As the summer draws to a close, the beginning of M2 suddenly approaches. I had about 10 weeks of summer break, and I definitely feel like I made the most of it. For starters, I spent about 40 hours a week in a neuroscience lab studying changes in dendritic arborization. In addition, I spent some time studying specific blood markers for concussion. As someone who has many interests outside of medicine, I am pretty pleased with the amount of learning that I accumulated over the summer. Learning how to use statistical software and learning when and what types of statistical tests to run is skill that I believe will certainly come in handy as a physician. After all, being able to comprehend primary article data and being able to interpret the results correctly are, in my opinion, skills that a physician should have under his/her belt. Even though I’m not leaning heavily towards any specialty at the moment, being back in the lab has rekindled my desire to be in a field with active research.
What I found striking was the varying types of research that my classmates are doing. For instance, while I am in a basic science lab, others are scanning through patients records and gathering data. Obviously, both of these are important and valid methods of studying science, but I think that I much prefer being in a basic science lab. I enjoy being able to observe changes to the microscopic world in order to understand how it may affect the macroscopic world. For example, understanding and observing how cocaine affects dendritic arborization can lead to interesting hypotheses as to how the drug may have larger implications in neural network dynamics.
After working for most of the summer, it’s somewhat sad and amusing that summer break for me. In some strange way, I found it to be relaxing. There isn’t a mountain of material to learn and there aren’t any impending exams that I need to be studying for (although some may say Step 1 is just around the corner). I’m definitely going to enjoy these last few weeks of break before it’s time to be back in that med school grind.