Get Ready; Set; Dissertate!

1:21 AM

Author | Dan Ursu

What a hectic past couple of weeks. April-May: Boards, boards and more boards; May; say goodbye to class of 2012 and preliminary hello to class of 2015 (I hope). And now, off to a completely new campus, with new classmates, new professors, a new way of thinking. Go North (Engineering Campus), Young Man!

That pretty much sums up things since my last post. All of a sudden in late March, I gave my last computer based medical school exam at the Learning Resource Center. As always for me, I submitted my test sometime after 11:30 pm on Sunday... Then it was off to study for boards. I saw only three of my friends during the course of that time. After having gone through a freakout and postponed the test, we all went our separate ways. And I feel like I didn't even get to say goodbye! Board study days were eternal, but looking back it all went by in a flash. And before I knew it, my class moved on to their third year of school, the start of clinical clerkships, and me; well I went off in a completely different direction.

Get Ready

The end of second year marks the MD/PhD student's transition from medical school and lecture halls to something completely different. Some go off to molecular biology wet labs, others go to do theoretical work in neuroscience, biochemistry, even biophysics. And then there's me, off to start my mechanical engineering PhD. Although I had worked in the department before, and knew the advisors under whom I would be spending the next four odd years of my life, the transition, however premeditated, left me utterly disoriented. All of a sudden the schedule and expectations changed. There are journal clubs and seminars to attend; weekly progress reports and milestones in a proposed research project to complete. ... assuming that first, one actually has a viable research project in mind, which I want to say I do, but really that's just wishful thinking. This is a jumble of loose ends jotted down, I know, but really, this is how I feel. I haven't gotten my bearings yet. I see ex classmates, friends at the gym or around town, and it is so strange not to be having the same experiences they are. I don't necessarily wish I was back with them per se, after all this is what I signed up to do, but I feel like I left my class without closure. Like all of a sudden I am not a medstudent anymore but a grad student in engineering. Really? It's over? Just like that?

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