Interested in becoming a Psychiatrist.

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by NukeEmAllJeff, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. NukeEmAllJeff

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    Hi, I'm Jeff. I'm 21. I'm just starting college and I have been thinking of going for psychiatry. I just want some information on what classes I should start taking in order to get into med school as well as any other information that may be useful for someone who is just starting college and interested in psychiatry.

    Any information would help a lot.

    Thank you.
     
  2. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    I'd go to the Pre-Allopathic forums, read the stickies, and after doing so, post there.

    By far the biggest hurdle will be the one you face getting in to medical school. Do everything you can to do that. Once you're in medical school, you can focus on what will strengthen your application for psychiatry residencies.

    btw, med schools do not care about your major, so major in whatever you have passion for. It will show on your GPA and show during your interviews. And if it's applicable to psych, all the better. Good luck to you.
     
  3. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow
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    Cut & paste from another thread...
    If you want to be a medical doctor, it'd be a good idea to take the pre-med classes, study for the MCAT, and take some classes that aren't pre-med but are taught in medschool such as Histology, Pathology, Microbiology, Anatomy.

    If you know you want to go into psychiatry do the above & take the psychology classes I mentioned.
     
  4. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Interesting. This runs counter to what most pre-meds are told. Lots of medical schools explicitly state that taking courses taught in med school at the undergrad level is not recommended, as medical school starts from day 0 on the subject anyway.

    Taking all those classes in undergrad might make the learning curve less steep, but in the big picture, I think an undergrad would be much better off getting an education by taking courses they won't take in med school rather than devoting a large part of their undergard education on subjects they'll be taught all over again in med school.

    Your average med student seems pretty science-rich and education-poor, in my book. I'd recommend a student take courses in Spanish or literature long before I'd recommend Anatomy-lite. But there are many ways to skin a cat, I suppose...
     
    #4 notdeadyet, Jan 6, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  5. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642
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    I would second this advice-- take what you want in college and major what you're interested in. All you HAVE to take is a year of biology with lab, a year of gen chem with lab, a year of organic chem with lab, a semester of calculus (a year of calculus in a few med schools), and a year of physics with lab. A few med schools require biochemistry. Other than these requirements you are free to major in whatever you want and take whatever you want; do it now while you can because in med school you have all this science stuff all day every day so you better get your liberal arts in undergraduate if that's what you love.

    If you think you're interested in psychiatry, don't worry about having to do anything to "show your interest." You'll probably change your mind in med school. In fact, probability dictates that you'll change your mind about med school during college. Good luck!
     
  6. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow
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    I don't agree, though its up to the individual to listen to the reasoning for the differing points of the view.

    There is an advantage of taking classes not taught in medschool--it broadens your horizons.

    The disadvantage, is that in medschool, data is crammed into you at an inhuman rate. It can be very stressful, and this stress can be compounded if the course is not taught well, as is the case in many medical schools, especially if its a big research place where the professor is big on research & has the attitude that his/her time is being wasted by teaching medical students.

    If you've had some of the classes ahead of time, it arms you--because you already have some understanding of the data that is being crammed into your head. There were terms where the students took about 25 credits. Having known some of this stuff ahead of time is like a lifeline.

    While I was in medschool, being a psychology instead of a biology major-, several times in classes, my colleagues already knew what was being taught, while I did not.

    So take all this advice, think about it & decide what's best for you.
     
  7. masterofmonkeys

    masterofmonkeys Angy Old Man
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    Your average med student (or science grad student) is pretty science-poor too, IMO.

    You just have to read the writings of Einstein, Planck, Kuhn, etc, to realize how the data-driven (rather than theory formulation and testing driven)

    Einstein.
     
  8. NukeEmAllJeff

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    This is all great advice. I'm just going to talk to someone at USF about there M.D program and see what I should and should not take in college.
     
  9. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Ironically, this is exactly the complaint many students have about taking science at their undergrads: the professor is big on research and has the attitude that his/her time is being wasted by teaching undergrads.
    True. It definitely would have been nice to have taken most of the courses taught in med school first so that it was all a do-over. You'd definitely learn it better. But I'd hate to think of the cost to your education of having done so.
    Also true, though I think it's important to remind pre-med students that it's a life line the vast majority of student will never need. Very, very few students flunk out med school.

    I think half or most of pre-meds toy with the idea of taking coursework not recommended by their school for the sake of getting a leg up in med school. Some do but most are talked out of it by med students. I don't know many that recommend taking med school curriculum in your undergrad.
     
  10. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Comparing the training of physicists to doctors is kind of apples and oranges, no? Most hard core Ph.D.'s I know would be pretty ill-equiped to become physicians and many physicians I know would be ill-equiped to become bench researchers.

    And viva la difference...
     
  11. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Good thinking.

    You might also consider calling a couple of schools and asking what they recommend you take and not take, just to make sure you're getting a diverse opinion. You might see a similar trend in what they recommend you do and do not take.
     
  12. masterofmonkeys

    masterofmonkeys Angy Old Man
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    Bench researchers by and large these days suffer from the same problems as MDs do. Which is largely a lack of theoretical and philosophical rigor.

    I realize most of the guys I mentioned were physicists, but you could also include Gould (not Dawkins), Darwin, Mayr, etc. What all these guys have in common is a dedication to scientific epistemology. It was actually those aspects of Einstein, Planck, etc I was referring to.

    Whether you're an MD or a bench researcher, you are operating in a science-centered environment. Problem being, these days no one is paid to argue. No one is paid to formulate theory. We all bow before 'original research' but fail to pay the necessary attention to integrating that research into a cohesive whole. And mostly, what we look for in 'original research' are correlations, not causations. corroborations, not refutations. 'Science' these days is as much about ideology as it is about anything. And same goes for medicine.

    As an example, we know that moderate attention to diet and exercise (and not even optimal diet and exercise) decrease heart disease risk much more effectively than statins do. The changes they produce in LDL are modest at best, though. Yet, the medical model of atherosclerosis is very LDL-centric. That's a problem. One that few doctors really think about.

    From a psych perspective, the journals are awash in biochemical this and genetic that. But you know what depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar DO have in common? Psychosocial and physical stress as precipitating and exacerbating factors. Genes and biochemicals are clearly involved. But what actually makes these genes penetrate in onlyi 40% of those who have schizophrenia-related alleles? What happens in the 40% of people with the genetic markers for bipolar dz who never develop it?

    As for 'primary hypertension', 'back pain', and 'osteoarthritis', I won't even get started.

    Doctors aren't taught to develop scientific perspective. That's a problem.
     
  13. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow
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    If medschool were not as difficult at least as I thought it was, I would be telling people to only take the bare minimum pre-med courses. College is a good time for broadening horizons.

    I think its a product of my experiences at Rutgers--a school where an overwhelming majority of students are pre-med from the start, and the school adopts a weed out mentality. Not every school has this philosophy though several from what I hear (and they fit similar demographics as Rutgers) do have the weed out mentality. From what I've heard NYU, UCLA, Cornell & most of the UC California schools are the ones that weed out on a brutal level.

    I was a psychology major, a buddy of mine was an engineer. I remember when we took Immunology, the professor couldn't teach the class. We had a very tough time in it. About 70% of the class already had it in undergrad. I remember being told, "only reason why I'm doing well in this class is because I remember this from undergrad. I don't know what this lady's teaching".

    At least at Rutgers, I didn't feel the pre-meds were telling info that was in the interest of the students. E.g. they tell the students to take Chemsitry, Biology, Calculus & the Freshman writing course all in the same term. They are all weed out classes. The freshman writing course is so difficult that no kidding, Rhodes Scholars from Rutgers could not get an A in it. They offered no advice other than-you get less than a 3.5 & an MCAT less than a 30-forget about it. Someone I knew who was a former dean was telling me to forget anything the RU office had to say--he told me to take a class or 2 over the summer, to spread out the difficulty. He gave the better advice.

    While I was at Syracuse, the pre-med office seemed to treat you like someone they actually wanted to help & give the best chance to get into medschool & educate you. That university did not have a weed out mentality, and the pre-meds there were few & far between.
     
  14. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    We'll agree to disagree. I think a lack of social perspective is a bigger problem in medicine right now than a lack of scientific perspective.

    I know a lot more folks who've suffered bad medicine due to physicians who didn't know life than those who've suffered bad medicine due to their physicians not knowing science.
     
    #14 notdeadyet, Jan 8, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  15. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Ah. Can't relate to this, having been on med school in undergrad and doing a post-bac, which has obvious incentives to get folks into medical school. I've heard about the "weed out" mentality, which seems a pretty poor philosophy for education.
    I've heard this too of UCLA, UCSD and Cal. Not so much at UCSB and UCR and definitely not the case at UCSC.
     
  16. howelljolly

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    I started out as a pre-med Bio major in undergrad, and switched to Psych. When I was doing the Bio thing, we were told in no uncertain terms not to take Anatomy in undergrad if we were interested in med school. We were told that med schools look at undergrad anatomy and a mickeymouse class that inflates the GPA; a course that will muddle the thinking of the prospective med student; and possibly be seen as a feeble attempt at "look at me, ive always been interested in medicine"

    However, having majored in psych, I had an edge over my biochemistry trained counterparts, in Behavioral Science, Neurophysiology, Epidemiology and Biostats, and my psych core.... So, it kinda washed out in the end.
     
  17. surftheiop

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    This got kind of long, sorry for the rambling, but as a current student I think the weedout stuff is crazy and it sort of turns people into souless competitors.

    I go to Cornell and I definately notice the weed out mentallity and as a student its really frustrating, I was actually talking to my gen chem professor about it the other day. (I took his class a year ago, but me and a couple friends went to eat dinner with him). He said the department tells them what the grade break down needs to be in a class (for honors median is 3.3, for non-honors median is 2.9 or 3.0) and then they need to curve accordingly.

    He said he really didnt like it because it is essentially weeding out the bottom half of each chem class from med school. He feels that this is preventing a ton of great future doctors from ever getting the chance. He feels like anyone who gets accepted into Cornell is smart enough to be a doctor, but the way the grading works even if the entire class was composed of nobel lauretes half the class would still have to make lower than a B.

    For Example, I managed to make a B+ (the median) in his class which he thought was quite an accomplishment- considering of the 80 people in the class like 75 had made a 4 or 5 on AP chemistry test and the average SAT math score in the class would be ~750.

    But unfortunately a 3.3 just isnt "med school material" and there is a good chance im not going to be able to get into med school with my 3.4 or whatever and Im going to end up taking classes at a state school in my hometown. Just to prove I can make a 3.8 or whatever I would have made if I would have just gone to a state school like my friends. (Which I definately would have if I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but I thought I wanted to be an engineer so I went to the best engineering school I could and now it looks like i might be screwed by it).

    Anyhow just my rant about the weed-out mentallity (doesnt help that im an engineer so I hardly get to take any liberal arts classes to help the GPA- I can usually fit about 1 in a semester and the A's in them are helping to atleast keep my hopes alive.
     
  18. nancysinatra

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    I don't think MOM was talking about scientific data or "knowledge"--he was talking about having a theoretical perspective. Having a theoretical scientific perspective and a social perspective shouldn't be mutually exclusive. I'd say you can hardly have one without the other! At least not if they are going to be any good...
     
  19. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow
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    I'm not surprised with the response from above where the person does not feel that their school has a weed out mentality.

    I've noticed that big universities where the pre-med professors bring in a lot of money through research, have a large pre-med population and are state schools are where it tends to prevail a lot.

    There are exceptions, e.g. Cornell is not a state school.

    And I've noticed that schools that don't have a large pre-med population aren't on the weed out mentality.

    At Syracuse U, I only knew 2 other people that were pre-med. A class full of biology & other science majors and hardly any pre-meds? At Rutgers over 90% of the biology class were pre-meds.

    It all boils down to numbers. Most of the Rutgers students are going to want to go to UMDNJ which will only take about 150 students. How can Rutgers allow its undergraduate population of 24820 students, where a tremendous amount (I forgot the exact number but I believed it was over 50%) get into UMDNJ?

    Bottom line is they can't. They have to weed out students. Its done brutally. Students are failed out, not because they couldn't hack medschool, but because of poor teaching, tests that have material not covered in class or the textbook, and when students complain, the professors don't care. If you went to the department head & complained, he'd simply pull out a bell curve, say the system is fair because its going to be graded on a bell curve, case closed.

    As was mentioned above, if someone can simply get into Cornell, (all things being equal, don't figure in the nepotism & legacy students), I'm sure over 50% of those students could be capable medical students, but Cornell what I've heard from multiple sources is a weed out school.

    I mentioned this in a now dead thread, but I took Organic Chemistry over the summer with a guy from Princeton University (only 20 minutes from Rutgers), and he mentioned that this was the most difficult class he ever took, and he was very frustrated with the poor teaching that went with the class. The guy was much more brilliant than I could ever hope to be (got into Princeton at age 16, took the SAT in 8th grade & got over a 1400). The guy was working on a design for a contact lens that had a video screen on it that was powered by human body heat.

    I didn't even think pre-med at Rutgers prepared me for the MCAT. I didn't enjoy the material because the way it was taught, had to take the class with the mentality that I need to get a good grade, which hurt my learning, to do well several students had to use of cheap tricks such as simply going through old exams instead of studying the material. Reason why was because people who studied the material for real didn't do well in class.

    I took Biology at Syracuse before I transferred--loved the class, the information I retained, I had to put a lot less work into it, and felt SU prepared me far more than RU did for the MCAT. (I was though happier at RU social wise).

    You can get a 3.8 from a non-weed out school and in the eyes of an medschool admissions board you'll be way ahead of someone with a 2.9 GPA from weed out school, and truly be on the same level of intellect & preparedness for medschool.
     
    #19 whopper, Jan 10, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2009

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