Am I crazy?

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Aug 27, 2008
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I'm going through it seems a quarter life crisis and the opinions of many of you could help me out. I am currently a furloughed airline pilot tired of the job and ready for a change. In life I had 2 dreams, becoming an airline pilot as well as a doctor. Obviously at 18, the flying seemed to be a lot more fun and I wish I could go back and slap myself in the face and change directions.

I am currently 22, with a 3.97 BS in Aviation Sciences: Professional Pilot / minor in Aviation management from Oklahoma State University. I graduated top 10 Senior in COE, Pi Kappa Phi, Deans List and many honor rolls and I have the opportunity to start back to school in Spring 2009 at the University fof Northern Colorado with my pre-reqs which if my calculations are right would take me about 2 years to complete. If I could pull at least a 3.75 in my post bacs, greater then 30 on my MCAT and over the 2 years accrue at least a few hundreds hours of clinical experience (volunteering), shadow a few doctors and maybe see about some research experience, how competitive would I be?? It's a complete 180 in life and I understand the costs involved and the debt I will come out of school with. Is it really worth it?? I figure I am still young, could possibly follow an airline career and have a good life but at the same time I don't want to regret passing up the opportunity to change my life twice. Anyone out there with the same experience/ thoughts please let me know!

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Well, I can't say anything about it being "worth it" because as you can see, I'm just a pre-med myself, but overall, I think you're already a step or two ahead the traditional pre-med.

I think most people believe that all schools prefer a traditional pre-med who's coming straight from a BS in Biological Sciences or some deal like that, but I'm hearing more and more than a non-trad background actually helps. It just sets you apart from the crowd and makes you that much more interesting. That said if you're coming back from a rough scholastic situation, it's not a positive, but if you're posting a 3.97, I think it's clear to administrative folks that you're not accademically challenged.

So, yeah, get good grades in a post-bac year, do well on the MCAT, and you may have yourself a number of schools happy to take you. As for the 2-year deal, if you look around a lot of reputable schools have "Post-bac" programs that get everyone done in one calender year and get your foot in the door in terms of shadowing, volunteering, etc. I'm at one now, and I'm happy I did it. PM if you're interested in more info.
You're in a very different boat from most nontrads: you have excellent undergrad grades. So, as the previous poster said, I think you'd be a really appealing applicant at most med schools, if you do well in the science prereqs.

Just make sure you can explain in an articulate, positive way why you didn't pursue medicine before, and why you've decided to do it now.
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The post about non-trad background being an advantage is spot on!

Adcoms are beginning to see the benefit of students who have some life experience. The drop out rate is much lower and students tend to be more able to think outside the box - critical thinking.

It appears you have done your homework. I would say you are not crazy to follow your dreams!

I've met so many people late in life that have said: "if only I had the courage to go to med school (insert program), I would go back and do it"

Go for it!


You're not crazy at all and I wish I'd had those thoughts a few years back. I'm pretty much in the same boat except I went into finance first b/c I figured the way to be happy was earn as much as possible as fast as possible...and then I realized spending 100+ hrs/week doing a job you're not extremely interested in, well, it's hard to keep at it over the long term. I'm actually a few years older than you but am planning on heading up to HES next fall to do the 2 years of pre-req's and then apply. There's no reason for you not to...just get a job while you're doing it, as long as you can handle the workload, that won't close doors for you if you decide while taking the pre req's that you no longer wish to go down the doctor route.