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Sco

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by SCO 3rd year, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. SCO 3rd year

    SCO 3rd year Junior Member

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    Here is some info about Southern College of Optometry at futureoptometrist.com for those of you considering the school.

    anSCOstudent
    SCO Posted 12-5-2003 18:45

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    After hearing about this forum I just had to come read what was said about SCO. To address the attrition rate here are the facts:
    1. Before fall 2001 it had been about 2 1/2 years since a student had been dismissed for academics (I heard he had a drinking problem and failed out twice). In the fall quarter of 01' - 5 second year students were dismissed. It just so happens that there was a brand new professor that quarter for pharmacology. His credentials are B.S., M.S., PhD. (from oxford), M.D., O.D. Another student referred to him in an earlier forum when they said some professors here don't expect you to do anything except study here. He has told students here that during optometry school he slept 4 hours a night and basically studied the rest of the time. He also said he felt guilty about going on walks with his fianc? on Sundays for a half an hour. He has bragged about failing students because he is proud of the profession and doesn't think everyone is qualified to graduate. He has even bragged about stuff like having a goal to fail a certain number of people in the Neuro Eye class etc. He is responsible for most of people failing recently. The number of other students (not counting his first quarter) failing out because of him (that I know of) are 1 in winter 01-02', 1 in spring 02 and 7-8 3rd years (only 3 were kicked out) in spring 03'in Neuro Eye. The 4-5 others had to remediate and postpone going on externs because of this. They will go on an extern in the summer after the rest of their class has graduated. I think it is really unethical what has happened. In the past I heard that the administration would tell professors "you can't fail too many students or you're out of here".

    The problem I have with all this is that when I interviewed they told me only a couple (2 or so) per class don't graduate and it's usually because their spouse gets a job elsewhere etc. The ambassadors tell you SCO is here to help you get through school, we are not here to weed you out. By the way, I heard from several sources that the school found out about this forum and told some amassers to post positive comments etc. here. In response to the ambassador who posted that those that write negative comments don't include their name the reason is probably that we don't want to get on the axis of evil's / administration's bad side because the committee's decision on who fails/fails out can be somewhat ambiguous. There have been a lot of bright students who have been kicked out and the whole morale at the school has suffered. Some of these students go back a year (or 2) to remediate, and others transfer to Nova etc., others change professions so it is a shame. I think the morale is gradually getting better and that the attrition rate here will decline somewhat as the administration continues to realize they are loosing money from tuition and the school reputation of attrition gets out there. The administration seems like they are too concerned with the schools reputation academic reputation/board scores etc., and too little concerned with students opinion here. The administration here seems stubborn and they are slow to make some needed changes the student want. Seniority seems to mean a lot in decision making. We are forced to buy all the required text books. Personally I wouldn't buy half of those books - some are still in the wrappers and they won't let me take them back for a refund. I doubt any student ambassador will be able to argue with anything that I have said because it's all fact. There are rumors you hear all the time here about grades/administration/who the instructors will be etc. I tried to stick with the facts.

    On a positive note. I think the clinic experience is great here. I think you get a good education here too. Overall I would say SCO is at least one of the top 5 optometry schools. Most of the faculty is great. Mainly just a few that have attitudes (who do things like don't post your final grades until friday when the scantron report was done on monday - sometimes they don't post the final grades at all). There are 3 or so particular faculty members who many call the axis of evil. I like the weather here, the city of Memphis itself is pretty rundown but there are nice suburbs about 20 min. drive away.

    My advice if you interview here is to randomly ask a couple student how they like it here etc. That isn't hard to do and you could learn a lot about SCO. You can reply to this topic and I will give you my opinion as I check back periodically.

    rebeldoc81
    That's what I hear.... Posted 12-5-2003 22:18

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    Thanks for the post. I recently was admitted to SCO and UAB. I got the contract position for both, so I am headed to Birmingham. Mainly because of the stories like that I have heard coming from Memphis. As an SCO student, do you know what people say about UAB. I talked to many students who have nothing but positive comments. Thanks!

    scostudent
    SCO Posted 12-8-2003 07:57

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    Hey anSCOstudent, that took a lot of balls to talk about the axis of evil :p

    Here are some thoughts and opinions I would like to add:
    1. I believe SCO is challenging, but I'm surviving. The guy with the B.S., M.S., PhD., M.D., O.D. has relaxed a lot, and he's giving students a fair chance to do well in his class.

    I remember last year when he said half the students would fail his neuro exam. This year, he said he has never given so many A's in his pharm class. So don't be discouraged by him.

    I think it has to do a lot with money. SCO has never lost so many students, and they need the tuition money to support the school. He is a good teacher, and expects a lot out of us so we can do well on boards. However, money talks and that will keep him in check.

    2. Overall, the staff is supportive and prepared. When I take boards, I'm very confident that I will pass. Actually, our passage rate for part 1 is 85-95% overall year after year. Compare that to the national average which is about 67.69% this year - that's pretty sad.
    http://www.optometry.org/general/stats/BS0803stats.pdf

    Just goes to show, you may have a great experience at one school, but it won't mean jack if you can't pass the boards!

    3. I do hate the fact we have to buy every book from the bookstore. We don't even get the opportunity to sell it back or buy used books.

    4. Like any big city, there's the ghetto and there is the suburb. If you are not used to dorm style living, I would stay on Mud Island.
    Mud Island is a little pricey because the apartments are new and it is right by the river (beautiful drive to and from school). Plus, it's only 10 minutes from the school. The two apartments I consider ghetto are the Cabanas and Edgewater.

    5. I like the fact we get 2 summers off. Actually, the summer after first year is a true vacation. The summer off after second year, we study for boards.

    6. I'm not an ambassador and I think it's pretty lame that the administration is telling them to post messages in this forum to make SCO look better. That's how I found out about this place. One of the ambassadors told me about it.

    7. I decided to go to SCO because I wanted to be an excellent clinician.

    SCO starts you early with practicals in the first year and school screenings, video taping, observations, and more practicals in the second year. Plus, Memphis is a place where you will see tons of pathology. I guess people are willing to wait until their eyeballs are dangling from their cheeks :p

    There are other schools that have distinguished themselves by how many research dollars they get and I wasn't into that. So far, I'm satisfied with my decision.


    [ This message was edited by: scostudent on: 12-8-2003 07:48 ]

    sgordon
    Okay, enough about the ambassadors... Posted 12-10-2003 18:35

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  3. SCO 3rd year

    SCO 3rd year Junior Member

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    To get it out of the way: my name is Scott Gordon (3rd year student) and my email is: [email protected]

    I find it frustrating to be defending myself on this discussion group. Yes, I am an ambassador at SCO but at the same time I also belong to the student body as well. Being a third-year student, I feel that I have been through most of the experiences that you go through here at SCO. The experiences that I haven't gone through, I delt with indirectly when my girlfriend (graduated last year) went through them. Yes, it is hard to go through professional school. You choose to enter health care when you accept your seat at a selected school. There are certain responsibilities that you must live with. Being ethical is one of them.

    That brings me to my point. Just because I am an ambassador for the school, doesn't give me the right to overide my personal ethics and flat-out lie or be flowery with my language. What makes my fellow ambassadors and myself different is the fact that we are positive people and roll with the punches as they are thrown. We are not "told" what to do on our tours or during our activities. We are given basic outlines and we adapt our own personality to them. Sue me because I am a positive person. Being negative tends to spill over into your exam room or your classes. That is what gets you on the so-called "bad side" of faculty, staff, and administrators. I will admit that some things that have happened academically could have been avoided, but I do not blame the school. If you are in trouble academically, you know it. Even if you haven't already figured out where you are in the class, you will get periodic notes from professors telling you that you are in trouble. I have had good friends dismissed from my class b/c of academics, but all of them knew they were in trouble. No one will say that any optometry school is easy. If school were easy, it would not be worth doing in my opinion.

    As far as ambassadors telling people that SCO will help you if you are in trouble, I will definately agree with that! I am also a tutor for a number of classes and have heard the comments said by people that are having difficulty. They got a hold of academic affairs and they got a hold of me. I help them out as much as I can and hopefully they get the help that they need PERIOD. The people that have been dismissed will all say that they could have tried harder. The trick is to find the motivation. I help out by providing positivity whenever I can. The person going by "anSCOstudent" should take notes.

    The argument: when they interviewed only one person was dismissed in the past so many years doesn't have much validity any more. My girlfriend directly experienced these "golden days" of academics. The classes that she had were the same that we have now with one exception, different professors. Yes, there is a new professor teaching pharm and neuro ect. but we are getting a great education. When my girlfriend went through pharm, she had interim professors coming in from the nearby pharmacy school to teach. She did get a good education, but not as good as mine. She will be the first to admit that!

    I am very proud of my third-year collegues' clinical skills as well. On numerous occasions, our professors have complemented us on our level of skill at this portion of our education. Call me crazy, but I will defend SCO with my last breath (ambassador or not). I have enjoyed my time here and I can't imagine my life without SCO or optometry.

    As far as the ambassadors being told to post messages on this site, that is hogwash. Yes, we were told about the negativity that was on this site but only because another student saw the messages. If I were not an ambassador, I would have posted the same messages that I have. I don't care for negativity of the caliber that is being displayed toward SCO here. Yes, we are not in Kansas anymore. We are in professional school, thus we must exhibit ourselves professionally. I have spoken with students from all over the country and they have had many negative things happen as well. I guess you will always have negativity and positivity opposing each other to create a happy medium. I don't know about you, but I prefer the plus side. It makes my life enjoyable and tends to have a way of rubbing off (the same goes for negativity). So, in closing, take the comments that you hear with a grain of salt. You just never know who is on the other end of the web. DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS! Don't take the word of "anSCOstudent" or me for that matter. Do your homework and try to draw from the positive rather than the negative in anything that you do!

    Sincerely,

    Scott D. Gordon, third-year SCO student

    jbrooks
    SCO Posted 12-12-2003 17:36

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    Here are my views on negatives and positives of SCO.
    In response to whoever it was who said that those who post negative responses don't identify themselves. My name is Jordan Brooks (SCO 3yd year), email: [email protected] and here are few negative points about SCO: First if you are ever at SCO go to the library and behind the reference desk ask to see the scope 2003 yearbook. On page 35 there is a top 10 list for
    the 2005 class. #8 Failure, when your best just isn't good enough - this is self explanatory. And unlike the people Scott Gordon talked to who were
    dismissed, I honestly tried my best/was motivated in Pharmacology Fall 2001, but I failed - and had to reapply and I was readmitted. #1: it's on the
    F-Drive (see page 68 too)- relates to the time Dr. Ghazi-Birry put a test on the drive that is student accessible, and accused us of cheating when some
    students found it. #9: There are no trick questions - I believe this is referring to Dr. Ghazi-Birry-it seemed when he said this or this test is going to be easy...it was actually really hard, and if he said a test would be hard it was easier).

    SGordon, I think anSCOstudent made some really good points. AnSCOstudent made some positive points too - you act like AnSCOstudent is a negative person. I "prefer the plus side" as well. And just because some of us mention some facts and our opinions (both positive and negative) doesn't mean your Obi-won and we're Darth Vader. Because of Pharm, I had to postpone graduation by a year, so my comments are not going to be 100% positive. When I interviewed here they told me that SCO wasn't a weed-out school. What are the statistical chances: if 1student had been dismissed for academics in 2.5 years and then in 1 quarter: 5 dismissed. Let me know when you figure that out. Then look at that figure and ask yourself again if you still "do not blame the school". I don't think it's just by chance that there are 5 slacker students one quarter but not in other quarters. It
    seems like there is a bit of weeding out going on. I do think that has "validity". I also heard the interim pharm year was bad, but that was only
    one year, what about before that year? The second time I took Pharm part one (Fall 02') I got a B in the class (and I got a 92% on the final test).
    I got a B for Pharm part 2. The reason I am telling you my grades is because on the boards my Pharm scores were not extra-ordinary. I studied a lot for boards. I didn't want to take any chances; I got about 77% of the questions correct. In the Human Biology section (Area 1) I got 81% correct, in Pharm (Area 1-H) I got 79% so I think our Pharm education was good but I
    wouldn't go as far to say we are getting the best Pharm education of Optometry schools in the Nation (as Ghazi-Birry has said). I do think he is great instructor; he is very interesting/knowledgeable. I don't like his goals of failing X number of students though. It makes me wonder, which is more important to the administration: retaining students, or having an M.D. on faculty. Our school doesn't even have student evaluations (the focus groups are not the same thing). I think I learn just as well under a
    professor like Dr. Newman etc. - who you can tell - wants us ALL to succeed (and I enjoy it more). Take Dr. Connor for example his Ocular Pharm class was arguably an easy A (he taught us what we needed to know for boards) - and I got 15/16 right on that section of the boards. One thing that impressed me with Dr. Connor is that he said something like "I would really like to see you all get A's on my final" -That is someone who wants you to succeed. THAT IS POSITIVITY. I can think of quite a few professors like
    this at SCO.

    I know there are difficult professors wherever you go. I experienced some in undergrad but never to the Ghazi-Birry degree. It seems he is getting easier. Often a professor is toughest the 1st year and then lightens up.

    I agree with a lot of what you said SGordon-our clinical skills are good as 3rd years, I don't think optometry school should be easy. SCO is a great
    school overall. My clinical experience is great so far. With a few exceptions I have been pleased with the instructors here.

    When applying to schools and trying to make a decision - pre-optometry students should look into finding some positive and negative points about each school. If you are hearing all positive or all negative points from someone I would be a bit skeptical (every school has pros and cons - so I am pointing out my opinion about both the pros and cons of SCO).

    sanders7
    UAB vs SCO Posted 12-17-2003 16:44
     
  4. SCO 3rd year

    SCO 3rd year Junior Member

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    this is just a quick reply about the UAB vs SCO comments. i am fairly sure my assumption that you all are tired of reading about people failing out at SCO, professors, memphis, etc., etc. i am currently a 3rd year student(and ambassador) at SCO, and i have enjoyed my time here. the key to enjoying school(being any professional school) is VERY simple(and cliche). it is all about your attitude. school is hard. school is tiring. school demands more than has been asked of most(ever), and school does not slack off. it's a gradient of academics and clinical education, graduating from pharm quizes to handling noncompliant patients in pediatrics(as well as primary care or pretty much everywhere). somedays are quick. somedays you're seeing patients(along with going to class) until 630pm(or often later like last night for me). it is all about what you are going to make of it. got my point? if you try/study/practice, you pass and excel. it applies to everything. the more you put in, the more you get out. nuff' said.

    so, now i would like to address my "topic" vaguely concerning choosing a school, though titled specifically as UAB vs SCO. find your niche. i, as an ambassador and as a 3rd student would like to see bright students entering into my school, but even more so into my chosen(and soon enough earned)profession. is UAB(or any other school) a quality optometry school? in it's on right, and for certain people. i applied at UAB and SCO. i found that the people(students and the administration) at SCO were more amiable and interested in it being a two sided relationship versus a three O.D interview all about what kind of awards i had won. i am not a resume driven person. i was more impressed with people sharing themselves and what they, and the school, are about versus if i am "good" enough to be a student there. i, truly, could care less if all of you come to SCO, but if you do i won't hesitate to talk to you at the Flying Saucer(a bar) over a beer, help you out with pharmacology(or neuro), or help you get around the Eye Center(3 stories creates confusion for rookies and applicants). make your decision for yourself. what's good for one person is not necessarily good for you.

    one last note. STATISTICS MATTER! our passage rate for NBEO(boards) is high because SCO is academically and clinically challenging. it is the administrations job to worry about this. if you can't get your license, how are you going to practice, and what was the point of all that time/effort and loan money?

    i'm done.
    scott sanders
    [email protected]


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    Goodness, guys! Why are you being so critical of SCO ambassadors? Here's one for you to figure out...I am going to defend them, and I have absolutely NO TIES to SCO. If you are someone who is considering optometry, I say "take these people's negative comments/personal attacks with a grain of salt." You must decide for yourself where you want to go, and you must know from statistics that whenever you post a random message, if you are only talking to ONE or TWO of the million gazillion graduates and current students of a school, it is not a good representation of the total population....the sample size is too small. So my recommendation is: go to the schools...give them all a chance...see for yourself! Until you set foot in the optometry school, you won't know if the school is for you. What I recommmend is go to the school a little earlier or stay later after your interview, and catch the students on their lunch break. Talk to anybody and everybody. You will learn soooo much more there than on this forum. (Though the forum is helpful!) SCO is awesome. The atmosphere is the best of all the optometry schools to which I applied. You are NOT A NUMBER THERE! The community ties seemed to be very strong. The only reason why I didn't pick SCO over my other schools at which I was accepted(I chose UAB) was that they don't have opportunities to perform research. But if you aren't into research, I say...consider SCO! And for those of you who posted negative comments about the ambassadors, why??? don't you think that we are past kindergarten stage by now? Being abducted by the "green eyed monster" is not very attractive!

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    SCO has its advantages and disadvantages like any school. Academically it is probably one of the toughest optometry schools. I feel that I have not gotten the special attention that I need. The classes are too fast paced for me. And there needs to be more special attention given to slow learners.

    tcoccia2004


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    Isn't about time we grow up here? Optometry school is difficult, I think we can all agree on that one. Would we really want to attend a school that was easy? After all, after only 4 years of education we will be responsible for caring for the health and vision of every patient that walks through the door. That's a tremendous responsibility and is the reason why optometry school is a challenge. Hopefully this is true for every school in the country. If it's not, I would question attending that school.

    As far as my experience at SCO, I agree there are advantages and disadvantages. I agree there have been a few incidents that could have been handled in a different manner. Despite that, I can't imagine being any happier with my education to this point. I feel SCO is a wonderful school with wonderful people. I have found the faculty and staff to be extremely helpful anytime I have asked for help of any sort. Those individuals who state the resources weren't there must not have tried very hard. I strongly believe any student accepted into optometry school is capable of making the grade in every course with some effort. You just have to set your priorities and understand what you need to do to get the job done.

    I would encourage anyone who is applying to optometry school to consider SCO. You will receive an excellent education and clinical experience. If you question this, just look at our national board pass rates and visit The Eye Center. I don't know how you could turn it down. Like many others have suggested, I would advise you to visit the 4th floor during lunch and talk to the students. Most students would be glad to talk and share their experience with you.

    One last thing, no school is perfect. Every school has a few professors that aren't as popular as the others. If someone tells you otherwise, I would question their honesty.

    I hope this helps those who are considering attending SCO. Don't let a few unhappy individuals discourage you. Most of us are pleased with our education, this is not to say it's been easy and we aren't tired of studying like everyone else, but you have to understand that you only get as much out of something as you put in.

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    I only recently found out about this website and have read the comments about SCO. I wouldn't have replied to this if Scott Gordon hadn't made the comment that the students dismissed from SCO didn't try hard enough. Did you even talk to those students, or did you just make that up? Several of them were my friends, and they NEVER said that to me. Either way, that comment should have been kept to yourself. I am your run-of-the-mill average student who spends most of my time studying yet still can't quite make the grade. Not everyone who works hard will get good grades, and to make that assumption shows an unneccessary arrogance.

    And to address other points, I think the overall face of SCO has changed too drastically in the last few years, and I do credit a lot of those changes to our MD/PhD/OD professor. The courses he teaches are hard enough by themselves, but he adds a new level of difficulty. He does have a less than professional demeanor at times, too, which doesn't help the point, for example, calling students incompetant in clinic. He was the cause for a very low point of morale in the Class of 2005 last year when he accused the class of stealing one of his tests, when he had accidentally posted the test on a student sharefolder. The class was accused of being thieves by the Vice President of Academic Affairs and by the professor of the class, and when the truth came out, no apology was given. Thankfully that incident has died down in the last year, but it has not been forgotten.

    Having said this, I'm sure each school has its problems. But this school has made me rethink my decision to become an optometrist several times. I try to remind myself that school is just a few years of a long and hopefully satisfying career. I encourage all applicants to explore several schools and to explore the practice of optometry as much as you can before applying to school. Make sure this is what you want to do because it's a huge committment.



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    Right on "concerned student" I could not have said it better myself. You could not be more right.
     
  5. boston bound

    boston bound Junior Member
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    I think it is hilarious how at first you deny being an ambassador for SCO then in the next reply you state "I am an abassador" It makes one question whether your school made you at first write a rebutal for everyone too see. It seems you are a perfect spokesperson for the school, or ideal student for the school to use in its advertisement. Eventhough it has kicked individuals out in the past based on facts I have heard from individuals who have attended the school. I believe it would have been just as efficient to ignore the comments stated on this web site, obviously there must be some sort of truth to what was said because you wrote a novel triing to defend SCO. It should only matter what you think of the program and no one else. Unless you are getting a kickback from the amount of people who apply to the program. There will always be people out there who will be negative or outspoken, the best way to deal with them is to ignore them. What you wrote sounds like the Bush administration's explanation of where the WMD'S are in Iraq?
     
  6. SCO 3rd year

    SCO 3rd year Junior Member

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    Boston Bound: I am not am ambassador for SCO - I wouldn't be one if they asked me to. I only wrote the first line or two on the post - the rest I cut and pasted from the web site I listed. If you read it closely you will see that the usernames (multiple) are listed and mine "SCO 3rd year" isn't one of them. Sorry if it was confusing, due to the way I cut and pasted everything - I had to post 3 times because there was a 10,000 word limit.

    SCO 3rd year
     
  7. braxton

    2+ Year Member

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    I would like to know how the current situation and the professor is at Southern College of Optometry.

    Thanks
     
  8. sco1styear

    5+ Year Member

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    I am in my third year at SCO. I started to read everything above but didn't get through it all so if you have a more specific question that I don't address please feel free to ask. I will start by saying that SCO still has the "axis of evil" but as stated above, they do seem to have lightened up...well, sometimes. The one specific professor talked about is still tough and it is his classes you worry about failing out of. Unfortunately it does happen and as a class we have gotten very upset and I have heard ambassadors joke about telling their tours to run for the hills. But, I assume every school has their problems and I feel SCO has provided a fairly good education and clinic experience. I enjoy living in Memphis and I feel the demographics enhance our clinical experience greatly. And, the professor that we all have despised so much at one time or another taught a summer class (voluntarily) to help prepare us for boards (98% passage woo hoo). So, I guess you have your good and your bad.
     
  9. diams

    2+ Year Member

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    Hi there,
    I just had a quick question to ask you regarding the top 5 optometry schools ..could you please tell me wgat are the top 5 and also if you could give the address for the website where i can check which school stands where in terms of the national boards stats.I am very confused regarding choosing which opt school i should go.Please help.
     
  10. sco1styear

    5+ Year Member

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    Here's a link to a thread about board scores.
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=273822

    There's not an official list of what schools are top and what aren't, it varies by what you are looking for (clinical vs research) and is mostly based on opinions. If you can, visit schools you might be interested in (I visited schools the year before I applied) and that can sometimes give you all the info you need to see if a school fits you.
     
  11. bournehall

    2+ Year Member

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    Sounds like this guy needs to freakin grow up and enter the real world instead of one degree after another.

     
  12. gioiarioia

    gioiarioia SCO Class of 2010
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    I recently had my first class with above said professor. I felt his class was very challenging, but fair. It did require a great amount of study, but it was a great amount of material.

    Remember you are in school to study and to learn... It is supposed to be challenging.
     
  13. sniklegem

    sniklegem My pupils: o O
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    Agreed with gioiarioia.

    To quote my favorite movie:
    "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."

    He's also a pretty nice guy outside of class *shock*, and he enjoys challenging us because he only wants us to become better students to eventually become better doctors.
     
  14. blazenmadison

    10+ Year Member

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    Agreed.
     
  15. Calvin

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  16. Zhenkar

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