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Hi everyone,

I'm a first year PhD student in desperate need of advice. Ok here goes...

I'm in a science field so first year students have lab rotations before we pick an advisor. Well both my fall & spring rotations were secured before I began grad school but they have both since fallen apart. I love the research that I'm doing in my current (fall) rotation but this professor lacks funding and won't be taking on additional students. My spring rotation professor chose a different student to be in her lab and basically told me that I could still rotate with her but there's no guarantee that she'd be able to take me in. So I decided to talk to each and every professor in the dept who is doing cancer research (my focus) and they all either said that they don't have funding or aren't taking any students.

I spoke to my DGS who basically said he didn't know what to tell me and proceeded to lecture me about not being proactive and waiting until the last minute....when in fact that is far from the truth :rolleyes: *sigh*. So in the midst of my anger, sadness, and frustration I applied to a medical lab sciences certification program as a safety net in case I couldn't find a lab to rotate in.

In fact the MLS program sounds pretty exciting since I love to be in the lab and doing research....learning the lab skills would be great on my resume & I planned on using it as a stepping stone to another phd program. Well today I got invited to an interview for the program (awesome!) but I just recently found a professor who's research doesnt exactly match my interests, but is still pretty interesting, who is willing to let me rotate in their lab (equally as awesome!)

Now I have to decide what to do. I'm thinking of taking a LOA and completing the MLS program then coming back to finish my PhD but what if that professor won't have room/money for me when I get back. Yet on the other hand if I decide not to attend the program and discover that either A) I dont like the research or B) the prof doesnt have money/space for me I'm screwed.

I also came to grad school fresh out of undergrad (like I finished my degree in July and started grad school in Aug) and could use the change of pace but I think that the dept would look down on me taking a LOA for "personal reasons".

Help please! :)

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I'd go with the professor/rotation. The fact that he/she is willing to let you rotate is probably a good sign. It seems like profs at your school are pretty serious/honest about not taking students if funding is a problem. I hope I'm not coming off as too judgmental, but an MLS is a waste of time compared to what you have. It's like owning a Benz in need of a brake job and trading it in for a junkmobile w/ functioning brakes. Maybe I exaggerate, but since you went straight from undergrad (and you haven't been exposed to a number of subfields), try out this new/interesting research. You may like it more than cancer. Give it a go, but please SERIOUSLY reconsider the MLS. I think it's a rather limiting degree compared to your current program.

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