Dec 9, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
So, here I am, going through an engineering degree, and over the last two semesters I've slowly realized that I really, really don't care for the work. It may be the types of problems, or the people in the field, or the lack of fields in which one can better mankind, but frankly I didn't see much to look forward to.
Now, about a month ago, I started to fail out of my classes out of disinterest. It is at this point that someone suggested being a medical techy, and keeping something like a CAT scanner up and running...and I took completely the wrong message from it.
Since then, for the first time in my life, I'm interested in possibly doing something, but I have no clue how to do it. My family is engineering/defense through-through, we have no connections to anyone that has any medical know-how, (besides our physician), and I know 10x as much about philosophy/political science than anything that has to do with anatomy. So

How do I go about pursuing a degree in internal medicine?

I've talked to what councilors my ****ty little community college provides, and they want to put me on a 2-year program that doesn't specify in anything practical, (basically a vague premed, not even leading to a specific bachelors), and I have no idea how medical school works, what I should actually expect in the health care field, (I assume everything I've seen and heard is trumped-up Hollywood crapola), and no idea how I should start moving down this road. I only have a destination-- a doctor's doctor. Not some techy-highly specified position; something that is quintessential of the field, and I'm willing to work for it.


tl;dr
Starting from scratch, what should one do and expect while on course to become a traditional doctor?
 

rafflecopter

MS-0
10+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2008
1,012
17
Status
Pre-Medical
How do I go about pursuing a degree in internal medicine?

Starting from scratch, what should one do and expect while on course to become a traditional doctor?
There's no degree in "internal medicine." You have to receive a bachelor's degree in something (anything really) and then apply and get accepted to medical school. You can major in anything you want for undergrad, but I suggest you do some soul searching to find a major that interests you.

As far as the path to becoming a doctor, it really boils down to 3 areas:

1) Grades. Since you have indicated that you are failing courses due to disinterest, I assume your GPA isn't very stellar. In order to have a real shot of getting into US medical schools you need a GPA of at least 3.5. Anything lower than that and you'll need a stellar score on your MCAT, which is fairly difficult to accomplish. In your case, I would finish your degree but with good grades, then enter a post-baccalaureate program to finish your pre-requisites for medical school. I say this because medical schools view post-bacs with bad undergrad GPAs differently from people with crummy grades and no post-bac. I think this is because it helps them compartmentalize (they see you had poor grades when you were an engineering major, then see your grades rise once you decide you want to be a doctor). You will need to start getting mostly As from this point forward, regardless of what you decide to do.

2) MCAT. The Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, is considered the hardest entrance exam into any graduate program. You will need to study for months. I recommend that you take a prep course, but in any case there are resources here to help you study the right way. One word of advice here - don't take it until your scoring on practice exams a bit higher than what you want to do on the real thing, because peoples scores typically drop a few points from their practice averages.

3) Extracurriculars. Admissions committees need to see that you are a well rounded individual who shows an interest in community service and proves a commitment to medicine. You should start volunteering in a hospital or something similar to gain clinical experience. You should also consider some non-clinical volunteering in an area that you are interested in (possibly homeless shelters or tutoring inner city kids, etc). I would also make sure you get involved in some clubs on campus and try to get some leadership experience. They want to see you also have a life outside of academics, so think about adding some hobbies.


Best of luck, there are lots of resources here for people switching careers. I wasn't originally planning on being a doctor and this site helped me out loads!!!
 

isoprpoyl

Here we go again
Dec 20, 2009
23
0
Status
first off, welcome fellow redditor! next, don't be discouraged. you're one of many "non-traditional" applicants to medical school who have come from other careers. everything in the above post is valid, and sounds like a great plan. finally, i know you've stated your willingness to work for what you want, but understand this is a tremendous undertaking. one step at a time, keep your head up, and ask SDN any questions you might have. word of warning: take the interweb's advice/criticism with a grain of salt, always.
 
OP
GrizzlyAdams
Dec 9, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
/salute
I can say that I understand, but that is most likely untrue. I do know that I'm actually motivated now, and that's a big difference.


So, would it be better for me to go for a BS in chemistry (damn sick of engineering), or is the Applied Science and Technology CRAP actually better than it sounds?

And, I'm being lazy by asking here before researching myself, but is there any more you could tell me about the EC? Just from personal experience, how you went about it? I'm woefully lacking in experience here.

And, thank you for your help, it certainly helps.
 

chman

5+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2009
3,003
15
Status
Pre-Psychology
/salute
I can say that I understand, but that is most likely untrue. I do know that I'm actually motivated now, and that's a big difference.


So, would it be better for me to go for a BS in chemistry (damn sick of engineering), or is the Applied Science and Technology CRAP actually better than it sounds?

And, I'm being lazy by asking here before researching myself, but is there any more you could tell me about the EC? Just from personal experience, how you went about it? I'm woefully lacking in experience here.

And, thank you for your help, it certainly helps.

All you need for med-school is a BA or BS and the pre-reqs. What you should consider doing is find something that really is of interest to you (you mentioned poli sci) and do that because you will get the best GPA from it. You now, to be frank, have an uphill battle due to your failing classes. I don't know how many? But you may consider DO programs (there are two medical degrees MD, and DO). DO programs have grade replacement, so you can retake the classes you failed. MD will take the average.
 

Salient

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2008
317
3
Status
Medical Student
/salute
I can say that I understand, but that is most likely untrue. I do know that I'm actually motivated now, and that's a big difference.


So, would it be better for me to go for a BS in chemistry (damn sick of engineering), or is the Applied Science and Technology CRAP actually better than it sounds?

And, I'm being lazy by asking here before researching myself, but is there any more you could tell me about the EC? Just from personal experience, how you went about it? I'm woefully lacking in experience here.

And, thank you for your help, it certainly helps.
Major doesn't matter in of itself--just pick whichever one helps you bring your science GPA up while doing the pre-reqs. Adcoms probably won't care too much about your bad engineering grades if you demonstrate from now until graduation that you have what it takes.

What they want to see is academic momentum (something you are currently losing), so the most important thing for you to do is turn that around right now.

As a certain dean of medicine put it (paraphrasing) "if we didn't accept students who had poor academic histories, half of our students wouldn't be here. People who start out well but don't keep up the trend don't study medicine, but people who start off poorly and pick themselves up later can study medicine."
 
OP
GrizzlyAdams
Dec 9, 2010
4
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I've read both that-

  1. Bachelors of Science is better as it has comparable work-load.
  2. Osteopathy has a bad rep.
Any truth to that?

--------------
Heh, I didn't necessarily start out strong. It's been more of a cluster**** from the start, Bs/Cs, and this semester ,(actually it's the third, I was rather ambiguous in the first post,(I wasn't even thinking about it my first semester.)), I withdrew from 4/5 classes w/o grading. So Momentum is arguable, but I see your point.
 

Salient

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2008
317
3
Status
Medical Student
I've read both that-

  1. Bachelors of Science is better as it has comparable work-load.
  2. Osteopathy has a bad rep.
Any truth to that?

--------------
Heh, I didn't necessarily start out strong. It's been more of a cluster**** from the start, Bs/Cs, and this semester ,(actually it's the third, I was rather ambiguous in the first post,(I wasn't even thinking about it my first semester.)), I withdrew from 4/5 classes w/o grading. So Momentum is arguable, but I see your point.
I don't think BA/BS makes a significant difference, as neither of them are going to be comparable to medical school. Engineering might be an exception, but as I was never an engineering major I don't know.

You've gotta be careful about DO comments on this forum. A lot of people are very sensitive about that. What is true is that DO schools, on average, have lower acceptance standards (scorewise) than MD schools, on average. From what I've read they tend to be more favorable towards non-traditional students as well.

These days in the US you're going to get virtually the same education at either school, and you'll find MDs and DOs teaching in each other's schools and in each other's residencies. Although there are significant historical differences, they are both science-based and therefore are converging. I've been told by various people involved with MD schools that if you CAN go to an MD program you should, but I have no idea how much of that is uneducated bias and how much of it is still founded. In my experience most of my classmates who are applying to DO schools are doing so primarily because they don't have the stats for MD schools--take from what what you will.
 

chman

5+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2009
3,003
15
Status
Pre-Psychology
I don't think BA/BS makes a significant difference, as neither of them are going to be comparable to medical school. Engineering might be an exception, but as I was never an engineering major I don't know.

You've gotta be careful about DO comments on this forum. A lot of people are very sensitive about that. What is true is that DO schools, on average, have lower acceptance standards (scorewise) than MD schools, on average. From what I've read they tend to be more favorable towards non-traditional students as well.

These days in the US you're going to get virtually the same education at either school, and you'll find MDs and DOs teaching in each other's schools and in each other's residencies. Although there are significant historical differences, they are both science-based and therefore are converging. I've been told by various people involved with MD schools that if you CAN go to an MD program you should, but I have no idea how much of that is uneducated bias and how much of it is still founded. In my experience most of my classmates who are applying to DO schools are doing so primarily because they don't have the stats for MD schools--take from what what you will.
This is all true OP. But one additional comment, you want to do internal medicine, correct? There will be no problem doing so as a DO. Furthermore, the reason I suggested that is because it really may be your only option, depending on how many classes you failed. But keep in mind, even after failing one class, MD school is an uphill battle. Not impossible, but uphill.