Thursday, March 30, 2006

Strong work

I just returned to Gaya's apartment after the poster session at the conference today. Y'all can stop holding your breath -- as predicted, the square peg and her loser poster won no awards in their category.

As I was bitching to Garani after the poster session, we do research full time this year and yet successfully managed to win no awards. FULL. TIME. And we're competing with OTHER medical students, who probably mostly do research in all the spare time they have in between q4 call nights and studying for Boards. I was assigned to a spot right by Arjun, an M2 at my school. The judge came by and humored me by asking me about my research then said "Good luck" and moved on to Arjun's where they listened rapturously as he described ... uh, some sort of odd financial analysis/inpatient outcomes study he did with the medical director of [university hospital], gushed effusively over his poster, then called over another judge so they could all fully appreciate Arjun's poster together. "Excellent work!" "Outstanding poster!" And he ended up winning Honorable Mention.

Ok, so Arjun already has his MBA and has been on the hospital administration's payroll for over a year now (on top of being a med student. I know. Some people need to be shot.) But Arjun got all "Excellent!"s and "Outstanding!"s and I got "Good luck." That's like not even getting an E for Effort! It's like being told you have special needs.

Also, I understand that most research is so highly specialized that unless you're actually in the field it's far too obscure to appreciate, but did everyone HAVE to avoid my poster like the plague? I stood attentively beside my poster with a smile plastered on my face trying to look engaging and knowledgeable, attempting eye contact with anyone walking by. Look at me!!! Let me teach you something!! Please? One guy stopped by and I immediately swooped in to explain PCOS and its metabolic complications but turns out he really only wanted directions to the buffet. I do look sort of manic when I smile too big though. Maybe that was my problem.

Some of the research was just incredible though. I'm always very impressed with what medical students accomplish, especially when I find out that they're not doing research fellowships, and have just managed to pull this together ON TOP of being active med students.

Though, the cynical part of me sort of believes (er.. KNOWS) that many times only a portion of the work has been done by the medical student while the bulk of the work is done by the lab, and the techs, and the PI. Most PIs are generous and so established in their careers that they're willing to give a first authorship to a desperate medical student who needs some juju on her CV. I guess that was the one thing I have going with my research projects: it might all be crappy shit, but it's all MY OWN crappy shit.

4 comments:

Colleen said...

I am so sad that I didn't see you at the poster presentation. But believe me, you poster was probably MUCH better than my sad little one. I am not sure if I even TALKED to a judge since I was so ADHD that I couldn't stand by my poster for more than 5 minutes without getting bored :)

square peg said...

2 hours staring at my poster was a bit painful. I was repelled by it towards the end as well. (And I saw your abstract in the booklet -- not sad!!)

trAcy said...

want to see pic of poster (tho it'd be too small to read on blog/web)!

i so don't miss science fair-type stuff like this. . .

troop on!

Dougal said...

It won't truly have success, I believe this way.
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