I'm graduating in May and since high school my long term career plan has been to try to be a scientific researcher. For a whole host of reasons I had become very doubtful about that path last semester and ended up not applying to grad schools. This semester I joined a research group that really reignited my confidence in trying to become a researcher, which is good, but I've decided to take a gap year between graduating and applying to grad schools.
I'd like to make the most of said gap year. Ideally, I'd do research in a lab or under a professor. I know there are threads discussing this on this forum, in particular this one:
I discussed the prospect of working as a researcher in a university group with my current research advisor. He gave me the impression that it would be difficult to find paid positions with university professors for someone in my position, which is to say someone who is not enrolled as a graduate student. Frankly this is what I expected, but I can't accept an unpaid position for a year and would really like to pursue this avenue if possible. Certainly I will try my luck at national labs, but I'd like to seek positions at universities too.
So my question is, is it at all possible for someone not enrolled as a graduate student to find a paid position as part of a research group? If I email professors asking for such a role am I simply wasting my time?
Thanks for any direction you can offer.