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Beneficial to be Non-trad?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by zeppelinpage4, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. zeppelinpage4

    zeppelinpage4 7+ Year Member

    May 16, 2009
    Since starting med school, one thing that I've been observing is that the non-traditional students just seem more together, focused and driven. I've talked to some classmates and they noticed it too. Thinking about it, it would make sense, many of my classmates who are older have just been through a lot more hurdles in life, they're more mature, have a better worth ethic, and can keep calm more easily. Also, they have a real strong reason motivating them, since they took the extra time to get in.

    But, I was curious if you guys at other schools noticed this too. Except for losing a couple years of training, taking a non-traditional route seems almost beneficial once you're here. Getting other parts of your life, and yourself a little more figured out and together before starting this journey seems like a good idea.

    Not saying traditional route students don't rock it, they do great too, and many are quite mature and driven. This is just a general thing I've noticed among my classmates and I had an interesting conversation about it with a classmate who took the traditional route, but she remembered a professor in undergrad (who also teaches at the med school) suggesting that she consider taking a couple years off, not for her application, but to see the world, maybe meet someone, pay off undergrad debt, just sort of grow up a bit and then start medical school. It seemed a bit ridiculous or extreme at the time, but seeing my classmates now, that might have been insightful advice.

    I'm probably stating the obvious, but it just didn't hit me till I was here I suppose.
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  3. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!! Rocket Scientist Physician Pharmacist Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 1, 2005
    working on my tan......
    I am not traditional by about a decade. It think it helps. I have had a "real" job and responsibilities. I understand how to work and make decisions already. And yes, I might not have all the book sense I did when I was younger but I have gained wisdom. I am much better in the clinical setting. I don't get all worked up over stuff. I can live when I don't make perfect grades. In fact, I have not killed myself the first 2 yrs. I mean I study but not like many of my classmates. But, I also have many other distractions in my life than the average med student. I wish all I had to do was school. So, it is a tradeoff I guess. We have different things we bring to the table. For example, I use my experience to help my classmates. They keep me young and less But, overall, I would suggest taking some time off and starting around 25 when you know yourself better. Work some, get some real life experience, and have a little break and do stuff because once this does not end until about 8 yrs later. And you are 29/30+......don't lose all your 20's. Split the difference in your 20's and 30's. No need to rush. Being grown will come soon enough. Because once you are a 30 year old cant really be a stupid 22 year old having some fun. Just some thoughts from someone that is well past my golden years of 20's.
  4. theseeker4

    theseeker4 PGY 1 Physician 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2011
    Suburban Detroit, MI
    It helps in some ways, and hurts in others. First, having had a real job, having real responsibilities, etc. make everything more "real." I never was a goof-off in college, but I am taking med school a lot more seriously now than I took college. Since I have a wife and a son, getting through this is not just a question of proving something to myself and/or my parents, it isn't just "hey, that is a neat job, lets see if I can be a doctor," it is a question of being able to provide for my family. That is additional motivation that anyone who isn't in a similar situation can't really appreciate and understand. The maturity that comes from being on my own, earning a living at a real job that isn't just extra spending money for the weekend bar crawl, but money needed to pay rent and pay for food, is also something most traditional students don't understand, no matter how mature they are, until they experience it themselves.

    At the same time, I have a wife and son, so I have responsibilities beyond school. There is work around the house I need to do. I need to help take care of my son, especially since my wife is working now too. I have to make time to spend with my wife, I can't just disappear for a week or two before an exam. These facts have certainly made my grades decrease from where they could be if I were a traditional student with no responsibilities other than school.

    Yes, being non-traditional can make someone more focused, driven, and responsible, but often that extra drive is counterbalanced by the additional responsibilities and distractions that come with being non-traditional. I would say someone who is in their late 20's to early 30's coming from a different career but without a family or at most a SO with their own strong, demanding career ambitions would be the "ideal" combination of minimal outside distractions and responsibilities and maximal commitment and drive. That said, there is obviously nothing preventing traditional students from having the drive and maturity to excel at med school, as proven by the huge number of successful traditional students.
  5. Arkangeloid

    Arkangeloid MS2 Banned

    Jun 18, 2013
    In my class, the nontrads tend to do better than the trads, but the best students are all trads from what I know. In any case, I'd rather start practicing sooner than spend a few years doing some hippy nonsense like "seeing the world" or whatever.
  6. Trogghunter

    Trogghunter 7+ Year Member

    Nov 16, 2009
    Exactly. I don't know any non-trad that scored all that high on steps 1 or 2.
  7. happygilmore


    Aug 27, 2013
    lol, this thread is funny. Everyone is basing universal opinions based on sample sizes of like n = 10.
    peonies3030 likes this.

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