19 January 2008


So I broke down and got an iPhone. Yes, it's kickass. No, EDGE doesn't seem that slow. Certainly more than enough for reading email / RSS feeds.

I kept telling my students (at The Princeton Review) about how I'd become a paranoid neurotic if someone gave me handheld email, so the next few weeks will be crucial in this aspect.

Teaching is a very interesting thing. G-Chem classes have just started up, and as usual, my students are terrified. Terrified of the MCAT, terrified of the demanding TPR schedules, homework, etc. I guess all I can say at this point is that, for all the materials, very few brain power is actually required. One guy even asked me to say something comforting. Well, the MCAT is only one day. And do all your homework.

To be honest, I was pretty happy until I got a particular email. See, I've been applying to MD/PhD programs all over the country, and I got invited to Baylor's Candidate Review. This should be a great exciting moment, but now I wonder if Baylor has the programs and facilities that meet my needs.

A lot of MD/PhD's get a PhD in basic sciences, i.e. cell biology, or something involving mouse genomics. That stuff is interesting (like siRNA, knockout genes, etc), but I don't feel it's as clinical as a PhD I'm seeking. Above all, I don't want to start something that I regret. I've been telling all my interviewers that any PhD I seek would be as close to the bedside as possible. I also want to apply my physics somewhat.

So where's the stress? If BCM didn't have the right program for me, I'd be fine doing the MD alone with a few summers/semesters of research. The stress comes from uncertainty in knowing what's right.

I suppose this is what they mean by "An opportunity to help you experience the school and decide what's right". That really should be an important thing to all applicants, even though most are concerned with admission. Trust me, the admissions offer glee only lasts a few weeks if you can't see yourself there.

For example, I had an offer to A&M MD/PhD on Oct. 15. I was happy, but then when I really examined what A&M had to offer, I'm not sure I wanted to go there. Their research is excellent, but one thing that really bugged me is that the teaching hospital was 90 minutes away! It didn't occur to me how ridiculous this was until I visited other schools like UTSW, Vandy, Baylor, and realized their teaching hospitals were connected to the medical schools. It makes sense - better patient connections, more mingling between hospitals and teaching institutions, and overall more exposure to medicine. It would be best for A&M, I think, to move their medical school to Temple.

Anyway. I'll be doing my share of convincing, but more importantly, Baylor will have to convince me that the MSTP option is the right path for me. (The 8-9 year average is also kind of scary.)

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