So what's changed after months of saying computational biology is my baby? A large part of the change is that rather than going where I thought I belonged based on my skills, I'm being led by God through the opportunities that have presented themselves. And I don't think it's a coincidence that I have had more "no gos" this past year than I could count where PIs would promise me opportunities, then disappear like a fart in the wind! But in the context of the absolutely fabulous time I've had working with special needs children this Spring semester and the "people/people" that tend to go into these fields, it's no surprise to me now that Biomedical Informatics/Data Science a more "people/people" field, has "won out" over Computational Biology/Data Science. And I couldn't be happier about it!! However, the fallout from this past school year and the challenges associated with finding a PI has left me feeling pretty worn out both mentally and physically. So with that in mind, I think I'm going to take it easy this next school year in terms of trying to make significant progress toward my PhD. I won't stop taking classes and because I love school so much, I don't think I could if I tried. But besides the Psych and Soc classes I need for the MCAT, I don't think I'm going to take more than 2 additional classes toward my PhD next year, one on the fall and one next spring.
What I'm seriously hoping is that I'll never have this internal debate again about where my personal and academic interests are best served now that I thoroughly understand that I'm better off in environments with "people/people", than environments with Scientists who are often far from being "people/people". Thing is, I remember when I had this revelation back in the late 80's where I was reprimanded by my lab manager for reading a genetics book during my lunch break on a gig where I was hired to wash glassware. I still remember her exact words, "we don't pay you to read about what we do, you're paid to clean our glassware". My first thought was "wow, what a royal *itch", and my next immediate thought was as much as I enjoy research, maybe this isn't the environment for me.
Okay, so I've talked about that enough, I think it's safe to say that now that I'm going back to working for/with Clinicians in a hospital affiliated with a major medical school, where I'll be working on clinical research projects, I KNOW I'm going to thrive (though I know it won't be perfect) while being constantly reminded of what my ultimate goal is, a Physician/Scientist career! In the meantime, I'll continue to think about my 2 year plan to matriculating into med school with the idea that right now, it's best for me to take my time and do it right!