This past weekend, 30 of my classmates and I traveled to Carmel, California to participate in the Western Student Medical Research Forum. Most of us were able to submit abstracts written during our past summer research projects. The conference registration and hotel fees were completely covered by UCLA because they feel that going to WSMRF is a great opportunity for medical students to practice presenting their research and publishing their abstracts. I really enjoyed the experience presenting my research in front of other medical students and doctors. It was rewarding to have my abstract published in a medical journal for others to read. I even met students from other schools performing similar research projects, and we discussed our findings that will benefit our research when we return to our respective schools.
Another benefit to attending this conference was networking with other medical students. We were able to connect with students from UCSD, University of Washington and University of Colorado. It was interesting to learn about the different curriculums each medical school had to offer. There was also a special bond we formed venting about our frustrations. With Step 1 and the third year clinical clerkships on the horizon, it’s interesting to feel solidarity with students in other states.
Lastly, taking time away from the campus was very beneficial to our well-being. Even though we continued to listen to lectures and finish homework, being in a new environment lifted some of the stress we have been feeling. The hot tub wasn’t bad either. I would like to thank UCLA for this opportunity to present my research and travel to a part of California I have never been to before. Take the opportunity to travel; most schools set aside funds to allow students to attend conferences across the nation. Explore what is out there.