Being a student scientist – How to nail it?

ONLINE POST in ENGLISH, commissioned | AMP Student 2017;3

“Keep your feet on the ground but your eyes on the skyline”

Sir Tim Hunt-Nobel Prize Winner (2001)

   At first sight, the words student and researcher don’t seem to have too much in common and their association may seem inappropriate due to the value and importance of a researcher in the medical world compared to the role of a student. Though, at a certain moment, discussion took place around the idea that a good clinician cannot be a good researcher, not to tell about a student. I’m about to change common misconception regarding the subject.

tgyrlchfobe-drew-hays   I have started my activity as a student-researcher a few years ago being convinced that I can discover the recipe for success by meeting and talking to the right people. How wrong I was!         After active-participating at 8 conferences and winning half of them, I was about to find out that you
cannot plan your success, following the recipe and making it happen. Things are a little more complicated. I like to associate the concept of success to the development of an autoimmune disease. Just as this pathology needs a genetic predisposition to interact with a determinant factor stimulated by an environmental factor, so does the success needs a complex interaction between many factors such as the position of a student in a research, the team the student belongs to, the knowledge he has and how disciplined he can be and all those qualities closely coordinated and supervised by a tutor actively involved in the study.  The biggest problem doesn’t concern the reviews but the fact that the student-researcher needs to keep up with the other students, needs good grades and presence at faculty and the medical school, which by its nature, cuts off at least 8 hours a day from his schedule. In my case I had to choose whether to struggle with faculty and research equally. And when I did that neither of the two did not go as I wanted. So I became very selective. And I began to study only the subjects I knew that I would use.

And also, I started to discuss problems with the coordinator so that, she began to divide task depending on the skills of each. Everything depends on how you manage each situation (alone or preferably in team).
As the years pass by more trainings and workshops regarding the personal development and success were developed compared to the ability of pharmaceutical industry to develop antibiotics A fact considered predictable, if we think that the subject can be easily debated by any amateurish psychologist. The great issue is that this type of MD-PhD programs is generalized and addresses a certain category of people and is not reachable by student-researchers, not to mention those with restricted- time research, exposed to full-time stress.

Regarding the time, I have a specific principle, developed by Pareto, who thinks that in 20% of the time one does 80% of the work and the rest of the time is spent with insignificant things. That is a good equation between the work I do and the time I invest in it. In order to succeed, I manage actions, I don’t manage just time.

No matter how productive you are, you won’t be able to do everything and believe it or not, that’s ok. Because you have to learn to choose the people you work with and find those who trust you and you trust them. Your best friends aren’t necessarily the best choice. Find dedicated people who are capable of performance and to whom you are able to constructively communicate. Superman won’t save your day, but words can do this for you, especially if you usually undertake situations of mental and physical exhaustion.

You also have to find a great coordinator, capable to help you learn everything you need to know for your research, from analyzing the patient to analyzing the data and transforming all this into knowledge and information you need to share after the study.

To conclude, the activity of research is about managing activities and time. I am absolutely convinced that any student working with the right people and being coordinated by a good supervisor can be able to do research without ignoring his activity as a student.

There finally I would like to express my gratitude to my small research team (Miron Andreea-Iuliana, Punga Oana-Mihaela), coordinated by Lecturer PhD Copotoiu Monica.


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