ramblinwreckie

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2005
214
0
Status
For those who have done it, what is the transition actually like?

Almost everyone (med students, profs, etc.) tells me that med school will be like a 'vacation' for me coming out of chemical engineering. Or, at least, the workload will be less demanding. What truth is there to that?
 

LauraMac

7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 21, 2003
1,119
1
36
Visit site
Status
Medical Student
ramblinwreckie said:
For those who have done it, what is the transition actually like?

Almost everyone (med students, profs, etc.) tells me that med school will be like a 'vacation' for me coming out of chemical engineering. Or, at least, the workload will be less demanding. What truth is there to that?
i hope that's the case cause that's what i'm doing (BME to medicine). personally, i think it will be more time-consuming, but less frustrating.
 
OP
R

ramblinwreckie

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2005
214
0
Status
LauraMac said:
i hope that's the case cause that's what i'm doing (BME to medicine). personally, i think it be more time-consuming, but less frustrating.
if it's more time consuming, i'm in trouble. senior design is my full-time job. :)
 

8744

Guest
15+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2001
9,322
171
Status
Non-Student
I was a Structural Engineer and actually worked for many years in the engineering field (eventually in my own engineering firm) before going to medical school.

The subject matter in medical school is a lot easier to grasp conceptually than engineering. On the other hand there is an awful lot of it. The big difference between engineering and medicine is that engineers can think linearly usually breaking problems into small steps. While this is also part of medicine, sometimes you have to look at the big picture and go by an impression.

Also, in engineering we usually know all of our design parameters and arrive at completely rational solutions based on complete knowledge. In medicine you sometimes have gaps in your knowledge. We often treat patients presumptivly after an educated guess about their condition and use labs and other studies to either confirm our diagnosis or send us in another direction.

Also, in engineering we ideally start with nothing and construct a perfectly functioning machine, structure, or what have you. Medicine is the reverse, sort of like forensic engineering.

But, if you have the discipline to do well in an engineering curriculum, medical school is not going to kick your ass. I studied more as an engineering undergraduate than I did in first and second year of medical school. This is the reverse of most people who slack off in college and are astounded at the amount they study to barely pass in medical school.

I am a fourth year. Three months left, Baby!

You'll do fine.
 

8744

Guest
15+ Year Member
Dec 7, 2001
9,322
171
Status
Non-Student
ramblinwreckie said:
if it's more time consuming, i'm in trouble. senior design is my full-time job. :)
Medical school is as time-consuming as you make it. If you have the discipline to study a few hours every day and more importantly the discipline to stop studying at an appointed time you will do fine.


People will flame me for saying it but, with the caveat that everybody has their own system, staying up until 3 AM studying is pointless. If you get out of class in the early afternoon or skip your classes which you can do with relative impunity at most medical schools and then find yourself studying until the early hours of the morning then you are doing something wrong.

You would probably need to carefully examine how and what you are studying especially if you are not harvesting excellent grades for all of that work. It is better to get four hours of quality, focused study time every day than ten hours of disorganized, lackadaisical, fitful studying of the kind which so many people practice.

In other words, when you study you should not surf SDN, not talk to your friends, not look out the window, and not sit and complain to others in the library about how hard you are studying. Everybody likes to carp a little but some people could improve their GPA substantially if they just used half of thetime they spend bitching or fretting about studying actually studying.

Oh, and throw away your highlighters, your note cards, and your complicated system of note-taking. Medical school studying is pure reading. No problems to solve, nothing to design, and no need to make it a chore.

Additionally, since it is almost impossible to work while going to medical school (most people live off of loans) you don't have a job as a potential distraction. I worked when I was in college and when I did post-bac work for my pre-med requirements. It is a lot easier not having to juggle work with studying.
 

MWillie

On the wards
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Nov 30, 2004
766
0
37
Chi Town
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Engineering's overrated. I was an engineer undergrad, and as long as I did my fair share of problem sets and studying things turned out okay. I don't imagine it to be that different from any other of the science majors. To say that med school is a breeze compared to engineering is us engineers being too hopeful.
 
OP
R

ramblinwreckie

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jan 16, 2005
214
0
Status
MWillie said:
I don't imagine it to be that different from any other of the science majors.
majoring in engineering vs. the sciences is night and day at my school. classes like ochem, physics, and bio are our easy classes. guess it's different at your school.
 

LauraMac

7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Aug 21, 2003
1,119
1
36
Visit site
Status
Medical Student
ramblinwreckie said:
majoring in engineering vs. the sciences is night and day at my school. classes like ochem, physics, and bio are our easy classes. guess it's different at your school.
same

i think science is all memorization and hardly and problem solving, whereas engineering is all problem solving and hardly any memorization.
 

sweatybrain

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 24, 2004
402
1
Status
Resident [Any Field]
LauraMac said:
same

i think science is all memorization and hardly and problem solving, whereas engineering is all problem solving and hardly any memorization.
I agree to some extenet. In college, I hardly did any work for my bio classes (including genetics and biochem). Engineering consisted of doing a lot of problem sets - probably spent around 10-12 hours per week per class - then maybe an hour or two of studying per week.

In contrast, graduate level biochem classes were a lot more focused on problem solving. We analyzed and presented literatures, and the exams were less memorization-oriented. Essentially, our exams were like "I'm interested in phosphorylation of protein X. Here's the result of the first experiment. Interpret the result and outline the next three experiments and their expected results."

Graduate level engineering classes were more of the same. Except more work :rolleyes:

From friends that I have talked to, medical school biochem, at least in the traditional lecture format, is a lot like undergraduate biochem. A lot of memorization( with more emphasis on clinical correlates).
 

lightnk102

Wild Type
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Oct 29, 2004
531
2
Status
LauraMac said:
same

i think science is all memorization and hardly and problem solving, whereas engineering is all problem solving and hardly any memorization.
i completely agree with this. engineering taught me HOW to think/problemsolve (i.e. we could bring in equations on a notecard as long as we knew how to use them), but medicine requires sheer memorization.

unfortunately for me - i majored in engineering for a reason. i suck at memorization. if only there were o'reilly books for medicine... or code i could grab off the web to make a diagnosis on a patient.
 

HumptyDumpty

Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2005
41
0
Status
LauraMac said:
same

i think science is all memorization and hardly and problem solving, whereas engineering is all problem solving and hardly any memorization.
I don't think science is all memorization, but I do think a lot of medical school is. I don't know about everyone else, but at my ungergrad school, there was a sort of unspoken (or sometimes spoken) ill will toward pre-meds within the science departments. Word was that pre-meds don't think; they "just memorize (scoff, scoff)." I do agree that memorization often requires less thought than problem-solving, so I can understand why some would believe that med school would be a breeze compared to engineering. But it's a bit risky to go into med school thinking that way. I have a friend who majored in electrical engineering and really struggled during his first year of med school. B/c he went through undergrad not having to memorize a whole lot for tests, the sheer volume of info to memorize in med school blindsided him, and I think it took him a while to realize that he couldn't study the same way he used to if he wanted to succeed.
 

PublicEnemy

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2004
788
1
38
Visit site
Status
i majored in BME. there was a large amount of pure biomedical sciences but it was never the focus of what we were tested on or required to take away, for example we had to learn systems physiology, so our understanding of physiology, neuroscience, cariodovascular systems, circulatory systems, etc was required to be as good as bio majors taking similar physiology classes, but the big difference was the BME classes used the backdrop of the physiological system for considerably more application, and analytical probelm solving, with things like concepts of fluid mechanics, transport, turbulent flow, etc. on top of that the BME classes had true engineering components as well, on tests and labs we often had to model systems. another example, i took a BME class called neuropathophysiology, the first 2 lectures covered a comprehensive review of neuoranatomy, taught by an actual med school prof, then every lecture after that presented a module on a different pathophysiology like stroke, spinal cord lesions, ocular defects etc. After the first few mins of lecture everything went into modeling the system, characterizing the physiological phenomenon, like determining variables and modeling a formula for the amount of spasticity based on real data from a clinic from people with spinal cord lesions. in another class, cardiovascular instrumentation, we covered cardiothoracic anatomy and function, but then we focused on things like reading and monitoring ECG's, how ECG's work, the 12 lead system, etc, then using that kind of data to design pacemakers for different arrythmias, etc. the actual biomedical science aspect was always adjunct to application of theory, or problem solving.


so here's the deal as far as what i've been able to uncover from many who have made the jump from BME or ChemE to med school. we won't have the same type of demand on analytical problem solving, but while we have experience with covering a lot of material in biomedical sciences we will have to adjust to actually retaining and being able to reproduce large amounts of info, and not just manipulate or apply theories, relationships or equations.
 

wordson1

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 2, 2004
18
0
Status
ramblinwreckie said:
majoring in engineering vs. the sciences is night and day at my school. classes like ochem, physics, and bio are our easy classes. guess it's different at your school.

i would definitley agree with your statement (im assuming you go to gt). at some schools engineering is just another major. in fact i met a student this summer at a summer program who was an engineer at some small private school and he knew less physics than some of the bio majors do at my school. kind of like you said rambwreck, at my school engineers are seen almost as a different breed, considering the amount of coursework required and the difficulty when compared to other sciences. in fact if you talk to most premed engineers, they would say orgo is like taking a break. just another case of variation between schools...