Summer Schedule Woes

Well, it’s only November, but I am planning ahead and it appears my 2012 summer schedule is going to be a head scratcher. Due to a scheduling conflict between BioII and Gen Chem II at my small school (how that can even happen is maddening!) I have to choose one or the other for Spring 2012. Gen Chem II it is. So, I have Chem, Calculus and Genetics in Spring 2012. The larger school I am transferring to in Summer customarily offers BioII in summer so that was the plan. Well, thanks to budget cuts, it appears I will no longer be able to fulfill this much needed class.

So, I’m left to choose between Orgo I or Physics I w/ lab for Summer 2012. The last two classes I wanted to take over a summer! I cannot take them both as, of course, they conflict! (Who does these schedules?!?) That would really be insane, but also would nicely kill two birds w/ one stone. Since that is not an option I am just not sure which one to take. It’s all uphill from here anyway. So, if I don’t take orgo in summer, I’ll be stacking it up in Fall w/ my Bio classes (Bio major), but I can’t decide what will be worse. Orgo I in summer or Physics I w/ Lab. I also will take probably one or two more classes to fulfill gen ed reqs and to get my “extra” 3 credits of English most med schools want to see. I took Physics 110 this past summer to get my feet wet in physics and it was crazy. The instructor was tough and the class was fast paced. I kept up and ended up w/ an A, but the first week was in tears. I wonder if I have the confidence and background to hack PhysicsI w/ lab over summer and save Orgo I for a full Fall semester.

No decisions have to be made now and maybe after I get through calc and gen chem II next semester I will have a better idea, but darn these scheduling conflicts never end! First it was work vs school issues now it’s this class vs. that class and how to still keep on track. The whole BioII scheduling issues (and at two different schools!) alone could potentially delay med school for me by a whole year!!! As an OPM that just feels way too long and just unacceptable!

So, just venting here, but feel free to chime in if you have any thoughts! Especially those of you who have taken either Orgo or Physics I in an abbreviated format.

Gosh, that sounds like a choice of being stabbed or shot.

Both classes are going to take a lions share of working problems, do you have a month to do nothing but either Phy or Org. My gut wants to say Org, but that my just be b/c I found I really liked OChem and I haven’t had Physics in a long time (the one class I will not have retaken from my undergrad days).

Hey Shannon,

I would advise against taking either of those classes during the summer. I took Orgo II during the summer (eons ago), it was a horrible experience. The class felt so rushed, I didn’t learn anything at all. However, if you have no other choice, have excellent study habits and are confident, then you could take one of the classes during the summer. I would not take both. If I had to pick one, I would take Physics over Orgo as a summer course. I found that Physics I was a lot like a math class. You’ll do a lot of problems to hammer in the concepts. It’s doable, I think. By the way I took physic s I & II years ago and will be retaking the sequence starting in Spring 2012 (if all goes well) because my prereqs are that ancient.

As for the schedule woes, I can totally relate. When I embarked on this journey, I thought that I would be able to work and go to school: that did not happen. I had to choose my classes over work and picking classes has not been a picnic. One thing or another always goes wrong: some of the classes I want to take conflict with each other, I can’t get approval for this or that class or the class that I want to take is not being offered at all during whatever semester. I dread registration time and it has reared its head again. Hopefully things will go easier this time around.

In any case, I’ve become resigned to the fact that the timetable I had initially drawn up is not feasible. It will take me more time than I anticipated and that’s okay, there’s really nothing I can do about it anyway. So, I’m taking my time. One more year is not all that bad: I can do more volunteering, take more time to prepare for the abominable MCAT and perhaps even find some work if my schedule permits.

Aw, man–that stinks!! I had to revamp my summer expectations this last semester, and it’s no fun to have your plan messed with!! Good luck as you get it all figured out!

There is no way I could handle organic as a summer course–it’s just too counter-intuitive for my brain. I need more time to digest it! Having said that, I know that others on here have done it successfully.

Physics, on the other hand, would’ve been quite easy for me to tackle in the summer.

Do a little self-survey on how the gen chem and calculus math feels to you. If it’s a constant struggle, I’d go with organic. If you feel pretty comfortable with it, I’d go with physics.

If you love your TI-85, go with physics. If you don’t know how to turn it on, go with orgo. (I never use my calculator in organic. It feels so strange to have chemistry with no math!)

Either way, you’re right–neither one of those courses sound like fun for the summer! Again, good luck picking the lessor of the two evils!

Thanks for chiming in everyone! docorbust, I hear you on not taking either course over the summer, but it will be best for me to take at least one lest I waste an entire summer without taking any premed coursework. EGADS! I cannot do that. I really don’t think I could stomach it. So, I will make a choice and make the best of it. It will be a good primer for fast paced harder courses to come down the pike anyway. I am leaning toward Physics I if only because I have laid the physics groundwork already. Plus, I don’t hate working endless problems. I rather enjoy my gen chem ones so I think I’ll be okay. Mind you, I’m not happy about this change in plans, but I’m old enough to have learned adaptability and so I will roll with the punches yet again. From what I’ve gathered, Organic is just way different than gen chem so I think it may be best to save that for a full semester. Things are always changing, though. Maybe my Bio class will miraculously reappear in summer and I will be back to my original plan, but I’m not holding my breath.

I’ve actually talked to quite a few people, including an organic chemistry teacher, medical students, and a med school admissions adviser, who recommend taking organic chemistry over the summer if you have the opportunity.

I guess the theory is that – if you can somehow clear everything else off the table for those 6-9 weeks so that your focus is complete – then it’s like a foreign language immersion course, where you’re living, breathing, and dreaming Organic Chemistry 24/7.

And the med school admissions adviser said a good grade in organic chemistry over the summer was a good indicator – to them at least – that one could handle the pace of medical school.

Even so, I’m not totally convinced, and am still debating on whether to take it over the summer, and freeing up more time down the road for MCAT study, or wait until next Fall, and study for the MCAT with a heavier course load.


Sorry to hear that, I can relate since I have been in that situation too.

I used to teach Physics I and II at the College level and often taught people doing pre-reqs for Med School. Obviously, I was oblivious to the fact that I would wish to go to Med School at some point, such is life.

So if you have to take one of those two courses in Summer, go with Physics I w/Lab.

The reason is basically because Physics I-Summer is a short version of the longest Physics I in the Fall.

Because it is shorter, instructors need to teach only the essentials which will translate in less work, at least in the quantity of themes to be covered (which can be large).

Try to find out who the instructor will be, that might be known by the end of Spring, talking with people currently in Physics II, or if possible ask at the Department. Usually assignments of courses for Summer are known even by the end of the previous Fall semester.

The secret to do well in Physics I is to do a lot of problems (I mean a lot) and not to cram. Also take tips from the instructor regarding the themes that go for the exam and of course do not miss any class. Use your tutors, they are paid for helping the students. Search in the library for old exams and problems and the such.

Good luck! and if you need any other tips feel free to PM me anytime.

db2103 and Cesar, you both give me food for thought! While I have thought about the advantage to taking Organic I in summer and how a good grade may “prove” something to adcoms, I am still leaning toward Physics I. It would certainly be difficult to “clear everything off the table” and just live and breathe organic over the course of the summer so that is just one reason not to take it. However, my Physics 110 class over this past summer had me pretty much living and breathing physics for 7 weeks and I somehow managed that without having to quit my job, neglect my daughter and lock myself in a room all summer. So, I made that work, but I have a feeling Organic in the summer will require a lot more than Physics 110 did even if with the fact that my Physics instructor was known to be tough and approached the class like a higher level Physics course. That being said, I have the determination, so I know whichever choice I make I will make it work and do well. However, until I can explore more of what the Organic experience is really like (everyone keeps saying it’s just “different” and I have no idea what that really means) I think Physics may be the way to go. Cesar, your Physics insight is great and a reinforcement for me. I may end up PMing you!

Thanks for thoughts and advice!

The school(s) where I have attended have all approached the shorter block classes with the idea that the course content would be the same, just delivered in longer days with higher expectations of studying by the student.

I have taken a number of classes that way mostly because I tend to impose that fear driven time issue on myself (I’m getting ready to turn 45). I’ve gotten good grades, but I’ve also sometimes left without the understanding that I might have gotten in a full semester class. For example I took Gen Chem in 6 weeks. I got the A, but in Organic I find myself having to purposefully think through concepts that some of my classmates are much more fluent with.

Still overall, I think the preference between Physics and Organic is going to be personal. I find Organic is consistently right there at the tip of my tongue, but not quite coming out. Physics on the other hand I can see and grasp in my head more easily.

Good luck to you!