April 27, 2017

Got the green light to write! (And a little about the graduation process)

Filed under: "Me" updates,Grad school,Research — sanguinemare @ 1:08 am
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Today, I had my (hopefully) last committee meeting before my thesis defense.  Basically, I presented the data I had thus far and asked whether they thought I had done enough work to graduate in the summer.  They said yes, praise God!  So I will be defending my thesis in early June, in time for starting medical school on schedule at the end of June (well, actually I found out that the rest of the class actually starts next week, oddly enough, on block “6A”, whereas the end of June one is called “1A”, but anyway…). The timing only gives me a week or two at home before starting back again, but at least there’s a little break, and it gives me an extra two weeks or so to write than I would have had if we’d done it at the end of May (my PI is out of town until early June, so that was the earliest that was feasible).

I’m not sure if it’s the same at all schools, just to walk you through the graduation process a bit, here’s our rough graduation process.  After the committee agrees you can graduate soon, we have to turn in an “application for degree form”, after which the graduate school will give us an approval form that we need to fill out and return to them 2 weeks before our defense at the latest.  This form will be the official confirmation to the school that we are defending, and they apparently put it on a school-wide calendar.  We also have to turn in our entire written dissertation (usually ~100 pages long) to our committee 2 weeks before the defense date so they can read over all the materials in preparation for the defense.  Then, we have our public, oral defense, where we present our work over the last few years to the public, and then we have a private defense after, where the committee decides whether the student has enough proficiency in their area to be awarded a PhD.  If this thesis defense is passed, we then make the final edits to the dissertation and need to submit the written thesis to the graduate school, where I think it gets bound and also put online.

In my program, the thesis itself can be either in the traditional format (an introduction, a body which has multiple chapters describing work done, and a conclusion), or a “3-paper model”, where essentially 3 individual papers are written up, which become chapters in the dissertation, and they are sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion.  That’s the route I’m going, because it seems the simplest way, especially since I’ve gotten one paper published already.

Ok, time to head to bed – tomorrow’s the all-day orientation for MS-3 year (pretty crazy to think that it’s finally happening!) so better get some rest before that.

Until next time!

August 21, 2011

The difference between grad school and med school…

Filed under: Med School and the MSTP — sanguinemare @ 12:00 am
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is that most grad students take notes using pen(cil) and paper, whereas almost all med students use their laptops.  It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon – I wonder if that’s the case in other institutions as well, or just ours. As a pencil and paper note-taker myself, I was rather glad to see all the notebooks out on the desks of the grad school classroom.  Although some of the lecturers in the med school talk so quickly that as much as my traditional self has actively resisted getting an iPad, I may actually have to get one just to keep up.

So we (finally) started our grad school courses this week along with our “real” med school classes (“real” med school started Monday, grad school on Tuesday).  Since our class contents and schedules overlap, we were given a modified med school schedule last Friday, which shows which classes we are expected to know and which we don’t have to go to.  So every day right now, we have grad classes 8-10am every day instead of med school, then med school from 10-12pm, and often 1-3pm at least.  Since the grad school classes are pretty far away, we are usually late to the med school 10:10am class.  Technically, we didn’t need to go to med school on Tuesday and Wednesday, but all of us went Tuesday anyway, and half of us went yesterday.  In so doing, I have definitely noticed some differences between the schools (besides just the note-taking).

First off, the graduate school focuses more on how what we learn can be applied in the lab, and what lab techniques we can use to find out more about it, whereas the med school goes more in depth about each topic and throws a lot more information at the students.  Also, probably due to the fact that the med students had a chance to get to know each other in the more relaxed/less-competitive environment of our first module, the med students interact more with each other than the grad students, although that’s getting slightly better now in the grad school.  I know all of us MSTP’s still pretty much stick together (all in the last 2 rows of the class) – we haven’t met enough people to branch out yet.

Also, the number of students in the grad school is significantly smaller – I would estimate that we have about 30-40 people, compared to almost 200 in the med school.  So the classroom is a lot smaller, and we are much closer to the professor.  Speaking of which, we have pretty awesome professors in the graduate school.  The latest one actually flew on a space shuttle mission for science!  That was pretty trippy.  And my lab professor from this summer also taught a couple of classes, so that was neat.  So far, the grad school professors have been much more engaging/organized than the med school ones, but that may just be happenstance, based on the professors’ personalities rather than due to what school they are teaching in.

The grad school also seems to emphasize more that you cannot know anything for sure, whereas the med school seems to give you information as facts (that you are expected to memorize and know).

People have also been studying really really hard for this first med school exam coming up on Monday.   Luckily, we MSTP’s don’t have to take it, but several of us (including me, most likely), will be taking a modified version just for fun/to help gauge what tests are going to be like in the medical school.  But it’s just been crazy how much people have been studying for this.  I don’t know how hard the grad students are studying for their test the following Monday, but I don’t think it’s nearly as much.  Some people in the med school have been studying 3-5 hours every day after school, and since they woke up this morning until now.  The test is only going to have ~20 questions or less! And it’s only worth 5% of our grade!  Craziness.  As for me, today was really the first day I was able to review any material, because after I saw my family off after brunch today, so I finally had time to myself.  Not that I don’t like spending family time, but I’m pretty much a week behind already, and from all accounts, that is a big no-no.  It’s sad that it’s come to this point, but that’s the reality in med school apparently.  (And that’s why there’s the perception that med students don’t have a life hah). Ah wells.  I wasn’t as productive as I’d have liked, but hopefully I’ll have time to catch up next week…

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