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Old 11-10-2003, 11:03 PM   #1
Jay Edvardz
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I am going to be starting college this January. As of right now, will be double majoring in molecular/micro biology and chemistry. I figure these two majors would give me a solid grounding to move up the ladder in nutrition related research. However, many people have brought to my attention that work is farely sparse, money is not great, and most people do not want to hear things that challenge the dogma (Also, while everything can be improved upon, I believe that we have some pretty damn solid nutritional programs that already exist (I.E., Zone, NHE, Paleo etc.) and therefore would be doing nothing but supporting current research). I am also considering majoring in Mathematics. For some odd reason, ever since I could count, mathematics has fascinated me. As a child, I was always at the top of my class in math. All through high school I slacked off pretty bad and therefore did not take my inherent ability to its max. Majoring in the latter would make me extremely versatile and allow me to easily shift between careers. This is not to say that the Biology/Chemistry would not grant me versatility, rather, I do not believe it would be quite as versatile as mathematics. To be quite honest, at this point, I am pretty damn confused. Any type of input whatsoever would be greatly appreciated.

-Jay
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Old 11-11-2003, 06:27 AM   #2
Barry Cooper
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For your first two years, take enough core courses to be flexible, and otherwise focus on figuring out where the hot chicks are. Then make up your mind.
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Old 11-11-2003, 08:17 AM   #3
Barry Cooper
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Jay,

My apologies, I forgot you are engaged to be married.
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Old 11-11-2003, 08:31 AM   #4
Roger Harrell
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As far as microbio/chem focus you could end up in the biotech field which is poised to branch out and explode right now. There are a lot of realy exciting technologies in development right now. The field is likely to expand and not be saturated for quite some time.
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Old 11-11-2003, 08:47 AM   #5
mark a. blakemore
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What do YOU want to do? I'd listen to advice given by others and throw it all into the mix to come up with my own decision.

Best place to start would be to get around people doing what you think you want to do. Pick their brain and get first hand exposure from what they say but mostly by what you see. Your instinct should tell you what you need.
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Old 11-11-2003, 09:36 AM   #6
Jay Edvardz
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Thanks for all of the advice guys.
Barry, no biggie - don't worry about it :-)
Roger, I agree with you. However, a lot of biotech firms/companies are involved in research that does not settle with me.
Mark, that's what I plan on doing. I am just looking for advice at this point. I, myself, have narrowed down the field to these choices. In the end, if I can not decide, I may just do a Micro - Mathematics double major. Thanks for the input fellas.

-Jay
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Old 11-11-2003, 12:51 PM   #7
Paul "The Viking"
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Jay,

There are a couple of things that come to mind from what you're saying. My bias is that I'm a physicist, so I'm more aware of things on that side of the spectrum. But here goes: two areas related to biology that are "hot" right now in terms of growth, jobs, and funding are bioinformatics and biophysics.

An appropriate background for bioinformatics (which is basically trying to deal with the enormous quantities of data now becoming available to biologists) might be something like biology and math with emphasis on statistics. Probably even better would be biology and computer science. Computer science, btw, requires a lot of math courses -- its even in the math department at a large number of universities.

An appropriate background for biophysics is, as it would seem, biology and physics. Actually, biochemistry is probably more useful than straight biology. The same could probably be said of bioinformatics, as well. Biophysics, by the way, is taking the experimental and theoretical tools of physics and applying them to biological systems. Physics requires more math courses than anything other than math.

Barry's advice on taking core courses for 2 years makes a lot of sense. A lot of these majors have a lot of overlap: Biology requires taking chemistry and physics (though the non-calculus based physics) Chemistry requires physics and some math, physics requires physics and a lot of math. You could easily take a year or two of physics, math, chemistry, some computer science, and general requirement courses without picking a particular major until your junior year and not be too far behind in any of them to still graduate in 4 years. Plus, taking a wider variety will expose you to more and let you see what you like!


Good luck with school!

-Paul

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Old 11-11-2003, 01:28 PM   #8
Kathy Glassman
 
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Jay,

I think Barry and Paul are right on target with recommending taking the overlapping courses while you decide. And don't forget about Biochemistry as a major. It's a perfect blend of the Bio and Chem and it will also serve you well in the nutrition field should you choose to follow that path. You'll also need your math skills for the Physical Chemistry requirements for the Biochemistry degree. Best of Luck.
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Old 11-11-2003, 06:34 PM   #9
Jay Edvardz
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Thanks a lot for the advice. I would love to take BioChem as my major. However, sadly, my local university has no such offering :-( Oh well, I will make do with what I have to work with - I always do :-) Thanks again.

-Jay
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Old 11-11-2003, 07:28 PM   #10
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I don't post much, people usually have the answers before I get the time to chime in, but I feel like I can help on this one. I'm in my second year of school as a bio major, and there is a pretty good amount of work, and since I am in the trenches so to speak, I recommend that you don't fill your plate too full right off.

I guess I should preface that by saying I made the semi-bad decision of joining a fraternity(living in the house right now), which is a great way to develop alchohol problems and nasty drug habits like many of my friends. Trying to eat/excercise in a crossfit manner, study enough to get A's, and still be able to hang out with the aforementioned fraternity brothers is an interesting balance. But I know one thing, that I would be living in the library with no time to excercise much less have fun if I was double majoring in math and bio or bio and chem or any of those combinations. I was always good at math and science just like you were, but in college these classes are legit, multi-variate calculus(I assume you had BC cal in highschool) destroyed several people I know's GPA first year, and thats just the first thing you take once past the intro calculuses. The intro science classes like chem/bio aren't super-hard, they are just reading intensive and time-consuming.

I say this not meaning to scare you. The farther I have gotten into biology the more I have become interested, and my desire to explore different fields has grown too. The bad thing is I am at a time where I need to be focusing, but I don't know whether I want to go more into environmental biology, biochemistry, or the aforementioned biophysics, although I think that biophysics is an impossibility now because I have none of the physics prereq's.

I guess my suggestion would be to definitly take the science courses, they are what grab my interest at least, but intersperse them with easier classes so you don't get overwhelmed. Don't go right off the bat taking calculus, chemistry, biology, etc, etc, all at the same time, you will not enjoy life. You want to keep a solid GPA from the start(catching up sucks), and college is supposed to be fun too! Sorry about spelling mistakes and such, I had to write this quickly as I have a spanish test bright and early tommorow.

-wells
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