How To Fight Boredom #1: Participate In Paid Research Studies

This is the first in what I will call the How To Fight Boredom series, which I will simply add to whenever I have new ideas and the time to sit down and write about ‘em. I’m still getting a feel for this new blog and will soon return with my zine reviews and What I Got In The Mail This Week – now with photos!

Electrodes on my face! Sometimes I feel like I'm in a sci-fi film.

I’m writing to you from the top bunk in one of about twenty bunk beds that are set up in this particular dormitory in a Montreal pharmaceutical research centre. As long as I am here, I am known not as Amber Forrester, but as Vingt-Cinq. There are thirty-nine other women in my group. Some of them are in bed in front of their own laptops and some of them are out in the common area, watching television, reading magazines and socializing with each other. I’m the Quiet One, as I’ve always been. The flirtier nurses call me Mean Girl when they spot my tattoos.

Vingt-Cinq: This is what I look like right now.

Reading material: Journal (1931-1934) par Anaïs Nin. Je lis en français plus souvent que jamais.

This is my second weekend participating in a study on Plan B. I haven’t experienced any negative side effects, in case you’re wondering. The pharmaceutical studies that I participate in are low-risk and generally involve staying at the clinic for two separate weekends, two to four weeks apart. The clinic is testing name brand medications versus generic. Basically, I’m a lab rat and I totally love it. I always bring something of a to-do pile with me, containing zines, letters, my agenda and a novel or two. And things get done! Since this morning, I’ve read three zines (Show & Tell #6, All I Want Is Everything #2 and the Dig Deep #2 / Your Secretary #10 split, all of which will be available shortly through Fight Boredom Distro), written seven letters to friends and kept up with my journal. I’ve also had fifteen vials of blood drawn (which frankly, I enjoy), half my debt is about to be paid off, and only one of the nurses switched to English on me. I’m a very happy girl. My weekends in the clinic are almost a vacation for me – a little tiny break from the distractions of the real world. I always come out feeling refreshed and inspired. Tonight, I know that I am going to write all night long – well, after my snack of applesauce and graham crackers.

My to-do pile: Journal, agenda, countless letters and zines.

Sometimes I have good stories to tell, like the time I did a study on genital pain (actually, I did it twice), or the researcher who was studying couples and told me that it sounded like I love pizza more than my previous partner (true), or the time I did a study on stress that involved doing a mock job interview and it was worse than any interview I’ve had in real-life. I’ll share more with you in Culture Slut #25, which will hopefully be out early in 2012.

The pharmaceutical studies that I do are through Algorithme Pharma (this is not an endorsement of big pharma, just my alternative means of payin’ the billz). I also participate in many of the research studies listed on McGill Classifieds, and I check Flat Broke MTL on a regular basis. Beats workin’!

4 thoughts on “How To Fight Boredom #1: Participate In Paid Research Studies

  1. Thanks for posting this! I’ve thought about doing something through A-Pharma, but had no one to ask about having gone through the experience. It’s good to know it’s a viable option, and I feel reassured after reading your experiences.

  2. I think the next installment in this series should be called something like How To Fight Boredom #2: Have Jet-Lagged High Schoolers Pay You A Visit!

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