Thursday, July 29, 2010

summer angst (yes, even more)

whenever summer rolls around, there seems to be a new crisis. it’s weird, because during the much busier school year, i typically don’t go through these periods of drama and angst. perhaps it’s because i’m doing so much that i don’t have time to think, just go go go. but during the summer, when things slow down and i can focus, i always manage to unearth something momentous from my subconscious.

last summer the task was to come to terms with an extended or permanent absence from the place i call home. it took about 6 months and several cross country trips, but i’ve reconciled myself to it. visiting will satisfy.

this summer, i’m stressing about school. specifically, about transferring to another one.

my small, liberal arts school has served me pretty well, considering that i never wanted to go here. i’ve had the opportunity to build some solid relationships with professors and have never lacked for attention in classes. however, as someone who wants to get into the biomedical research industry, it’s the undergraduate research experience (both quantity and quality) that really matters to me. sadly, my current school is lacking in both. sure, there’s 1 or 2 professors who have done some recognized work, but overall the research endeavors here are underfunded and lack organization. so far i’ve spent 1.5 summers in a lab where nothing gets done. it looks good on my resume, but really, that’s all that i’m getting out of it.

so, i decided to transfer, mid year, to the R1 university in the city. i think i have a decent chance of getting in, and if i do, i’ll go. i haven’t told my research lead, my academic advisor, or any of the professors i count as mentors. how am i supposed to tell them? the big shiny rival university just stole one of their most promising students, one that they’ve put a significant amount of time and resources into. (of course, this doesn’t factor in the outrageous tuition, which pays for a completely underwhelming education without even a name attached to it, so really, their resources aren’t what’s important here) but it’s my time, my money, my future career, my life, and i don’t think i can stay here any longer.

i want to be pushed, i want to compete, i want to be in an environment with an actual scientific community. i’m not going to find that here, and i don’t think i can wait until grad school. so if i get in to the Big U, i’m going, and i won’t be sorry that i did.

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