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Discussion in 'Postbaccalaureate Programs' started by Bledyn, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. Bledyn

    Bledyn Junior Member

    Jun 30, 2005
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    I am starting Columbia's post-bacc in January, and I need to know that it will not be the worst experience in my life. I have been reading posts for the past hour that did nothing but talk about how horrible of a program it is - expensive, impersonal, cut-throat - but there have to be some people who have actually *enjoyed* their experience and believe it is a worthwhile program, right...?

    So far the complaints I've read were what I would expect to hear. I am concerned, however, that there is no unity at all among post-baccs at Columbia. I have been on the PMA website, which was very informative, but it gave only a vague idea of community among PBPM students. I would like to change that.

    I understand that there is going to be intensely competitive students in all post-bacc programs and I think a certain level of competiveness is healthy. I also believe that by doing something as simple as forming a study group we Columbians can work together to change our PB's reputation and increase our chances for success.

    I have no idea how I'll fare at Columbia, and, according to several SDNers, I have made an enormous mistake for even deciding to go there in the first place, but I am going to try and make the best of it (if this post sounds like a self-affirmation, its probably because it is one). If anyone has any advice on how to make my two years at Columbia be worthwhile (or even *fun*), or you wish to share a *positive* experience, please share it. And for anyone starting at Columbia in January - I will see you there. I'll be the sweaty guy not talking to anyone.
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  3. Halcyon440

    Halcyon440 On the fence
    7+ Year Member

    Jul 29, 2003
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    Medical Student
    Oh dear I hope I don't get flamed for this. Columbia bashing seems to be fashionable here.

    Anyway, I have been in Columbia's postbacc program since January 2004 and will be completing it this coming May. I took Physics I and Lab that first semester and then Physics II over the summer. During the Fall 04 and Spring 05 semesters I took General Chemistry in the evenings. I had been working full-time (in Connecticut - can we say commute from hell) throughout and did well in my courses.

    I am now a full-time student since that is what makes the pre-med committee happy. I couldn't take my job anymore anyway; I was completely miserable.

    Oh let me mention that I went to Columbia undergrad from 1992-1996 so that is likely the reason why I view the postbacc program in a more positive light than most here on SDN. I also grew up in upper Manhattan so campus is like home to me. I had few adjustment issues.

    Yes, the courses will be difficult. And yes, it is indeed very cutthroat. But I have been mostly happy with the program. From my first day of classes I started meeting really interesting people. I had been stuck in a stupid corporate environment for so long that it was refreshing to meet intelligent, motivated people. I am still in contact with several of the folks I hung out with during Physics. During my Chem year I made about 6 close friends plus there are a ton of people who I've become less closely acquainted with. The level of the classes is good if you want a challenge. You really need to think about this stuff in order to get those A's. None of the classes are rote memorization. They will stretch your mind.

    This year things are a little weird. I was expecting to spend a lot of time with my Chemistry friends but we ended up taking different Organic Chem sections and different Labs and also attending the Bio lessons at different times. So I am actually a bit isolated this year. Also, the future gunners are starting to show their colors which can be damn annoying. If you are not 120% committed to medicine and nothing else they will make you feel out of place. But don't let it get to you. I am still practicing my oboe every day, am singing in a rock band, and spend time with my husband. There ARE people who are studying non-stop, but hey, we end up getting the same grades (most of the time anyway).

    Yikes, I guess I didn't post only good things. But I just wanted you to know that there ARE some people who are decently happy at the program. I do sometimes wonder how life would be at an "easier" program, but I am happy with all the things I've learned and the friends I've made. It will be VERY intense but I am confident that if you manage to do well, you will definitely get into med school somewhere.

    Send me a PM if you'd like more info.
  4. KP222

    KP222 New Member

    Nov 26, 2005
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    Well, if it makes you feel better, I am in the same exact boat as you. I am thinking about starting the Columbia postbacc program this January. To be honest, all the negative posts about Columbia have me second guessing this decision. It seems like no one has anything positive to say about it. But then I remind myself that as long as I try my hardest and don't let the cut-throat atmosphere get to me, I'll be able to pull off some good grades.

    In any case, maybe you can help me with something. I have to take the math placement test because I haven't taken calculus since high school. Have you taken the tests (I and II)? If so, how did you prepare for them? I haven't looked at a math problem for about 5 years now and need to polish up. I'd appreciate any help.

    Good luck and feel free to PM me.

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