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2018 Nontrad Applicants' Progress Thread

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Ad2b, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. extramilemed

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    I won't lie, going to second look and seeing some of the straight-through crowd that are just gearing up for the same old has made me super nervous that (1) I won't fit in and (2) I have a massive adjustment to make. Granted I've only been out for 3 years, but I have done zero classwork in those years outside of MCAT study.
     
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  3. SpartanDOnoharm

    Pharmacist Gold Donor Classifieds Approved

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    I am very nervous. Not about the classes, but the fact that I'm leaving a cushy six figure job and going to become broke really fast. Moving costs are also looking a lot higher than I anticipated which is making me even more anxious.
     
  4. physgal

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    I feel like I am going to be neurotic until I get through the first exam.
     
    willow84 likes this.
  5. ADSigMel

    2+ Year Member

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    I haven't decided where to go yet (although I've got it narrowed down to two schools), but I'm sure starting six days from now, I'll be crazy nervous about going back to school full-time for the first time in 11 years, and taking a lot of hard sciences at the same time for the first time in nearly 20. Ok, typing this is making me more nervous. Thanks, SDN! LOL
     
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  6. extramilemed

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    I just started "announcing" where I am going, after holding out until the very last minute. And I can't tell if people are surprised or impressed or both, but just saying the name of the school to friends and family and seeing people react makes it all too real.

    Guys, we're going to med school. Whoa...
     
  7. PipetteDreams

    2+ Year Member

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    Yes! I started announcing yesterday, after months of indecision. It's becoming so real...
     
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  8. radiculating spines

    Rocket Scientist Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved

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    I would certainly add Penn to this list. As per MSAR, 56/146 matriculants there came from post-baccalaureate programs. Granted many of these students did post-bac programs at Bryn Mawr, Goucher, JHU, or Penn and were able to link.

    EDIT: As for Dartmouth, there is one thing about them that makes them ever-so-slightly not non-trad friendly. They require biochemistry and will not make an exception about it, or at least they wouldn't for me. I got a 132 on that MCAT section and they wouldn't bend. It's not really an unreasonable requirement but if you've been out of school a long time like me, back when I was in college it was not a required course for the MCAT. Moreover, post-bac programs almost never include biochem as a standard course and you'd have to take that on top to apply to Dartmouth.
     
    #807 radiculating spines, Apr 27, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2018
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  9. MercMutt

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    I received the call yesterday - I am officially accepted to University of Washington’s School of Medicine! It is my top choice and means my husband and I don’t have to live apart for the next 4 years.

    I am so thrilled, and so grateful...and so nervous. Agreed @DBC03 - I’m suffering from a significant case of Imposters Syndrome as well.

    Best wishes for everyone still playing the waiting game or revving up to apply again. And to all of us holding acceptances - congrats! We did it :D!!!
     
  10. Laterthansooner

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    @MercMutt ...YOU’RE GOING TO BE A DOCTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Such GREAT news! Celebrate!
     
  11. NoSleeptilBKLN

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    This reply could not be more true, and the details in here I suppose may be one of the biggest obstacles facing primarily non-trad applicants. I sometimes wonder how much of a disadvantage we as non-trads are in regards to pulling good grades and MCAT scores in relation to our traditional colleagues when amount of work hours are considered. I worked the overnight shift in an emergency department as a tech for over 10 years, while about halfway through deciding I wanted to take on this journey to become a doctor. The years of working full time on the night shift while trying to go to school have been thus far a blur. Fortunately, I noticed that after altering all other variables that I thought were the biggest hinderances to my success I realized that working full-time nights, or just full time in general was likely the ultimate suspect. I noticed that after coming off that shift and subsequently working part-time during the evenings I have outperformed any other period of my educational career. I realized that in order to become a true candidate for medical school, it would require more sacrifices than staying up late to study, but more so to accept a lifestyle that doesn't provide me all I had prior to beginning this journey. All this being said, we as non-trads must consider our position in relation to those who either do not work, or work much fewer hours than us. I think the >3.7 gpa's that our traditional colleagues pull are likely due to them not being overwhelmed with outside issues...specifically work. Good luck to you all
     
    #810 NoSleeptilBKLN, May 3, 2018
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  12. humblethinker

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    no substantiated rationale to this statement? Everything stated was either from my n=1 of direct experience, or has heavy research-based evidence. Maladaptive, unconscious patterns are formed when people are chronically exhausted. Formulation of memories are diminished during periods of chronic exhaustion and/or stress. Short term, non-necessary actions that are incongruent with long term goals are logically irrational. Grit is very important when seeking to achieve long-term goals.
     
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  13. NoSleeptilBKLN

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    Lol. I truly apologize how I stated the begin of my previous statement, which has thus been edited to state how much I admire everything you said. While replying to your statement last night I was also in the process of writing something else and misstated what I truly meant to write. Just to let you know, your post meant the world to me as I continue chugging along this wonderful path. It's so nice to come across another non-trad that see's the problems associated with giving too much time to employer that we forget about ourselves. This may not be such an issue when we are all said and done with school. However, right now majority of our focus should be on our present situation, as well as our future. Once again, my apologies an thank you for your post.
     
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  14. humblethinker

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    No problem, thanks for the kind words. I definitely agree with what you said above in that traditional students with high metrics in some ways have a big advantage by maybe not having to juggle work and families. However, as nontrads we have an absolute massive benefit of having perspective to better handle stress and put things into the big picture perspective. The issue is this advantage does not become real apparent until after you are admitted somewhere b/c like you may have implied, some schools just only care about metrics and do not put a ton of weight on nontrad perspectives learned from their backgrounds. However, if you create and tailor a smart school list to those that truly do holistic admissions and seriously consider the benefits of a nontrad background, you will set yourself up for an advantageous situation both during the application cycle and also throughout the medical school journey.
     
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  15. jazzmetal

    jazzmetal SDN Gold Donor
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    Agree, and the corollary seems to be when schools don't think you've "demonstrated enough commitment to medicine" because you've chosen to keep working your first-career job during the day while taking courses at night, volunteering on weekends, reducing your paid work hours to join a research team, etc. It would be nice to hear more from schools that understand how big an effort it can be to aim for medicine as a true second career.
     
  16. naway

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    I'm about 85% sure I'm going to become an MD after all, and I'm in complete disbelief that everything actually worked out in the end lol.

    Last cycle, I was waitlisted/rejected everywhere I interviewed and almost decided on not reapplying. I was so worn out and just kind of felt like all I would accomplish by reapplying would be to throw away more money. This cycle, I got re-waitlisted at two MD schools as well as outright rejected by a school that interviewed me last cycle. Only one DO school on my list interviewed me, so when I was accepted AND offered a full-tuition scholarship, I was super grateful for the opportunity but also felt like I got in on a fluke. Just as I had accepted that the DO acceptance was the only med school acceptance I would ever get, and I was REALLY lucky to get it at all, I opened up my email to read "Congratulations on your acceptance to the MD program..." I was so completely certain my chances of getting in off of either WL were 0% that I didn't even get excited at first lol. I just stared at my inbox like, "...what is this?"

    So yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going with the MD acceptance despite that DO scholarship being extremely painful to give up. This time last year, I would have told anyone who told me I would someday be in the position of having to decide between an MD offer and free tuition at a DO school that they were out of their mind.
     
  17. mycoforager

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    Congratulations to all of you who have been accepted! You shouldn't get jitters about actually attending, you've gotten this far...you can do it... and you should make great docs because you understand what it means to struggle for something.
    I have a question for you all since you have gotten through the process.
    In your essays did you go directly into being a nontrads and focus on it?

    I am a seriously nontrad premed. So much so it could be a news story if I get in :( I returned to school full time to get my undergrad degree. I thought I would be graduating, and applying this year, but things have been put off by a year. This delay has me feeling like I will not make it...but I'm not giving up at this point.

    I am wondering how much you feel being a nontrad should be accentuated in applications. The admissions committees will be able to see when I originally attended school, and likely can do the math. So, for sure it should be addressed, especially since I have to explain my early school GPA. I also know most of my letters of recommendations may comment on my nontraditional status since some of the professors who will write them have written scholarship letters for me and did mention my returning to school and nontrad status in those letters.

    I've thought about asking one or two of those writing my LORs not to accentuate the nontrad aspect, since so many will. You know, I figure if every LOR say "wow, it takes chutzpah to return to school to change careers" It might be too much.

    I'd really like to hear from some successful future docs about just how much they addressed their nontraditional status, and also how the subject was approached.

    Thanks
     
  18. willow84

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    All of my diversity essays addressed my non-trad status and corporate career experience.
     
  19. Spotinho

    Spotinho Just trying to be useful...

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    Hey all,

    I've been accepted to the few programs I applied to, however I am having difficulty figuring out how to make ends meet. A little bit about my situation: My wife is currently pregnant and we are expecting our first child, once school starts and she gives birth she will not be going back to work (high risk pregnancy, etc) and if and when she is ready it might be a part time at the most. She really wants to be a stay-at-home mom and I want her to have that for the most part.

    Now, by looking at the tentative financial aid award (schools website),it seems like there is somewhere between 26k-27k leftover as a refund after stafford loans and plus loans are taken into account. And with at least in my situation (married, needing a 2 bedroom for nursery) rent being somewhere between1.1k-1.5k varying by school location, that essentially leaves 8k-9k to best case scenario 14k for the year. I don't think this would be enough, what am I missing?

    I have heard babies are expensive, by taking a look at diaper needs I am already frightened. I guess my question is for those of you in a similar situation, whether married and significant other not working, or have/having kids, etc. how did you manage to make ends meet?Did you have to take alternative/private loans through a bank? I always thought from reading forums like SDN and hearing others talk that financial aid was the easiest part of the process....it always went something like this, "you'll have financial aid to take care of all of that, they will give you more than enough" ...or..."I actually borrowed too much and returned someone of it."

    Idk, I already asked about personal budget increase, but the most they'll do is for child care (which doesn't apply in my case) or for the purchase of a computer (nothing gained nothing lost). I am currently somewhat discouraged and feeling like I won't be able to attend school because I can't afford it :(, therefore any insights, advice, past/current experiences are welcomed.

    Thanks in advance for any helpful replies.
     
  20. humblethinker

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    Do you currently own any real estate? Can you provide more specific details such as COA and the tuition for the school? Feel free to PM me.
     
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  21. jazzmetal

    jazzmetal SDN Gold Donor
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    I was not successful this cycle, so take my advice in that context, but - I was an ultra nontrad applicant, and what I heard over and over and over again was to demonstrate your commitment to medicine and answer the question of Why Now. Yes, it takes chutzpah to start over but they don't care about that as much as whether you know what you're getting into, and why you're giving up your first career after presumably achieving a high income/status in it, and why you suddenly can't see yourself doing anything else but medicine. You have to have a slamdunk story about why you are doing this *now* instead of many years ago. Continuing to work in your first career can be seen as evidence that you're not fully committed. Another careerchanging nontrad friend who didn't get in despite substantial grade improvement + volunteering + MCAT instructor + etc., asked for feedback and was told, "We couldn't gauge your commitment to medicine." So, sell your life experience, for sure, but also be sure to have a crystal clear story about why you are changing directions so late in the game.

    Also, do a lot of homework on which schools are open to nontrads and really want diversity of all types. Since you have another year to plan, read through all of the school threads from last year and try to hone in on which ones actually value life experience. Even try emailing or calling schools to ask what you can do to make your application more competitive, and see if you can read between the lines in their answers.

    When you talk about your nontradness, talk about *why* that makes you a strong applicant. Be very specific about how your life experiences translate into being a better student and classmate.

    Best wishes! Come back and post about how it goes for you.
     
  22. curbsideconsult

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    Regardless of your age or status, the number one question every PS needs to answer is "why medicine?" To that end, what I've recommended to my friends and others is to simply free write everything in your life that has influenced you to pursue medicine and go from there. Don't worry about character counts or it even making sense. You're literally just brain dumping all your ideas so you can look at something while you're working on your PS. Once you've done that, a general theme should start to seep through the pages. Your PS should be centered around your theme with various spokes coming out of it (going into it??). I was a two-time applicant and I didn't listen to my own advice regarding the PS the first time around and I ended up with a disastrously awful product. Learn from my mistakes. Let my missteps not be in vain.

    I don't know how old you are, but I understand the time crunch. Every year counts beyond age 30, but if it's between waiting a year while improving your app and waiting a year because you have to apply a second time, the former is much more preferable.

    I don't quite understand this mentality. To me, if you asked your letter writers to do this, it would be like saying "hey, you know I've done hundreds of hours of excellent bench research, but could you not mention that? I really don't want to be pegged as someone who's really into research." Your non-tradness is a big part of who you are and you should accentuate it. It won't be too much. Your PS and your work/activities section will give adcoms a good picture of who you are, what you've done, and where you've come from. They'll be able to put the pieces together and see that your years of life experience is a huge plus.
     
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  23. seaturtle98

    2+ Year Member

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    First of all, you do NOT need a 2 bedroom apartment or a dedicated nursery...at least not until the baby is about a year old. New babies take up very little room, and with the getting up in the middle of the night, a bassinet or crib in the corner of the master bedroom would make those midnight feedings easier on you or your wife, or look into a co-sleeper if you're not offended by the idea. If she just found out she is pregnant (congratulations, by the way), that actually buys you almost 2 years in a smaller apartment, after which time you and your wife can decide about her going back to work either part-time or full time to upgrade your living situation a bit.

    Buy diapers in bulk, from a wharehouse club or online. Start slow with buying/collecting baby paraphernalia, as it can quickly become unmanageable, and most of it is unnecessary. A new baby doesn't care if he/she is sleeping in a bassinet, a pack n play, a $1,000 crib or an $80 one.
     
  24. MercMutt

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    Hey Myco. Welcome to a wonderfully supportive forum.

    I'm not sure if it's your age that makes you identify with "seriously non-tradtional". If so, I'll add my $0.02, as I've struggled with this. I would guess I'm one of the oldest posters on this thread - I turn 50 next month. At first, I did think of my age as an impediment to being accepted - and plenty of folks made comments that encouraged my pessimistic attitude. But honestly, I got fed up with feeling like it was too late, or that I was too far from the norm to go to med school. Honestly, I feel great physically and emotionally, and at this age, I am so much wiser and more motivated because after so many life experiences, I really know what I want. So, I went for it. And I did it! I start at University of Washington's SOM in August.

    My advice - own your "non-traditionalness" - it brings a whole set of strengths that many other applicants won't have. I agree with @curbsideconsult - don't hide from your differentness - let your LOR's reflect who you really are. As far as the PS and application essays, I didn't make my age a focal point, but I did spend most of my time discussing the variety of life experiences that I've had - and most importantly, how much I learned from each experience, and how this knowledge will make me a better physician.

    I also agree with @jazzmetal - research the schools and focus on the ones that legitimately want a diverse group of students in their medical school. These schools will be more likely to value your talents and strengths - plus you'll feel more cohesive with a more diverse group of classmates.

    Best wishes with your journey. And again - OWN YOUR NON-TRADITIONALNESS!!!

    PS - feel free to message me if you have more questions.
     
    #823 MercMutt, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  25. jazzmetal

    jazzmetal SDN Gold Donor
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    Happy birthday!!!
    And super congrats on getting into UW - what an awesome school and an awesome city.
    Let's hear it for the West Coast love of the nontrads, too! Oregon Health & Science had three students in the Over 40 category in last year's MSAR, whereas many schools don't have any... Up for moving to Portland, anyone? ;)
     
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  26. @Hazel-rah

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    Congrats man. So, a few more things come to mind: you'll eventually qualify for Medicaid for wife & baby, WIC, and probably also SNAP. You'll qualify for any HUD loan or housing in the city you move to, as well. You can max out your federal loans, but also you can get Grad PLUS loans and your school will approve an increase in your COL as well an in additional amount for the kid.

    Agree with the person who said you don't need a 2-bedroom. A studio would be fine until you possibly get to two kids.

    I live in a town with a pretty conservative med school and LOTS (I'd say most, even) of the spouses (mostly wives in this case) are SAHM's. So, it must be do-able. I mean, the tuition at the school here is 50k+ per year....

    Finally: look for any friends/family who may be willing to give you a temporary or permanent boost in the form of a gift or P2P loan. Consider crowdfunding from friends/family for moving expenses and upfront costs, esp if you have a good story and lots of moral support in your network.

    Good luck! You can do it!
     
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  27. Campana

    2+ Year Member

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    Congrats on expecting and getting accepted - two amazing awesome things!

    You guys can completely do this if you're in it together.

    First thought that crossed my mind was exactly what @Hazel-rah and @seaturtle98 said - you do not need a 2 bedroom. Cheap pack-n-play for the the first year and master the baby burrito. So much easier to change diapers and feed in the middle of the night when the baby is close. No need for a baby-monitor in a small place. A cheap fan for white noise and everyone sleeps better. If your wife can nurse (breastfeed), that saves tons of money and time on bottles and formula too - once you get that hang of it, easy food anytime and anywhere.

    Go garage-saling in the 'burbs if you're comfortable with used stuff - a lot of baby supplies cannot be donated and garage sales have tons of this stuff - strollers, clothes, toys, joggers, bouncies, you name it - it gets used for 3-6 months and then the baby outgrows it almost new. And, I know, everyone will say not to get a used car seat, but, well, that's up to you. (I used a friend's car-seat she had for two kids, then I used it for three more kids...net total of 11 years)

    It might go without saying, but set frugal low expectations with regards to "stuff". Enjoy the park instead of the movies, enjoy cheap fresh veggies instead of buying lots of expensive meat, enjoy stay-cations or camping instead of expensive flights and hotels. And YES, take advantage of support programs like WIC and SNAP.

    So many ways to keep your expenses down - you guys are going to have an awesome adventure:)
     
  28. Spotinho

    Spotinho Just trying to be useful...

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    Hey all,

    Just wanted to give a BIG THANK YOU to all of those who provided me with some feedback, advice and offered to pm them. I am grateful that you took the time to do so, as it has been useful information for my wife and I to talk about. So, it turns out that my institution's financial aid gave me incorrect information multiple times, long story short I will be receiving more refund amount than previously mentioned. Things are still going to be tight and wife will eventually need to start a part time but I'm confident we would make it work. Best of luck to you all and your non-trad awesome journey!
     
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  29. tetley

    2+ Year Member

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    I'm in!!!
     
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  30. wholeheartedly

    Administrator 7+ Year Member

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    :highfive:

    :clap:

    :soexcited:

    :claps:

    :banana:
     
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  31. DV-T

    2+ Year Member

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    How does a nontrad who is on a tight budget, rarely drinks alcohol, but wants to develop friendships with new traditional classmates, manage to keep up with said classmates at meet-ups before classes begin when the meet-ups seem to be alcohol-themed and/or budget-busting?
     
    #830 DV-T, Jun 9, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  32. Jasmine2022

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    Initiate your own meet-up? I forget where you are at, my fellow Texan, but my group has a wide-array of interests and have set up hiking days, attending baseball games, dinner and drinks, coffeehouse meet-ups, etc. Find what is available in your area, throw out there a couple of times and dates to choose from on the Facebook page. I'm fairly certain that plenty of your fellow classmates are working off a budget, not interested in constantly drinking, and perhaps need someone to take charge in suggesting a different type of outing. And if you see anyone with similar interests to yours, offer to meet-up one-on-one.
     
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  33. wholeheartedly

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    Not med school, but I rarely drink alcohol. When my coworkers would go out for happy hours, I'd just get a root beer. Was never an issue and didn't break the bank either. Good way to socialize. I didn't go to every one, just enough to get to know people and not come across as anti-social.
     
    #832 wholeheartedly, Jun 9, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  34. mycoforager

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    Thanks for the advice jazzmetal and good luck on your next round of applications.
     
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  35. mycoforager

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    Thank you very much for your advice. Congratulations on starting at the University of Washington SOM next month!
    I will take your advice to heart and own what I am, it does come with a lot of experience and subsequent strengths which should make me a better doctor than I would have been without them.
     
  36. mycoforager

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    Thank you curbsideconsult , the free write on the first draft of a PS is a good idea. It is always easier to edit something already written than to sit down and write a perfect and meaningful essay which you feel your future dreams depend upon. The second scenario is a built in recipe for a choke. A free write will also help me to refocus on "why medicine?" That was so clear to me two years ago but the grind of getting there has kind of put the "why?" into the background while the fight for a prime GPA, and all the needed stats take over. I did my first shadowing last winter and drove home after the first day absolutely on cloud nine. I knew practicing medicine was right for me. Free writing the a PS will help keep that focus.
     
  37. RumDMC

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    As a fellow pill counter, I'm right there with you. I knew I should've gone medical even before I started pharm, but here's to still going for it, four years later.
     
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  38. DV-T

    2+ Year Member

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    I just realized one major downside of the generational difference between me and most of my classmates, any jokes I make by referencing 80s and 90s tv shows/events are not received at all. Looking at the blank faces, I end up having to explain what happened in said show/event which takes the humor out of the reference. I'm not in Kansas anymore.
     
  39. jazzmetal

    jazzmetal SDN Gold Donor
    Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    Lol, amplified when I make references from the 70s!!! :)
     
    ADSigMel, MercMutt and DV-T like this.
  40. jazzmetal

    jazzmetal SDN Gold Donor
    Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 2+ Year Member

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    Hey, guess what friends? I'm in Riverside, checking out apartments near CalMed, the one med school that interviewed me this year. I did not get in off the waitlist, but I did get into their one-year special masters program and if I get good enough grades (3.5+), I'll get into their med school next year automatically. Wouldn't even have to interview. I might become a doctor after all!
     

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