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To Aneliz:

Guest Tal

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(and anyone else who went to Guelph, who would like to answer my questions :) )


Hi there.

I'm pretty sure that you went to Guelph (I think you were in bio-med?)

I was just wondering if so far, the bio-med program at Guelph has helped you in 1st year meds? (I should ask first, how are you doing? How is med school? how do you like it? :) )

I've heard from other people that it 's a big help (especially anatomy) already having taken many of the same subjects.

Just curious. I wouldn't want to be in any other program no matter what (I looooooove these courses, 3rd year is soooooo great, and it sounds like it only gets better)! Just wanted to see how they compare.

Thanks for the info.

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Hi Tal,


You are right...I did go to Guelph and I was in Biomed. So, you have finally hit the fun courses....congrats. Guelph biomed is a HUGE help for first year med. There is very little (if anything other than clinical methods) in first year that I haven't seen before in one of the courses that I took at Guelph. While this makes your life a bit easier in first year, it also makes it fairly boring sometimes. It is hard to get motivated to drag yourself out to 8 AM lectures that are covering content that you learned at Guelph in second or third year (and sometimes even in first year!) I find that the way courses are structured at Guelph and the profs that teach them are amazing....in many cases, things were better taught and better organised at Guelph than they are in the med program here. Enjoy anatomy and physiology at Guelph because both were far better taught and much more fun there than they are here.


As a sample of my first year so far and how it compares to Guelph courses:


Anatomy - very comparable to HK*3401/2 when I took it (although Pilon is no longer teaching?!), also includes some of the biophysics from PHYS*1070 and PHYS*1080 (scary eh?)

Physiology - very comparable to Mam. Phys I and II

Biochem - covers parts of intro biochem, structure and function in biochem, NUTR*3190, Intro molec bio.

Life Cycle - intro genetics and medical embryology....

Health, Illness and Society - epidemiology, philosophy of medicine, ethics

Pathology - principles of disease

Clinical methods - the only truly NEW stuff......


So the short answer is: Guelph biomed is a fantastic prep for med.....in fact it is so fantastic it essentially IS first year med (except spread over four years....) It will make your life in first year easier but it will also make your life a bit boring....and you will be envied by your classmates who are struggling......Just imagine doing your entire four years at Guelph in one year......that is first year med. Having learned the material before increases your speed in doing it again in med.....but you are doing it AGAIN.....which is a bit frustrating sometimes!!!!

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It does make you very, very sleepy.....I can't stay awake in class.....and I'm not kidding....I can't even count the number of lectures I have slept in......(like really slept in)....thankfully there are a lot of others asleep too....and they're not all Guelph grads.....

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Guest UWOMED2005

Yeah I used to sit beside a guelph grad during anatomy class. The guy would sleep though half the lectures, and spend the other half helping my poor anatomy-deprived self (my previous degree: biochemistry & microbiology) understand what was going on.

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Thanks Aneliz! (You're always so thourough in your answers :) )

That is what I've heard from others too.

Third year here is so great and I keep hearing it only gets better in fourth, and since I'm enjoying this stuff soooo much, med school seems like the logical extension of all this Guelph Biomed greatness (after 1st year med, it sounds like, anyway). I just hope I get in someday.


Yah, I don't know who Pilon is? But now for anat. we have two very young assistant profs (one is finishing her Phd thesis right now?) They were very unorganized (and a little giggly) at first, but they're better now. It's a pretty independent learn-it-yourself kind of course anyway i find. But the lab is amazing!!!!! :) I'd stay in their all day if they let me :) (I'm not creepy I just love actually seeing and discovering all those things I've been learning about for so long, i actually FELT atherosclerosis in an artery!)

Anyway, now that I have rambled and procrastinated enough from my exam studying, thank you again. I'm glad that I can look forward to getting some sleep once I (hopefully) get in to med school :)

So back to learning how to regulate some H+ ions in the body!

Have fun everyone

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Pilon taught anatomy at Guelph up until last year. She was part-time, borrowed faculty from McMaster and she only taught the anatomy course. She was only around two days a week and pretty much lived in the lab (her office was in there). So, if you weren't in the course you probably wouldn't know that she existed. Pilon was not the most organised person either (she was always trying to do about a million things at once) but she was a really great person and she really cared about her students. Enjoy your time in the anatomy lab...aim to do most of your learning in the lab rather than over a textbook at home. Last year the TA's were amazing.


I gather from your post that you aren't applying this year? I waited until after fourth year to apply because I wanted to finish my Guelph degree. Good luck on your exams....I guess that they start on Mon? One word of advice, if you are planning to do a lab based research project next year....start to find a supervisor right after Christmas....competition is intense for the 'best' supervisors (although there really aren't any 'bad' ones!)

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Thanks for the info, our profs this year spend all their time in the lab too (in that office).

And thanks for the advice. :)

I've actually already found a supervisor for next year :) (I got out asking nice and early!)

Now all I need is to find a lab job for the summer!

I actually did apply to Queens and Western this year. But one of my mcat marks is probably not going to meet the cut-offs so I'm planning as if i'll be here next year anyway. (I know that sounds pessimistic, but really it makes more sense to be realistic, I definitly don't want to get my hopes anywhere near up).

Thanks again for everything!

Have fun :)

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Make sure that you apply for those (lab jobs) early too! Postings for URA's and USRA's should go up in early January. Positions are awarded competitively but in a 'first in line gets the job' kind of way. (ie a prof has no problem hiring the first person that fits their criteria that they find) Most positions in the biomed and HBNS deparments were filled long before the deadline for applications last year. I personally had already had three offers and had chosen a position before the applications deadline. Don't bother applying to MBG jobs unless you have taken molec lab methods.....

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Thanks for the advice :)

I'm trying to get my name out early, most people just say they can't tell me anything until the NSERC positions go up, and to check back with them then.

So I'll apply for all that come out in January that look interesting (exept molec bio stuff). And then wait and hope (I've been doing a lot of that lately!)

I'm excited, I've never done any sort of research before. I'm positive I want to be a doctor, but I never want to rule anything out beore trying it! Plus I think working in a lab will be a great experience no matter what. There are so many people in my program who are just going to take the research courses to fill their prereq, and don't even want to experience any sort research at all! Oh well.

Hope everyone's exams are going great!

Thanks again!

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USRA usually refers to a particular summer research jobs - those funding by NSERC through their "Undergraduate Student Research Assistantship" program. The criteria for these postings vary from school to school, and basically NSERC pays most of your salary so your prof only has to pay you just over $1000. Profs, especially, love these because they attract very good students and don't cost them much :) This isn't just a Guelph thing - every university in Canada that has professors doing research in Science has them. You can get more info at http://www.nserc.ca , or from any science prof at your school.

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USRA's are funded by NSERC (mostly), although according to the prof that I worked for, NSERC only provides enough money to pay you minimum wage. The prof/department then tops up your pay, at Guelph this is usually to about the $10/hour mark.


URA's are funded by the University of Guelph and have a financial need component. If you are interested in these, you need to apply to student financial services to be approved for the program before you can start applying to specific jobs.


Both URA's and USRA's are essentially the same jobs, it is just a question of who is funding you. At Guelph there seems to be a real shortage of USRA positions, so if you have financial need, you have a much better shot of finding a lab job. However, some profs also have their own funding to hire a summer student (like pet trust) and these positions are usually awarded kind of 'under the table'. They are not usually posted anywhere and usually go to a student that the prof is quite familiar with....(ie may have done their research project in their lab). In some cases, the prof has already decided on the student they want to hire and then goes looking for some funding to pay them.


Good luck and happy hunting. You shouldn't have too much problem as long as you have good marks and a genuine interest (and you get out there as soon as they scream "game on!!!!")

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