rotation dilemma

February 11, 2005

you know, i don’t usually ask for ‘audience participation’, but i’m really torn about this idea of a third rotation. here’s the situation:

i really liked my first rotation. i liked the PI, the general attitude of the lab, and the research area (generally related to diabetes/metabolism). there are no other labs on campus that focus in this area that would be suitable for me to work in, really, and it happens to be what i am most interested in doing for the rest of my career (regardless of whether i end up in industry/academia/clinical practice).

my second rotation – ehh, i’m not hating it, really, but i don’t feel like i really ‘fit’ here. i do like the PI a lot, and i’m impressed with the general direction that the research in this lab is going, but the environment overall feels a bit too high-strung and i sense a lot of frustration in some of the older graduate students. i think i could end up doing very repetitive work, and i’m afraid of that. furthermore, i’m not as genuinely excited about the field of research, and i don’t see it relating as well to a future career.

i was all set NOT to do a third rotation, and i was planning on starting in the first lab in april. i figure — the sooner i start, the sooner i get in the swing of things. but then i had this talk with a grad student in that lab (and also another grad student, one from the second lab) and both seemed sort of against skipping the third rotation. in essence, they worried that without that extra experience, i might have to look back 3 years later and wonder, “oh god, if only i had done that third rotation!”

based on other people’s recommendations, i identified one more lab i’d possibly be interested in, but in reality i very highly doubt i would want to end up there, mainly because the area of research (not related to endocrinology but rather to oncology) just doesn’t excite me in the same way. there’s this idea that i’ll learn techniques and things that will be valuable when i do matriculate in the first lab — but isn’t it sort of misleading to take up space, time, and resources in a lab i am almost sure i’m not going to join? wouldn’t it make more sense to spend that time working on getting settled in the new lab?

i don’t know. i feel like i was pretty decided until i had the talks with the 2 graduate students. i didn’t expect them to say what they said. if anyone has any ideas for me, or experience with this issue, i would love some opinions.


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