transition to the lab

kapMD/PhD

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    Hey -
    I'm just beginning my research after 2 yrs of med school. It's been quite a change of pace. My classes haven't started yet, but I'm a little confused as to what is expected of Graduate students? I mean, in med school - we went to class (optional) and then studied our brains out the rest of the time? So... is this the case for grad school too? or is it more relaxed? I'm a little OCD and a 'workaholic' and i'm afraid of putting my whole life into this if this is not what is expected of me and what is not. My boss has been out of town and i'm just not sure if more is expected of us compared to the other grad students. any ideas??
     

    Hard24Get

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      kapMD/PhD said:
      Hey -
      I'm just beginning my research after 2 yrs of med school. It's been quite a change of pace. My classes haven't started yet, but I'm a little confused as to what is expected of Graduate students? I mean, in med school - we went to class (optional) and then studied our brains out the rest of the time? So... is this the case for grad school too? or is it more relaxed? I'm a little OCD and a 'workaholic' and i'm afraid of putting my whole life into this if this is not what is expected of me and what is not. My boss has been out of town and i'm just not sure if more is expected of us compared to the other grad students. any ideas??


      See this thread:
      http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=289324

      But basically, you get out of it what you put in (most of the time). If you work hard, you will do well and possibly even finish early! Personally, I have worked harder in grad school than I used to in med school, but I am also "OCD"... :rolleyes:
       

      passion4atcg

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        I think the big difference between med school and grad school is creating your own schedule. Med school is very structured.. go to class.. learn material.. test material. On the other hand, grad school involves you planning your own schedule. In research, lab work doesn't always work, so your schedule will be very different from that of med school. You might spend 2 weeks trying to do something that you thought would have taken you only 2 days. Also, you can work whatever hours you want usually (depends on lab) as long as you are getting things done. I don't think grad school is less intense, if just involves different skills than your first 2 yrs of med school.
         
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        gutonc

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          Choice is definitely the key in grad school vs. med school. I worked twice as much in grad school as I did in med school but because I was doing what I wanted to do and doing it in the hours I chose it felt like half as much work as med school did where I did what I was told, when I was told to do it, regardless of how interested I was in it.

          You definitely get out of grad school what you put into it but the almost complete lack of structure can take some getting used to. I started by just working (roughly) the same hours my MD-only friends were for about the first 4 months. I then decided that being in the lab at 6:30 was dumb but by that time I had a routine and, although the hours changed, the work ethic didn't.

          Good luck,

          BE (now PE)
           

          kapMD/PhD

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            Yea, I'm so used to getting here at 7:00 to prepare for the day for medical school or to study, I continue to get here then. (also b/c traffic and parking is MUCH better). But it's really odd to me that NO ONE else is here then, and there are about 2 people in the whole department here on weekends - I have no concept of this. Granted I'm probably a type A - workaholic of sorts; but I guess I expected the other folks to be just as 'hard core' about it. O-well, I'll continue to work hard and hopefully get more out of it. Thanks guys!
             

            gutonc

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              kapMD/PhD said:
              Yea, I'm so used to getting here at 7:00 to prepare for the day for medical school or to study, I continue to get here then. (also b/c traffic and parking is MUCH better). But it's really odd to me that NO ONE else is here then, and there are about 2 people in the whole department here on weekends - I have no concept of this. Granted I'm probably a type A - workaholic of sorts; but I guess I expected the other folks to be just as 'hard core' about it. O-well, I'll continue to work hard and hopefully get more out of it. Thanks guys!

              I was always surprised to be the only one in the department after 6p and on Saturdays. My PI was an early riser though so she was always there around 7:30a.

              BE (now PE)
               

              Vader

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                I personally found the transition from med to graduate school pretty relaxing.

                Just wait till you try to adapt to med school at the end of grad school--that is a stressful transition!

                You might consider (if you haven't already) doing a preceptorship during grad school. I didn't and now wish I had because it would have helped keep some of the clinical material and skills fresh and plus you may find it an enjoyable diversion to help in patient care, especially when you are stuck in a rut in the lab. As an added bonus, in my program, you can actually get 4 extra weeks of vacation during 4th year of med school.

                Good luck and enjoy this period in your training!
                 

                Gfunk6

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                  kapMD/PhD said:
                  Yea, I'm so used to getting here at 7:00 to prepare for the day for medical school or to study, I continue to get here then. (also b/c traffic and parking is MUCH better). But it's really odd to me that NO ONE else is here then, and there are about 2 people in the whole department here on weekends - I have no concept of this. Granted I'm probably a type A - workaholic of sorts; but I guess I expected the other folks to be just as 'hard core' about it. O-well, I'll continue to work hard and hopefully get more out of it. Thanks guys!

                  Do keep in mind that your grades in graduate school are largely irrelevant. Generally you have to score a "B" or higher before you are placed on academic probation or have to repeat a course. When I was in graduate school there was a tremendous difference in terms of studying and work between students who scored an "A" and a "B."

                  If you have good, first-author publications then nobody will give a crap that you got straight passing grades in all your graduate coursework.

                  With that said, if you want to work hard then lab is the best place to put your energy. You are somewhat different than straight grad students in that you have to re-enter the medical school clinical curriculum when you are done. So you have a sense of urgency that they do not. Keep in mind that if you don't take Steps I, II, and III within 7-10 years you may have some serious problems with the medical licensing authorities in your state.

                  On a final note, one of the hardest things I learned during my MSTP was this:

                  1. In med school, tons of studying/hard work = good grades
                  2. In grad school, tons of studying/hard work = no guarantee of success

                  There is nothing more frustrating then busting your hump for days only to be rewarded with an utterly failed experiment. Persistence, careful planning, and intelligent experiment design will be your three biggest friends for the next 3+ years. Good luck!
                   
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