I have finally finished my internship, and I must say it is quite boring no longer working an 8 to 5 job every weekday. It was in fact so boring that I decided to stay an extra 4 days at work. At the end, my boss asked my the same question he asked every time I tried something new in the lab, “So, what did you learn?” I stared at him for a while and thought. Having this internship, there are a couple of things that I have learned, not just about research, but about myself that I didn’t expect to discover.
First of all, I began to realize how well U of M has prepared me for graduate school. It is often hard to remember how intelligent you are when you are at a school comprised of the best of the best. But working with my coworkers, they constantly told me how surprised they were at the depth of the information I knew about certain techniques and how things worked (i.e. the physical difference between gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria and why that physical difference matters). It was always funny to me when they seemed surprised, because at Michigan it seems like I always know the least of my science-minded friends. Although I may not know everything or be top of my class, I realized that I am far from underprepared for graduate school or whatever I choose to do after I graduate from Michigan.
Second, I realized that I might like research a lot more than I originally thought. I have always wanted to go into medicine, but I have always wanted to be a medical doctor. Although I find great importance in advancing medicine and learning more about the human body, I have always had a stronger pull toward the patient interaction that comes with being an MD. However, after working in the Theis lab over the summer I have a much greater appreciation for research. So much so that I am considering applying to PhD/MD programs as well as MD programs. Or at least, I am considering getting a PhD eventually. To be on the forefront of medical advancement is such a wonderful thing. You are forced to be more inquisitive and use a more creative way of thinking to come up with original solutions to long held problems. I think it’s important if you are trying to become a medical doctor to dip your toes in research, simply to expose yourself to this type of thinking.
It has been a wonderful experience getting to test the waters of research this summer and I hope that if any one has the opportunity to gain some experience in it, I highly encourage them to go for it! You’d be amazed the things you can learn not only about science but about yourself.