While many moan and groan the grueling rigmarole of college, one of the many things that people laud about the college life is the experience they get from research. Surely, the lessons taught through research is not only practical but also inspirational due to its showing nature of our personality and our qualities as a teammate and a critical thinker. Over the past few years, I have been a part of various research across a wide gamut of topics that taught me invaluable things: ranging from educational research to child development research to vision research to stroke patient research (which I am currently participating in). I could easily say that my research experience played a huge role in securing my pursuits of becoming a doctor.
I first got in contact with my research PI by simply cold-emailing him of my interest. Before emailing him, I did a brief research on his past projects and the medical trajectory he was leading. After confirming my meeting time with him, we had a brief discussion about how my passion align with the current projects that are transpiring in his department (namely, the neurology department) and what I seek to gain from the research experience.
He, being a such a supportive and welcoming research PI, invited me to come to his clinical rounds and shadow him during his patient viewings. While I tagged along behind him like a dog’s tail, it was one of the most moving experiences that showed me the gravity of the responsibility this position holds and how the dedication of becoming a doctor could be so rewarding both for the doctor and for the patient. Being surrounded by principled people in an amicable environment filled with people who are simply trying to help was the assurance I needed to confirm my passion and to get a taste of what it is like in the real-world.
Not to mention, the experience of research urged me to challenge myself as a critical thinker in the projects we pursued and the papers we were publishing. I was able to have countless detailed and constructive discussion with my research PI about how to analyze MRI scans and deduce crucial information from patient notes and their bloodwork data. Being privy to this opportunity to get a hands-on experience on actual patients and what it is like to put our heads together to analyze the patients current state and how we can address the problem at hand was simply motivating.
Through my time spent at the medical hospital, I have grown and learned more about myself than the couple of years spent in class. It is these applicable experiences that shape my values and guide my passion – a place no other than Hopkins can provide.