Any Biologists/Chemists here? (That means you Doctors/dentists/pharmacists)

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by sofaking9000, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. LoMC

    LoMC Member

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    I did pre-medicine and engineering and I couldn't stand how cutthroat the students were in my bio/chem/ochem classes. The pre-meds are a bunch of conniving bastards with no lives, if you ask me. I'm only half kidding, by the way.

    It really depends what you're looking for in life. If you truly want to be a doctor, then suck it up and just grind it out. Based on my experience, I would say that you're going to hate your classmates for 4 years, semi-hate them throughout medical school and come out with a rewarding career in medicine, assuming you pass boards and get your residency done.

    When people say it's hard work, they're not mincing words. I'm literally not joking about having no life. My friend at UCSF Medical School told me she studied upwards of 8 hours per day, on top of having leadership positions in clubs, securing a research position after her freshman year, having 10 published papers on PubMed and attending all lectures. That worked out to about 2-4 hours of sleep for her a night for four years, a 4.0 undergraduate GPA in Molecular Biology, and a lot of hating life. In the process, she also became a sociopath and I'm terrified that she's going to be a doctor - my only solace is that as long as I have a say in it, she won't be mine.

    Overall, my experience with pre-meds has not been favorable. A couple of my more prominent memories of organic chemistry involve taking my friend to the hospital because he had a nervous breakdown, not being surprised that somebody ripped out key chapters of the ochem books on library reserve, and having heard multiple classmates tell me that they've had their books stolen from their dorm rooms/apartments/backpacks during finals week. I highly recommend investing in a good set of locks, not sharing your room with anyone, and never taking your eyes off your stuff. My friend who had the emotional breakdown developed paranoid delusions that someone was going to break into his room while he was gone and steal his ochem/bio/chem books. Another friend left her study area in the library while studying with "friends" to pee and came back to discover that her ochem book was missing and that her "friends" didnt see anyone take the book. She later found that the book had been returned to her with pages missing (presumably so she couldn't even sell her book back to the bookstore after the quarter ended)... after everyone had taken the final exam.

    On the bright side, you will make friends. 90% of these friends will copy your homework, never allow you to see theirs, and lie to you about when midterms are or when/where things are due. Don't drop your guard. Seriously.

    From glossing over your other post about your parents, it sounds like you will probably end up rebelling against the parentals and partying like hell in college. You don't want to be in pre-med for that, it'll wreck your gpa and screw you out of medical school.

    Bottom line of my rant is that you have two options: have no life in college, work your ass off and not sleep, or enjoy your undergraduate experience and maybe decide to take pre-med courses after you've worked the party out of your system. I've had 90% of my friends either burn out doing pre-med or wreck their GPAs to the point that even grad schools won't take them.

    The scary thing is is that you'll convince yourself that this will never happen to you - you'll never burn out. After all, you did well in high school, right? Wrong, bro. Everyone thinks they're the shit when they're 18. Only a few people actually are. Better to not chance it and find out you aren't the hard way.
     


  2. watchcollector2454

    watchcollector2454 Senior member

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    I did pre-medicine and engineering and I couldn't stand how cutthroat the students were in my bio/chem/ochem classes. The pre-meds are a bunch of conniving bastards with no lives, if you ask me. I'm only half kidding, by the way.

    It really depends what you're looking for in life. If you truly want to be a doctor, then suck it up and just grind it out. Based on my experience, I would say that you're going to hate your classmates for 4 years, semi-hate them throughout medical school and come out with a rewarding career in medicine, assuming you pass boards and get your residency done.

    When people say it's hard work, they're not mincing words. I'm literally not joking about having no life. My friend at UCSF Medical School told me she studied upwards of 8 hours per day, on top of having leadership positions in clubs, securing a research position after her freshman year, having 10 published papers on PubMed and attending all lectures. That worked out to about 2-4 hours of sleep for her a night for four years, a 4.0 undergraduate GPA in Molecular Biology, and a lot of hating life. In the process, she also became a sociopath and I'm terrified that she's going to be a doctor - my only solace is that as long as I have a say in it, she won't be mine.

    Overall, my experience with pre-meds has not been favorable. A couple of my more prominent memories of organic chemistry involve taking my friend to the hospital because he had a nervous breakdown, not being surprised that somebody ripped out key chapters of the ochem books on library reserve, and having heard multiple classmates tell me that they've had their books stolen from their dorm rooms/apartments/backpacks during finals week. I highly recommend investing in a good set of locks, not sharing your room with anyone, and never taking your eyes off your stuff. My friend who had the emotional breakdown developed paranoid delusions that someone was going to break into his room while he was gone and steal his ochem/bio/chem books. Another friend left her study area in the library while studying with "friends" to pee and came back to discover that her ochem book was missing and that her "friends" didnt see anyone take the book. She later found that the book had been returned to her with pages missing (presumably so she couldn't even sell her book back to the bookstore after the quarter ended)... after everyone had taken the final exam.

    On the bright side, you will make friends. 90% of these friends will copy your homework, never allow you to see theirs, and lie to you about when midterms are or when/where things are due. Don't drop your guard. Seriously.

    From glossing over your other post about your parents, it sounds like you will probably end up rebelling against the parentals and partying like hell in college. You don't want to be in pre-med for that, it'll wreck your gpa and screw you out of medical school.

    Bottom line of my rant is that you have two options: have no life in college, work your ass off and not sleep, or enjoy your undergraduate experience and maybe decide to take pre-med courses after you've worked the party out of your system. I've had 90% of my friends either burn out doing pre-med or wreck their GPAs to the point that even grad schools won't take them.

    The scary thing is is that you'll convince yourself that this will never happen to you - you'll never burn out. After all, you did well in high school, right? Wrong, bro. Everyone thinks they're the shit when they're 18. Only a few people actually are. Better to not chance it and find out you aren't the hard way.


    wow - this is an awful picture of pre-meds. what schools did these people go to???
     


  3. Zach

    Zach Well-Known Member

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    I'm in my 3rd year of med school now - I can offer only a little insight into the beginning phases of becoming a physician.

    The first two years are pretty boring and don't seem at all related to what you went to med school for. You sit in a class, occasionally go on little token visits to the hospital, and generally just read a lot. Many schools now record lectures, so you can pretty well get the first two years done on-line. It's pretty much all in preparation for the USMLE Step 1 Exam - once you get that out of the way, it's a big relief.

    Third year is much better - the hours are longer, but at least you're getting a taste of what you went to school for. I think my worst week was night float on OB/GYN, something in the range of 90 hours over one week of nights. Busy in its own right, but more so because you're still expected to attend lectures, conferences, read, prepare for exams, etc. in your "spare time."

    Even then, I don't think it is as bad as some make it out to be. Plenty of my classmates go out the the bars on their off days. There is lots of studying, but you learn to work it into your schedule at the appropriate time. I think LoMC's account may be a bit of a stretch.

    I'm getting ready to apply for orthopaedic surgery programs - as far as residency goes, new ACGME guidelines are capping next year's interns at no more than 16 hours per shift(this is true for all residencies) - that is actually less by a fair margin than I'm working on call days on my peds rotation. Residents at my program take call q5, arrive at the hospital around 6 and usually get out by 6 PM it seems. Most, if not all residents, are getting job offers by their 4th year of residency, just about everyone has a job lined up prior to graduation (unless they're doing a fellowship, which is more and more frequent).

    Edit - if you're interested in going to med school, a few pointers on what to look for when applying...

    PBL education style is the bane of all students' existence. It's touted as the new wave of med school education. It isn't. It's just a pain in the ass.

    Find a city you can live happily in.

    Find a school whose main rotating hospital is a level 1 trauma center and provides tertiary care. Also look for a decent sized hospital - you get lots of referrals from the region and get to see some cool things.

    Consider what you may be interested in and find a hospital that has residencies in that program. This is somewhat of a difficult issue because there is a good chance that you will change your interests as you progress. However, should you end up liking one thing and they don't offer a residency at your home program, it may put you at a disadvantage when it comes time to apply. As an example, my program offers Plastics fellowships only, no residency. A couple of classmates are looking to match into integrated plastics and really must apply to outside programs. A neighboring school doesn't offer Derm, again students from that program must apply outside only. At very least, make sure the school offers a fellowship program so you can do home rotations and get letters of rec.
     


  4. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    What degrees did you end up with to land the job you have?

    Pretty sure GIb's mentioned elsewhere he has a PhD in synthetic chemistry, but I don't remember which field specifically (organic, inorganic, catalyst, etc. etc.). I may be wrong though.

    BS Chem, PhD in physical chemistry (gas phase spectroscopy and computational work).
     


  5. sofaking9000

    sofaking9000 Well-Known Member

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    I'm in my 3rd year of med school now - I can offer only a little insight into the beginning phases of becoming a physician.

    The first two years are pretty boring and don't seem at all related to what you went to med school for. You sit in a class, occasionally go on little token visits to the hospital, and generally just read a lot. Many schools now record lectures, so you can pretty well get the first two years done on-line. It's pretty much all in preparation for the USMLE Step 1 Exam - once you get that out of the way, it's a big relief.

    Third year is much better - the hours are longer, but at least you're getting a taste of what you went to school for. I think my worst week was night float on OB/GYN, something in the range of 90 hours over one week of nights. Busy in its own right, but more so because you're still expected to attend lectures, conferences, read, prepare for exams, etc. in your "spare time."

    Even then, I don't think it is as bad as some make it out to be. Plenty of my classmates go out the the bars on their off days. There is lots of studying, but you learn to work it into your schedule at the appropriate time. I think LoMC's account may be a bit of a stretch.

    I'm getting ready to apply for orthopaedic surgery programs - as far as residency goes, new ACGME guidelines are capping next year's interns at no more than 16 hours per shift(this is true for all residencies) - that is actually less by a fair margin than I'm working on call days on my peds rotation. Residents at my program take call q5, arrive at the hospital around 6 and usually get out by 6 PM it seems. Most, if not all residents, are getting job offers by their 4th year of residency, just about everyone has a job lined up prior to graduation (unless they're doing a fellowship, which is more and more frequent).

    Edit - if you're interested in going to med school, a few pointers on what to look for when applying...

    PBL education style is the bane of all students' existence. It's touted as the new wave of med school education. It isn't. It's just a pain in the ass.

    Find a city you can live happily in.

    Find a school whose main rotating hospital is a level 1 trauma center and provides tertiary care. Also look for a decent sized hospital - you get lots of referrals from the region and get to see some cool things.

    Consider what you may be interested in and find a hospital that has residencies in that program. This is somewhat of a difficult issue because there is a good chance that you will change your interests as you progress. However, should you end up liking one thing and they don't offer a residency at your home program, it may put you at a disadvantage when it comes time to apply. As an example, my program offers Plastics fellowships only, no residency. A couple of classmates are looking to match into integrated plastics and really must apply to outside programs. A neighboring school doesn't offer Derm, again students from that program must apply outside only. At very least, make sure the school offers a fellowship program so you can do home rotations and get letters of rec.


    Alot of what you and LoMC are telling me is stuff I've never heard before. It seems to me that you figure this stuff out once you get there and if you aren't quick about it, you can end up screwing yourself royally. I just wish that Biology departments at colleges did a better job of providing a road map of how to get a final destination. Although, I've had no experience as I'm at a community college, hopefully my experience will be better next semester as a State school.

    Thanks for the advice guys [​IMG]
     


  6. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    BS Chem, PhD in physical chemistry (gas phase spectroscopy and computational work).

    You found spectroscopy interesting enough for a multiple year-long PhD? [​IMG] I was going to work in an analysis lab and was thinking of some classes, but the day-to-day of spectroscopy is just so [​IMG]
     


  7. thinman

    thinman Senior member

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    PhD in Chemistry and 20 years teaching General, Inorganic, and then Physical Chemistry (including pre-meds). I could tell you a few stories about pre-meds [​IMG] .
     


  8. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    PhD in Chemistry and 20 years teaching General, Inorganic, and then Physical Chemistry (including pre-meds). I could tell you a few stories about pre-meds [​IMG] .
    Please allow me to summarize:
    "So, like, ochem is really hard. Can you just give me an A cuz I wanna go to med school?"
     


  9. thinman

    thinman Senior member

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    Please allow me to summarize:
    "So, like, ochem is really hard. Can you just give me an A cuz I wanna go to med school?"


    My favorite was a story from a colleague who was propositioned in return for a higher grade. Her response was "It's not an automatic 'A'... and you don't want me grading you!"
     


  10. dwyhajlo

    dwyhajlo Senior member

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    Pharmacy is great. There's usually work to be had, especially if you're willing to relocate to relatively rural communities. There's two main routes that most people take after finishing pharmacy school: community (the corner pharmacy) or hospital. They both have their advantages, but I like hospital. In addition, you can also get into industry, research, admin, academics, etc.
    The one thing I will mention though, is that the industry is kind of in flux right now, because there are a lot of (mainly computerized) innovations making their way onto the scene right now, which have the potential to really change things up. That's something to at least consider when making your decision.

    Some of the smaller countries in the Caribbean (i.e. Barbados, which has a relatively high living standard, and is quite beautiful) are always looking for pharmacists, since they don't train their own. If that interests you, then that's another possible route to go.

    If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to ask.
     


  11. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    My favorite was a story from a colleague who was propositioned in return for a higher grade. Her response was "It's not an automatic 'A'... and you don't want me grading you!"

    [​IMG] Need this whole story. This definitely beats all the pre-med kids I've known. They were just the idiot grade grubbers: "But I memorized all 50 pages in the textbook, why didn't I get this math problem right?!" "Did you understand any of it?" "No.. but I memorized it!" "[​IMG]"
     


  12. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    For those of you interested in medicine you should read "The House of God" by Samuel Shem (a pen name), a book about internship during the 70s.

    When I read it in college, I thought the author was extremely jaded and I'll never be like that.

    When I read it during my clinical years at med school, I thought I can see where the author is coming from but I'll never be like that.

    When I read it during my internship, I thought everything is true except for the sex. [​IMG]
     


  13. facebookdigg123

    facebookdigg123 Senior member

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    i'll be applying to med schools this summer. fun stuff!
     


  14. HgaleK

    HgaleK Senior member

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    BS Chem, PhD in physical chemistry (gas phase spectroscopy and computational work).

    Are you pretty much SOL for jobs with anything less than an advanced degree in Chemistry?
     


  15. UncleCozy

    UncleCozy Senior member

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    I'm going to dentist school this fall, will be some tough years but well worth it! Will probably move to the UK due to the high wages for dentists there, work for a few year, move back to Sweden and raise up the kids! Will perhaps go into private practice later in life.
     


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