October 6, 2021 at 2 PM Eastern/11 AM Pacific
SDN and Osmosis are teaming up to help you get set up for success this school year! We'll be covering study tips, healthy habits, and meeting mentors.
Thank you for your thorough reply! I am unsure what a "convincing" answer to "why medicine" is. If you're interested in science, you can do research or a PhD. If you're interested in policy, then do an MPP. If you're interested in "helping people," do social work or nonprofit work. I can't imagine how "nontraditional students" are questioned about how convincing their "why medicine" answer is because the reality is, the answer most often is "I care about sick people and want to treat them." I always see this nontraditional students, especially students switching from other professional careers like law, get grilled almost unfairly more but it seems to me that someone who is older, has developed time and experience in another field and has more skills, would be a great candidate. Also, the fact that I stuck it through applying to law school and going to law school is in and of itself a better prediction of my ability to withstand a doctorate program, vs. a 22 year old who has spent all their life just trying to get into med school and has had no exposure to anything else.
To mitigate this, admissions committees will want to see that you have done your due diligence in investigating what being a doctor actually involves, in terms of shadowing, volunteering, informational interviews with doctors, etc., in order to confirm that your understanding of the profession is aligned with reality.
I haven't had the opportunity to do much shadowing work. I don't have any sort of network of doctors and I also move around a lot due to being a student and working in different cities every summer. I have reached out and haven't heard much back. I obviously won't be hearing anything for awhile. I was supposed to start volunteering at an ED in a major city hospital but that opportunity was delayed due to COVID. I'm applying to shadow/volunteer in free clinics in my city right now but I don't know how that will work out due to the cities shutting down again.
The irony is that most people start shadowing after they're already on the pre-med track. It's much easier to convince a doctor to let them shadow you when youre a bio major. It's also hard to pursue law because people want you to be REALLY sure before you leave (e.g. I'm working 80 hours a week right now in corporate law) and also pursue shadowing opportunities. It's also hard to get shadowing when you're a law student and have to disclose your background to doctors.
It can be difficult for nontrads, there’s no doubt, but you have to find a way to do it anyway. I had to hustle to find doctors to shadow when I was in my former career (non-medical) but I eventually got it done through a mixture of cold-calling and networking from there (“thanks for letting me shadow you today, Dr. Smith, can you recommend a colleague who might also be open to meeting with me?”) I was not a student, and so I had to use vacation or flex time to make it happen.
I will also point out that biology majors don’t necessarily have it any easier with shadowing - the pre-allo forums are full of traditional premed students running into HIPAA issues, docs ghosting them, COVID-related shutdowns, and so on. It’s not going to spontaneously get easier to find these opportunities when you start your postbac classes. Free clinics/EDs are a great place to start - but, yes, it’s unfortunate that coronavirus is throwing a wrench in the works. That’s an extra hurdle for you that I didn’t face. So plan on pursuing these opportunities in earnest once your city/region opens up again.
The bottom line is that I cannot, in good conscience, recommend you sell your current vehicle and put a down payment on a $350,000 supercar without at least test driving it first.
Sorry if I sound defensive. I think the heightened standard of scrutiny is unfair (as I mentioned) and based on an extremely flawed argument. If there was data behind it, I could understand but I've never once seen anyone back this "You're a flight risk" argument with facts or data.
This is great advice. I appreciate your help. I've seen a lot of gatekeeping on SDN and a lot of unfair doubt thrown at people who want to transition from law to medicine. Thank you for not dismissing my interest and giving me realistic and helpful advice.