Anyone taking a full load???

Hi! Starting Septempter, I’m taking O-Chem 1, Phys 1, Calculus 1, and Bio 1. I don’t have a choice. My post-bac program requires that I take a full science load. I feel that I should be able to handle it because I don’t have a family to take care of like many of you. However, I have been offered a research assistantship that would cover my tuition plus some pocket money. It is only 10 hours per week and I can work around my schedule including weekends. I have managed to shorten my commute from 1 hour to 1/2 hour instead. I was wondering if anyone is going to be or has been in my situation. Any advice on staying in control and keeping my sanity?


Hi! Starting Septempter, I’m taking O-Chem 1, Phys 1, Calculus 1, and Bio 1. I don’t have a choice. My post-bac program requires that I take a full science load.

They require it? I guess they don’t like people with jobs or families. Then again, that assistantship sounds like a good deal.
I’m planning to take ochem, phys, and bio in the fall here in Boston, which I’m told can be done if one has a free schedule. I figure I can squeeze in one afternoon a week at the hospital.
Then again, as many wise folk on this forum have said, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, so if you can afford to stretch it out a little it may be worth it.
Good luck!

I did the full load thing last year - GCHEM 1/2, OCHEM 1/2, PHYS 1/2, and BIO 1/2 (wheew - looking at that now it seems like so much!)
I was able to take GCHEM and OCHEM at the same time b/c I was retaking GCHEM.
It was tough, but I think do-able if you don’t have any other committments. And I was doing MCAT studying and volunteering as well, so i think the Assistanceship thing should work out (esp if it gives you full tuition)
One drawback: Unless you are super-person, you probably won’t have much of a life this year. I didn’t have family committments either, but I’m just now beginning to enjoy Chicago because all last year I had my nose in books. But, in a way that made it easier for me. I have always had ‘difficult’ jobs - I just thought of this as my full time job.
Good luck

rsmit9, how did you manage the heavy load? Any study stricks you developed, especially for O-Chem and Phys?

I think that you are taking a huge load of difficult courses and I would be leery of working at all. Make sure that you do not compromise grades…as a non-trad this is very important. We are more mature and should know how much and what to handle. These courses ALL will require a ton of study time and working problems.

I agree with efex, that is a jaw-dropping schedule. Why does the job appeal so much? I’d spend a few minutes really figuring out your motivation - it sounds like it was a bit of a plum to have it offered to you but don’t be swayed by thinking this is something you just can’t turn down.
You must, must, must do very well in all these classes. As others have said, you’re not going to have much of a life just taking those courses… that ten-hour a week job might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. i don’t mean to be overly negative but this just seems like such a set-up for disappointment.
Think some more, and then think some more after that…

Well - first off, I was a Electrical Engineer as an undergrad. So Physics was not that tough for me. I did study MUCH more than I did as an undergrad during my post bacc (since any studying is more than none).
I think I was able to do all this at the same time for a few reasons:
1. (MOST IMPORTANT) I have a very strong grounding in Math. I took tons of Calc as an undergrad, I worked as a nuclear engineer for the navy, so the ‘math’ was never the problem in any of my classes. If you don’t have such a strong math background, it can totally hamstring you down the line - ex: if you don’t just ‘know’ vectors, kinematics can be hell trying to figure out, you spend more time on the math than the theory.
2. Both physics and gchem were repeats. Granted, it was a long time ago, but I still had seen it before.
3. I would say 60% of my studying was devoted to OCHEM alone. I did well in it, but it wasn’t easy.
4. This is all I did. Sure, I volunteered a couple days a week and did the MCAT prep course, but my life was devoted to school and only school for a year. I do not have a wife or kids, I did not have a job, heck I didn’t even know too many people (moved here just before classes started), so I was a bit of a hermit through the year.
Overall, I WILL say this is do-able, but you have to know your own limits and what you are getting into - it’s not easy. I agree in general with most posters who say that you should not overload yourself, especially when you first start back. The last thing you want to happen is to be in a situation where you need to drop classes (or get bad grades) because you bit off too much. But, you know yourself best. If you have a strong science/math background and think you can handle the brutal pace - go for it.

Some questions to consider before turning down the research assistant position:
Has the professor expressed what will be involved in your research assistance position? Is the prof flexible about hours worked around exams/midterms/finals? The research work may not be so mentally and physically taxing that you are not able to succeed academically. Also, good schools that offer assistantships to students have an interest in ensuring that the student does well (promotes their program).
Is the research in an area you are interested in pursuing (is there potential for the research to become an area of medical research for you?) This can help you find an area of interest/strengthen your application (the latter is less important).
Finally, can you affort the tuition without the waiver?
It will certainly be difficult to accomplish, but if your home life can bear the fact that you will be in class, or in lab, or in the library, then go for it.
If you go for it, build in an hour of down-time (yoga, meditation, veggin’ while viewing sitcoms) at LEAST every two days.
good luck.
p.s. typed this fast, so sorry for the typos…

That is an absolutely horrendous class load!
When I saw that class list I thought it was a joke.
I think even someone in Mensa who has a Nobel Prize in Science would be challenged with that class schedule, especially if top grades are expected. Can’t you drop one of those classes, not the Bio, but O-chem??? A full science load? Does that mean full-time credits? And doesn’t full time start at 12 credits? I absolutely do not recommend that schedule. Three of those classes and your research assistantship seems more doable and that’s still having pretty much no life. Just my .0002cents.
Good Luck to you!

This is strictly my own opinion so definitely take it with a grain of salt, but I think it’s insane to take 3 of your 4 prereqs at once plus calculus. I’ve taken full loads of science before plus work (a bit more than 10 hrs/week tho) and it just wasn’t doable for me. The problem isn’t so much just 3 science lectures plus a math lecture but you’re talking about 3 labs as well, and orgo lab by itself is very time-consuming. Mileage varies on the bio and physics labs - some are time-consuming, others aren’t. If you’re good at math, calculus probably won’t be so bad, but if you’re not it can be a bear - same with physics. Plus 3 of your 4 classes are problem-intensive (orgo, physics, and calc). I know people who can handle a schedule like this, but I have no idea how they manage it and still get good grades. I’m certainly not one of them. I’d seriously consider cutting back to only 3 classes (which should still be full time with the labs) or if that’s not possible then taking a non-prereq “easy” science class and spreading out things into 2 years instead.
As for keeping your sanity, the only suggestion is to keep up. You’re going to have to study at least some every single day (not counting classtime), but definitely remember to take a night off here and there to go see a movie, or do something with friends.
Good luck!

HI everyone!
It’s been a long time. I just wanted to give you an update and let you know that I more than survived my crazy schedule. I finished my first semester of the post-bac. I took Organic Chemistry I, Physics I, Biology I and Biology II (instead of Calculus I). I went through a huge adjustment period. This was my hardest semester ever. There were times, I wanted to pull my hair out. But, I did really well (all As) and I learned so much. Next semester, my load will be equally heavy. But, I’m hoping that it will be easier second time around. Also, my commute will be shorter since I am moving closer to school. Now, the hardest thing is managing to have a decent personal life while chasing my dream.
Happy holidays!

Congratulations! Way to go! How the heck did you manage your time. Hope you take some off time. I am new to the board and will be starting premeds in Sept 05. I am a nurse and will be working Fri/Sat/Sun nights (12hr) and going to school all week. I am glad you posted, now I can see it’s not impossible. I don’t know my schedule yet tho, I will try to avoid calculus.

Let me compliment you on your avatar. I can already smell burnt marshmallows.