A Day in the Life of a BME Major

It’s Monday.

This is my first realization when I am woken up, early, by my roommate’s alarm ringtone, one of Fall Out Boy’s many rock numbers. It is immediately followed by another realization: Wow, this song is effective in destroying any remnants of sleep, especially when it’s on full volume.

Back to more important things: Monday.

Now, I’ll say I’m one of those rare people who loves Mondays. Even though I don’t like saying goodbye to the weekend, my schedule is quite accommodating, and I have to accept the inevitable. So, let me take you on a journey through time, to a regular Monday in the life of a biomedical engineering (BME) major.

But before that, a little more about my major. BME = engineering + medicine. It goes without saying that BME is more than just an equation, but that’s how I explain it to my friends back home who have little idea about my major. The University of Rochester has an amazing BME program, which is partly the reason I chose to come here. And, while it comes with an extensive list of pre-requisites, including and not limited to math and other natural sciences, BME is something I am really passionate about and enjoy dearly.

Anyway, back to our journey.

1. Breakfast at Douglass

After going about my usual morning routine, I made my way to Douglass Dining Hall, along with my roommate, Liz. Liz and I have classes at the same time every day, so we always get food together (Yes, we are besties, and no, we aren’t bored of each other yet). With fifteen minutes to spare, Liz got her daily share of coffee, and I got the necessary amount of sugar I needed to function properly. We soon parted ways, and planned to get lunch together.

The new Hajim Quadrangle. This is where is have most of my classes!

The new Hajim Quadrangle. This is where I have most of my classes!

2. Chemistry 131

One of the pre-requisites for BME is two semesters of introductory chemistry. Now, I can just imagine the expression on you face, which is probably one (or all) of the following: sadness, dread, anguish, pain (or if you’re like me, joy!). Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. There are around 300 people in my chemistry class, and I’m not even exaggerating. The way I like to think of this is that I can sit next to a stranger every single day of class, and still not meet all of them.

Piece of advice: If you’re taking chemistry, don’t freak out! Honestly, I would say, once you understand the basic concepts, it’s not hard to grasp the consequent, harder parts. Plus, there are so many people you could ask for help: workshop leaders, study group members, tutors, and the more obvious, the professor (who is awesome, because he lit a gummy bear on fire to explain chemistry!). They’re all super nice and always ready to answer your questions (I speak from experience).

 

3. Biomedical Engineering 101

After chemistry, I headed to my BME class, across the newly-constructed Hajim Quadrangle. My absolute favorite thing about this class is my professor, and his positive and enthusiastic attitude. If you’ve met me, you’d realise why (Hint: My personality is extremely similar to his!). He makes learning about the physics of the body fun, and not as intimidating, which is an amazing feat; how many people can say they made it through physics while smiling? I surely can! What I also like about this class is how inter-disciplinary it is; we use math, physics, biology, and chemistry, all in one class. Isn’t that mind-boggling?

Goergen Hall- Home of the BME Department

Goergen Hall, Home of the BME Department

4. Lunch

Next on my schedule was lunch, with my roommate, Liz, and some of my BME friends. We always go to Douglass because it’s closer (yes, humans tend to be lazy after morning classes), and because it has Kosher and allergen-free counters. As a vegetarian, my diet is somewhat restricted, so I try to get as much healthy food as possible, which usually includes salads and sandwiches. And also, desserts (no explanations required).

 

5. Homework

After food, I went back to my dorm to finish the huge pile of homework on my desk (I exaggerate sometimes). The first thing on my list was math, because it was due two hours later. I was almost done, just needed a few finishing touches (you know you need a break when you make math homework sound like a piece of art). Next, I started my writing assignment, which was about my favorite character, Malcolm, from the TV series Firefly, which so fun to write!

Piece of advice: As writing is a primary requirement for all majors, you’ll have to take it once in your four years of college. There are tons of tracks to choose from. So take a chance and pick a writing class out of your comfort zone or experience. You’ll be surprised!

This is where the magic happens- Gilbert 3 Lounge!  (Magic= Homework)

This is where the magic happens: The Gilbert 3 Lounge!
(Magic = homework sometimes)

6. Math 171

My hardest class of this semester, Math 171, is an honors calculus course for those students who wish to learn more about writing proofs for theorems and understand the concepts behind basic math principles. Funnily enough, before I enrolled in this class, I wanted to do neither. But now, even though sometimes I struggle with the depth of the subject material, I’m enjoying this class! I don’t necessarily need to take this course, but I like the teaching methods (and the humor) of my professor, so I’m up for the challenge!

 

7. Dinner and TV (feat. more homework)

All in all, my day wasn’t that hard! I got dinner with my friends, watched a sports game that I didn’t understand (I’m from India; I don’t know football!) and started working on my homework for other classes.


The next day was Tuesday, and I needed to be up for my classes. I hoped you enjoyed this journey! Unfortunately, it’s time to say goodbye.

*Lights out*

About the author

Ananya Goyal

Hello! I'm a member of the Class of 2020, majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in mathematics. Originally from New Delhi, India, I'm currently involved in the Meridian Society, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the EcoReps program and research. I spend my free time walking across campus, making new friends, chasing groundhogs, and writing about the same. I'm so excited to share my experiences with all of you!

2 Comments

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  • Thank you for posting this page Ananya. I would be starting this fall as a BME major, and found the information you posted to be very helpful and insightful. You mentioned your chemistry class having 300 students, and I was wondering how a class so large is managed. I come from a small school where my largest class is about 15 students, and I am already intimidated before even starting at U Roc by the size of the Chemistry class. Part of the reason I picked U Roc is because I understood most classes to be under 15 students, and was shocked to learn that such large classes even exist. How large are the Physics, Calculus, and Biology classes?

    • Hi Lilah! I’m so excited for you- you’re going to love it here! As for your question, only Introductory classes are this large, and most of the other classes have around 15-20 people. In fact, Chemistry is probably one of the biggest classes offered here, with Biology and Physics having similar numbers. To make up for that, you will be required to attend a weekly Workshop, which usually has 15 people, and is run by a Workshop leader. Moreover, all the professors and TAs hold office hours, which gives you a chance to interact with them one-on-one. So, don’t get intimidated by the numbers, cause you have plenty of opportunities for individual learning! Hope this helps!

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