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Author: Subject: Advice: education pathway

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[*] posted on 11-7-2019 at 16:45
Advice: education pathway

I have a medical background and I took some remedial science in university, as well as self-taught myself a lot of concepts, but at the beginning of this year I felt the time had come to really get qualified. So I'm currently taking first year chemistry plus labs. I'll eventually move onto organic chem and then biochem plus their labs. I'm also doing some biology courses. I want to better understand pharmacology and living systems from a science perspective. This will eventually culminate in a health sciences degree, but I don't want to stop there.

I'm finding first year chem really challenging in some ways and delightful in others. Kinetic chemistry and all the equations are kind of driving me nuts but I think it's doable. Once I get my head around them, I find what they describe to be kind of interesting.

My question is for those with a science background. I intend to get into more life sciences, pharmacology, neurology, and medical studies. I don't necessarily intend to make a career out of this, I just want to be more qualified to do a diverse range of readings on various scientific papers. I also plan to take statistics.

I don't want to get into actual pharmacy, but I'd also like to learn about the laboratory skills (and relevant theory) to do my own experiments. I'd also like to take part in higher level discussions on biochemistry and pharmacology without getting lost. I have always looked up to chemists who can read a recipe and know which equipment to assemble, which reagents, and which procedures to make a product happen.

What kind of course work would you recommend for me down the road? How do I actually get into a lab to learn lab skills aside from school? Are there community labs or apprenticeships?

My current path is 2 courses of first year chem, 2 courses of second year organic chem, and 2 courses of third year biochem, plus a lab for each of those courses. So that's 12 courses all together. What should I consider adding on to my plan?
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[*] posted on 11-7-2019 at 18:55

A lot depends on where you live and what educational options are available to you. Then there are always questions on how much money and time you wish to invest.

Really, word of mouth and anecdotal evidence gives you the best information about university study options. Sure you can find out about a university or course's reputation and read their numbers but it is the human element that is really fundamental to education. What would your experience actually be if you took course A or B? Really difficult to tell without actually asking specific questions of people who have been there.

It sounds like you have a pretty good sense of direction and you know where you want to end up. With that sense of clarity you can be pretty confident making decisions based on what appeals to you and what you can reasonably manage in your schedule. You don't sound like so many aimless students that I come across.

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[*] posted on 14-7-2019 at 11:15

A more pragmatic answer would be based on your expected financial needs especially if you plan on getting married.

Is your family available to financially support you in the future?

If you are planning on getting married, but have limited assets, and live in a country which has increasing need for, say, medical technicians, I would focus directly first on acquiring a job in that area, and then pursue graduate courses of your particular interest to acquire perhaps a better paying position later in life.

As you are working and pursuing an advanced degree, I would recommend attending seminars, industry events, volunteer for speaking events or inter-industry committees,..., with a goal of building your reputation outside of your organization, where you may eventually be presented with an opportunity.

[Edited on 14-7-2019 by AJKOER]
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