuse there.

that’s it. i’m so quitting science!

As soon as I finish this damn useless PhD, of course. Though at this point, I’m not quite sure that I’ll make it to the end without going on a murderous rampage.

Let’s review how I got here.

1. I spent a whole two years in my major professor’s lab answering his fucking phone and making his Powerpoints. Then he has the nerve to make it my fault that I’m now taking an extra year to finish when it’s really his fault since he’s an ass.

2. I keep getting interrogated in the most demeaning and humiliating way possible whenever I present my work. And you know why? Because the whole fucking world thinks my dumbass major professor is a kook, which then makes me a kook since I’m being “trained” by him. No matter how much I try to distance myself and my work from him, it’s too late because I’m associated with him and that instantly makes me a fraud too. And since they can’t attack him, they attack me. And I’m sick of it.

3. Did I already mention that he’s an asshole? Yeah, so he abandons me for Teacher’s Pet and treats her like a human being, but treats me as badly as those people who like to interrogate and humiliate me treat me. He, who knows nothing about my work, dares to flat out tell me that I’m fucking wrong in what I plan to do next after proving quite conclusively the uniform lethality of the agent I’m testing. Sure, I might be wrong, but he has no right to insult me the way he did when he told me. And for the record, I’m not wrong, he is. I wouldn’t mind if he treats everyone the same way, but he doesn’t. He’s so sweet to Teacher’s Pet that I think I’m going to get cavities from just watching. If I wanted to be abused, I’d go back to med school dammit. At least then it’ll be for something that I actually want and it’ll be worth it.

So there you have it. Once this is all over, my PhD will just be for show. There’s no way in hell I’m continuing with a career in research after all the crap that I’ve been through. Too bad for humanity. I might have discovered the cure for cancer.