I’ve been semi-officially done with my project for about a week and a half to two weeks. As I was organizing my poster and getting my PowerPoint presentation together, I took a minute to reflect on the summer as a whole and everything I’ve learned.
It was a really good summer. I did a lot of things I’d never done before (particularly qRT-PCR and Northern blots), and I saw a lot of things I’ve never seen before. This research experience was definitely a different beast than when I worked in the lab in grad school. I also worked with some great people!
I’ve been thinking more seriously about pursuing research as a career. Research tends to be a field that has a high work load with little reward (or perhaps even no reward if you never find what you’re looking for), but I thought what I was working on was interesting. It’s also nice to see people who are passionate about their work in the lab. Their energy gives me energy. I think I’d like to run a lab, but I’d never be able to be a principal investigator without a PhD.
Which brings me to my dilemma: I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a PhD. I’m not sure I want to, because I’ve already been in school such a long time. The debt load alone is a major deterrent for me, not to mention that it would require another 4-7 years of my life. If I don’t end up in research, I think I’d feel like it wasn’t worth it to get a PhD in the first place. On the other hand, I was involved in discovering something novel this summer, and the chase can be very thrilling.
The downside to veterinary medicine (if you can call it a downside) is that you can pretty much do anything with it. I’m having a hard time narrowing down a path to something I at least think I want to do. As I get further along in vet school, people continue to ask me what my “track” is, and I pretty much just give a look of confusion. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t see how people can choose so quickly when you can literally do everything.
Hopefully the next year will bring some clarity. For the time being, as far as research goes anyway, I guess I’ll always have Summer 2014.