The End of the Beginning

As my summer internship whines down, I think it would be wise to reflect on an amazing summer internship. Entering my freshman year in college I had some preconceived notions about research based on observations I made about my friends who did research in high school. What always baffled me was the fact that I thought about myself in their shoes of competing at the highest levels of science fairs and high school research, and was skeptical of their work. How could a high school student, make meaningful contributions to research. Why did people spend years in school if high school students could do the same thing as professors? Therefore, I entered college with an aversion to doing research myself. Although I thought I was adamant about my plan, I was exposed to research through the veil of public health. Although, it was more grass-roots level work in establishing relations with the local community; I did record these instances in the form of an article. Seeing as this was quite an enjoyable experience, I could not turn down the opportunity for my internship this summer, working with a team of multi-disciplinary scientists from both medicine and public health. Consequently, there were numerous days when my fear was realized and I spent hours copying and pasting cancer incidences to a form so that others could analysis the data. I was regretting pursuing this internship tremendously at this point. However, despite the long hours I spent doing this work, I learned an enormous amount. Although, the specifics I learned about head and neck cancers may not be obviously useful in my career, depending on which field of medicine I pursue, the principles of watching, listening, and learning some of the very best in their field approach and coordinate research was a truly inspiring experience. I was fortunate to gain exposure into some of the issues facing healthcare today and maybe played a small role in taking a step to improve them. I broadened my knowledge of wet lab skills as well as analytics. I immersed myself in epidemiology, a field which I find quite vital and interesting to providing sustainable healthcare to people all over the world. I heard stories from those optimistic and disgruntled in the fields. Most importantly, I met people who gave me nuggets of advice, which I hope to carry forward. From my principle investigator to my day to day instructor, I could not be more grateful and appreciative of the opportunity to strength my vigor to pursue a career in medicine.

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