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Called this as the end of the road to medical school?

retrofusion720

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I have posted this on Reddit with much fanfare. I have received substantial-good advice from there. However, I would like to hear from you as non-traditional as you may all similar experiences. I would like to hear from you here.

-----------------------

I think my journey to medical school may be over. I have dreamed of being a doctor ever since I was a high school student. I cannot imagine doing any other professions but this one. However, when I start college, I did not do well right initially. Due to my immaturity, terrible study habits, and difficult life circumstances, I failed and average C's on majority of the courses. I ended up with my stat of 2.5 uGPA, 2.4 sGPA, took 7 years to graduate. I only took 8 classes with 4 B+'s , 3 B's, 1 B-'s.

As you see, I was not able to overcome this barrier of obtaining straight A's or any A's. It is the same story for me, did well enough to get a B's on both midterms and finals, but never able to do well enough to get an A's which I desperately needed. I can point to situation that I am working on a full-time job, but that should not be an excuse for this performance. I have never taken an MCAT because I know I am not ready for that. I have done substantial EC's with experiences in public health, research, EMT, poster presentation, shadowing, and volunteering. I spent 10+ years in building up my resume in hoping to get into medical school.

Now, I am 30 years old. I have a long term relationship with my girlfriend. She has been a solid rock for me in this relationship and have been patient with me ever since. However, she start to feel impatient about my lack of progress here and recommends I drop this dream altogether or else we are over. Her reason is reasonable as we would like to get married, raise a family, and buy a house one day. I have a 40K job, but that salary would not be enough to raise a family and I should be working on a career path that would ease us to that life. However, I have a lot of debt accumulating from both undergrad and postbacc and my current salary does not make a dent. I should be working in a higher position and getting a higher level of education (masters) at this point.

And this is where I am at a crossroads. For one, I could just drop everything right now. Just give up on trying to get to medical school. I should be obtaining new skills, get a Master's degree, and get a higher paying job to prepare ourselves for the future. However, I am struggling with this decision as I still want to be a doctor at this moment. Sadly, part of me would want to quit on my relationship with her just so I could not be any more of a burden to my GF. Just like I want to be happy, I want the same happiness for her. I want her to achieve the stability that she seeks. I keep thinking about doing a SMP or formal postbacc and give myself one last chance and maybe this would be different. I just couldn't bear myself in quitting this dream especially the one I have been working so hard for. However, I must be transparent and know I am accountable for my action. At this moment, I know I need to stop being selfish and work toward a larger goal in building for my future family that will come someday. I just do not want to regret this decision in my life later or grown resentment to my future family or anyone else.

So everyone, has anyone experienced this similar situation? If so, how did you approach it and where was your mindset behind this? Should I continue and apply for SMP to give myself one last shot? Or should I just quit and move on to Plan B knowing that I am a failure for not achieving this dream of mine. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
 
Last edited:

Davidfromcali

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So one option is to break up with your long-term GF who wants to build a future with you for the chance to go into debt for a SMP just to have some possible shot at getting into med school? SMP are expensive too and you’d basically need a 4.0 to make it worth it if you were gonna do it. Based off past academic history, I willing to bet that won’t happen.


And you haven’t even tackled the MCAT yet, a test which keeps thousands of students out of med school.

Idk man, from reading your post, you’d be a fool to leave your current situation behind to pursue what has become a pipe dream. I don’t have much life experience but enough to know that leaving your GF behind to pursue medicine one last time is a terrible idea considering the kind of mountain you still have to climb to just a real shot at admission.

Just my .02
 
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Nugester

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I have posted this on Reddit with much fanfare. I have received substantial-good advice from there. However, I would like to hear from you as non-traditional as you may all similar experiences. I would like to hear from you here.

-----------------------

I think my journey to medical school may be over. I have dreamed of being a doctor ever since I was a high school student. I cannot imagine doing any other professions but this one. However, when I start college, I did not do well right initially. Due to my immaturity, terrible study habits, and difficult life circumstances, I failed and average C's on majority of the courses. I ended up with my stat of 2.5 uGPA, 2.4 sGPA, took 7 years to graduate. I only took 8 classes with 4 B+'s , 3 B's, 1 B-'s.

As you see, I was not able to overcome this barrier of obtaining straight A's or any A's. It is the same story for me, did well enough to get a B's on both midterms and finals, but never able to do well enough to get an A's which I desperately needed. I can point to situation that I am working on a full-time job, but that should not be an excuse for this performance. I have never taken an MCAT because I know I am not ready for that. I have done substantial EC's with experiences in public health, research, EMT, poster presentation, shadowing, and volunteering. I spent 10+ years in building up my resume in hoping to get into medical school.

Now, I am 30 years old. I have a long term relationship with my girlfriend. She has been a solid rock for me in this relationship and have been patient with me ever since. However, she start to feel impatient about my lack of progress here and recommends I drop this dream altogether or else we are over. Her reason is reasonable as we would like to get married, raise a family, and buy a house one day. I have a 40K job, but that salary would not be enough to raise a family and I should be working on a career path that would ease us to that life. However, I have a lot of debt accumulating from both undergrad and postbacc and my current salary does not make a dent. I should be working in a higher position and getting a higher level of education (masters) at this point.

And this is where I am at a crossroads. For one, I could just drop everything right now. Just give up on trying to get to medical school. I should be obtaining new skills, get a Master's degree, and get a higher paying job to prepare ourselves for the future. However, I am struggling with this decision as I still want to be a doctor at this moment. Sadly, part of me would want to quit on my relationship with her just so I could not be any more of a burden to my GF. Just like I want to be happy, I want the same happiness for her. I want her to achieve the stability that she seeks. I keep thinking about doing a SMP or formal postbacc and give myself one last chance and maybe this would be different. I just couldn't bear myself in quitting this dream especially the one I have been working so hard for. However, I must be transparent and know I am accountable for my action. At this moment, I know I need to stop being selfish and work toward a larger goal in building for my future family that will come someday. I just do not want to regret this decision in my life later or grown resentment to my future family or anyone else.

So everyone, has anyone experienced this similar situation? If so, how did you approach it and where was your mindset behind this? Should I continue and apply for SMP to give myself one last shot? Or should I just quit and move on to Plan B knowing that I am a failure for not achieving this dream of mine. Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Hmm...a tough one. I started my premed journey around your age with a GPA not too much higher than yours. Before then, I idled aimlessly for almost a decade. When I did decide to pursue medicine, my girlfriend (now spouse) was fully supportive. She believed in me when I doubted myself many a time. Sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it. If you can't see your future without your significant other, you need to to move on.
 
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frenchyn

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1. Based on what provided GPA, I could not tell how much that includes premed classes to apply to med school...I guess depend on how much you want this dream, try to estimate how much you can bring up your GPA with premed classes...maybe retake for a better grade? Tho this will take at least couple years before med school. Also extremely important to do well on McAT. Without a pretty good score on MCAt, your chance is very low.

2. How about PA school? It is not doctor but you learn medicine. Shorter...and perhaps easier to achieve in your situation.
 
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Have you thought of doing a post-bac in the Arts? A 1 Year Master's of Physiology at CWRU? A 2 year MBA? Have you applied to DO Schools? Have you considered Medical Schools in Israel? H

I am in no way an expert on relationships, but if a significant other is telling you to "drop this dream altogether or else we are over", I think they're the wrong person. Don't let anyone emotionally manipulate you. EVER!
 
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operaman

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I hate to say it but if you aren’t making ANY As in premed classes then you would be at high risk to fail out of Med school even if you do get in. Plenty of people with higher stats struggle; if a 2.5 represents your best effort then Med school may not be in the cards. Given how many people with 4.0s struggle to do well on the mcat, even that hurdle looks shaky. But really you need to consider the longer arc and ask yourself if you can deliver a performance well beyond what you’ve done so far and do it consistently for 7+ years. The only thing worse than never getting in to Med school is getting in and failing out.

The other consideration is that if by some miracle you do get in, and if you do manage to eke by, then you will only be competitive for the least competitive and least desirable residency programs. This essentially eliminates all but a couple primary care fields.

So, if your best case pie in the sky scenario is 7 years of unthinkable stress to practice primary care, why not pursue advanced practice nursing or PA programs and have nearly the identical practice, comparable money, and half the schooling? It may not carry the same prestige but it’s basically the same job.

As to the GF- Her concerns are valid though and it sounds like someone who loves you and wants to build a life with you but who is also pragmatic and sees that medicine just isn’t in the cards. She sees a dream that is destroying your life and hers by extension; supporting and encouraging that is not love. The “follow your dreams” line is arguably the worst advice ever given and has hurt far more people than it it helped. Obviously I don’t have a clue whether this relationship is right for you, but I can say that her concerns are valid and the fact she’s stuck with you this far suggests she’s at least a reasonable and caring human being.

Free advice being worth what you paid for it: pull the ripcord. Move forward with your life.
 
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lanzhou_lamian

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I think it may be best to step away. You seem to be banking on the fact the you will perform at med-school level in your SMP, but you've never proven this prior. That makes the SMP feels like a big risk. Assuming that it works out, then you still have the MCAT. There just feels like there's a lot of hurdles between you and med school, and your academic performance up until now hasn't shown you're capable of clearing such hurdles. Not to mention that the hurdles will just keep coming even in the event that you were to get in.

There's also the family aspect. Your girlfriend already seems a bit tired of waiting for more professional and financial stability. If you go to med school, you're not going to be making real money again for at least 7 years. At least based on what you've written, that doesn't sound like something your relationship can handle.

If I were you, I'd ask myself what is it about medicine that you love so much. Can you get that same fulfillment (or at least similar) via a midlevel (NP/PA/CRNA) route? If so, I'd take one of those paths. It feels like a compromise that doesn't require completely sacrificing your dream or your family.
 
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jhmmd

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operaman said:
I hate to say it but if you aren’t making ANY As in premed classes then you would be at high risk to fail out of Med school even if you do get in. Plenty of people with higher stats struggle; if a 2.5 represents your best effort then Med school may not be in the cards. Given how many people with 4.0s struggle to do well on the mcat, even that hurdle looks shaky. But really you need to consider the longer arc and ask yourself if you can deliver a performance well beyond what you’ve done so far and do it consistently for 7+ years. The only thing worse than never getting in to Med school is getting in and failing out.

The other consideration is that if by some miracle you do get in, and if you do manage to eke by, then you will only be competitive for the least competitive and least desirable residency programs. This essentially eliminates all but a couple primary care fields.

So, if your best case pie in the sky scenario is 7 years of unthinkable stress to practice primary care, why not pursue advanced practice nursing or PA programs and have nearly the identical practice, comparable money, and half the schooling? It may not carry the same prestige but it’s basically the same job.

As to the GF- Her concerns are valid though and it sounds like someone who loves you and wants to build a life with you but who is also pragmatic and sees that medicine just isn’t in the cards. She sees a dream that is destroying your life and hers by extension; supporting and encouraging that is not love. The “follow your dreams” line is arguably the worst advice ever given and has hurt far more people than it it helped. Obviously I don’t have a clue whether this relationship is right for you, but I can say that her concerns are valid and the fact she’s stuck with you this far suggests she’s at least a reasonable and caring human being.

Free advice being worth what you paid for it: pull the ripcord. Move forward with your life.
Yeah, OP, this person is doing you a favor; you can't just assume that you'll make As in classes if that's not what you've done. Do you really want all that debt?
 
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GreenDuck12

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So, OP, just to clarify, you took 7 years to graduate, have a sub 3.0 cGPA and sGPA, but have spent 10 years building up your ECs and taking postbac classes? I would not pursue an SMP at the moment. It would be expensive and you appear to be ill prepared to be admitted, due to the lack of an mcat and low gpa, let alone perform well in an SMP. Should you enroll in an SMP and do poorly, your options will be even more limited.

Your goals: I'm not going to tell you that you should or should not continue to pursue your goal of becoming a doctor. This is an intensely personal decision that you have to make based on your best interests. There are many avenues that folks pursue to find contentment with their careers and happiness in life - medicine is but one option.

Advice to move away from medicine: deciding to pursue a career other than medicine does not make you a failure. I would suggest creating a definition of success that is more pragmatic that recognizes and reflects the work you do that best utilizes your abilities. Should you decide to move on, don't view it as a surrender. View it as making a choice so that you are better able to live the life that you want to. You (and I) are at an age where we often cannot simply pursue whatever endeavor comes to mind if we want to continue to build a life with a significant other. If your goals are to have a positive impact in your community or in the lives of others, there are many career paths that lend themselves to this work. If your goals are to work in a financially lucrative position, there are many options out there - some that may require additional training to acquire skills, but others do not. There are many ways to measure success - folks would be much happier if they accepted a broader definition of success for themselves.

Advice to move forward: Should you decide to move forward I would advise you to do the following
1. Check out Goro's guide to reinvention. It is an invaluable resource for folks who are looking to improve their prior records.

2. Before enrolling in more classes you need to identify what is causing you to perform at substandard levels. You need As, not straight As, but mostly As from here on out to raise your GPA to the minimum competitive standard. If it is anxiety - seek counseling. If it is because you are working too much - work less or stop working entirely (if there is a way to do this and I know that it may not be an option). If your ECs are taking too much time - cut them back. If it means hiring a tutor when a class is confusing - do it. Unless you can figure out a plan to significantly improve, taking additional classes is futile.

3. MCAT: you're going to have to take it. You need to figure out where you stand. I don't mean take it before you're ready. You should view this as a test you can only take once and you're going to have to do well. You're going to have to treat preparing for this test as a full-time job and use resources to do well. If that means hiring a tutor - do it. If it means paying for a prep course- do it. Only take the mcat when your practice scores are at or above your target score (ideally a 510+).

Best of luck to you.
 
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ASociety'sShade

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Or should I just quit and move on to Plan B knowing that I am a failure for not achieving this dream of mine.

I'm not in a position to give you advice as I am just a pre-med myself, but please keep in mind the wise words of @esob:

Good luck with whatever you choose and just remember your value as a person isn't tied to your job title.
 
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esob

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I would have to agree that if you aren't making A's then you probably would have a really tough time in medical school. Low GPA stories that are ultimately successful typically entail someone who had a few bad grades that wrecked their GPA but otherwise a bunch of A's in the gateway classes, which subsequently demonstrate their ability to handle academic rigor.

Though to be certain, not becoming a doctor doesn't make anyone a failure, and becoming a doctor certainly doesn't equate with not being a failure. You can choose to impact the lives of others in a significant way outside of being a physician that can be equally meaningful.
 
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TragicalDrFaust

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Hi. I'm also a non-traditional student and also have had concerns about making medical school fit in with my stage of life. Your phasing about medicine being your dream and feeling like a failure if you give it up tells me your aren't mentally ready to give up your pursuit and if you did, you would have regrets not matter what. But to be blunt, there is nothing in your track record to indicate you would be successful in medical school. If I were in your position, I would give myself one last "test" to decide if medical school was a good option. I would recommend something with a low time/financial commitment but a definitive outcome.What if you gave yourself the proper amount of time to study for the MCAT (2-3 months according to SDN) and see how you do? If you do well, maybe you can consider an SMP. If you do poorly, that will be a good indication that medical school would be an uphill battle. Best of luck!
 
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Cspine

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Sorry this ended up longer than anticipated.

Disclaimer: I am only an M0 starting school soon. I am no expert.

I agree with many of the above statements. With your academic history it's difficult to imagine you getting any acceptances. Your academic turnaround would have to be exceptional. I'm saying this from experience. I began school with similar circumstances, where I worked too much (30-40 hours/week), had poor study habits, etc (also had a child) and ended up with a 2.1cGPA through 3 years, sGPA was likely closer to 1.2. This included failing gen chem 2, anat, phys, and stats (twice), all of which I had to retake and got A's. I graduated with a B.S. in psych after 4.5 years, ending the last 1.5 years with a 3.95 to raise my cGPA to a 2.9 - not including the Fs that would still be taken into account when applying to med school. It took me another 2 years to finish pre-reqs, get my GPA up some more and score decent on the MCAT (510). Then still didnt get in until my 2nd application cycle, while in ugrad 1.5 more years so it took me 8 years total in undergrad. I received 0 IIs the first app cycle, and only 4 IIs (3MD, 1 DO) this last cycle after applying to nearly 30 total MD and DO schools. Three of those interviews were mainly because of my interest in rural medicine and the schools having niche programs for that, two of these were also IS schools.

I'm not saying this to discourage you. You have to be realistic though, and it's incredibly tough to come back from where you are. I agree that studying for the MCAT would be the best next step if you are to continue on the path. You can study for it for less than $300 over the next few months and practice exams will show you if you're ready or not to take it for real. You'd definitely need a 508+ to show competitiveness, likely even for DO.

I encourage you to also look into masters in public health, nursing, or something else related to medicine that might interest you. PA school is just as competitive as med school (sometimes more) so I wouldn't recommend that route. But becoming an NP is often doable while still working full-time. There are many fantastic options outside of becoming a physician that have very nice earning potentials, still keep you in medicine, and don't require anywhere near the commitment - time or financial - that medicine requires.

Lastly, as someone who had children and got married while attempting to get into medical school, it can be stressful for your partner to see you go through this. It's not just on you, the burden is shared. If you see yourself with this person, especially having a family together, I recommend taking a step back and looking into other options that will be easier on both of you. Becoming a physician at this point would like take you another 6-8 years minimum, plus 3 years minimum for residency, and it's all far from a guarantee. You could become just about anything else in less time and for way cheaper. Sit down with your SO and talk about options. Just something to think about, and thanks for reading if you made it this far through.
 
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Aether2000

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The reality is that you would require no less than 2 years to enter medical school if that were even possible. You would not be able to work during those 4 years and would be saddled in debt of $150-350k by the time you got out. And then there is a 4 year residency- and then possibly fellowship year. So you would finally become a board certified physician (assuming you could pass the rigorous exams for this) at age 40-41 at the earliest. Many docs who are of the lower paying areas like psych, peds, and FP take 30 years to pay off their school debt. Not to mention you barely have time to procreate much less to raise kids. Chances are very good you would not be with your partner in 10 years. Medical school is much more difficult than undergraduate studies, effectively 2-3 times the work. If your study and test taking skills were poor in the past, medical school would eat you alive. Go into health care administration- you can make several million a year being a hospital administrator and still be close enough to medicine.
 
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retrofusion720

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Hey everyone,

Just want to thank you to everyone here and SDN for giving me wonderful advice and recommendation. I have to take a couple of weeks off to ponder my future and where to go from here. This has been tough as I have been working for this goal for 10+ years, but I was never able to become fluent in the language of hard science. I thought by wanting this bad enough, I could eventually get in. I have been telling myself that if I got rejected I'd keep trying years after years. But now at the age of 30, it turned out that I am doing myself a disservice and I am going based on my sheer stubbornness and not accepting my inability that there was something that I really couldn't be good at. I was reluctant to recognize my mind's own natural indications and I am officially weeded out.

But after pondering this decision for these two weeks, I decided to end this dream as of today. I am not looking back anymore and I've hit the end of the road with this pursuit. I know I should not look this time as a failure and more like a learning experience, but I did fail. I failed numerous tests, quizzes, classes, and all other sorts of ways. This mission was a failure, but not a mistake. I really never gave myself a chance to take a mental break which can be a blessing in disguise. I am done with self-pity and bitterness, and something will trigger a bit of regret once in a while. But today, I am now at the most humble time of my life. Something will come up for me and I know it will and everything will be okay. So anyone who has this road like me, just to let you know, it will be all right and we will be great elsewhere.

To all the doctors, future doctors, and medical professionals, thank you so much for your service and I wish you all well in your future endeavors.
 
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D

deleted954913

I hate to say it but if you aren’t making ANY As in premed classes then you would be at high risk to fail out of Med school even if you do get in. Plenty of people with higher stats struggle; if a 2.5 represents your best effort then Med school may not be in the cards. Given how many people with 4.0s struggle to do well on the mcat, even that hurdle looks shaky. But really you need to consider the longer arc and ask yourself if you can deliver a performance well beyond what you’ve done so far and do it consistently for 7+ years. The only thing worse than never getting in to Med school is getting in and failing out.

The other consideration is that if by some miracle you do get in, and if you do manage to eke by, then you will only be competitive for the least competitive and least desirable residency programs. This essentially eliminates all but a couple primary care fields.

So, if your best case pie in the sky scenario is 7 years of unthinkable stress to practice primary care, why not pursue advanced practice nursing or PA programs and have nearly the identical practice, comparable money, and half the schooling? It may not carry the same prestige but it’s basically the same job.

As to the GF- Her concerns are valid though and it sounds like someone who loves you and wants to build a life with you but who is also pragmatic and sees that medicine just isn’t in the cards. She sees a dream that is destroying your life and hers by extension; supporting and encouraging that is not love. The “follow your dreams” line is arguably the worst advice ever given and has hurt far more people than it it helped. Obviously I don’t have a clue whether this relationship is right for you, but I can say that her concerns are valid and the fact she’s stuck with you this far suggests she’s at least a reasonable and caring human being.

Free advice being worth what you paid for it: pull the ripcord. Move forward with your life.
fantastic. perfectly stated.
 

Bloobury

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Hey everyone,

Just want to thank you to everyone here and SDN for giving me wonderful advice and recommendation. I have to take a couple of weeks off to ponder my future and where to go from here. This has been tough as I have been working for this goal for 10+ years, but I was never able to become fluent in the language of hard science. I thought by wanting this bad enough, I could eventually get in. I have been telling myself that if I got rejected I'd keep trying years after years. But now at the age of 30, it turned out that I am doing myself a disservice and I am going based on my sheer stubbornness and not accepting my inability that there was something that I really couldn't be good at. I was reluctant to recognize my mind's own natural indications and I am officially weeded out.

But after pondering this decision for these two weeks, I decided to end this dream as of today. I am not looking back anymore and I've hit the end of the road with this pursuit. I know I should not look this time as a failure and more like a learning experience, but I did fail. I failed numerous tests, quizzes, classes, and all other sorts of ways. This mission was a failure, but not a mistake. I really never gave myself a chance to take a mental break which can be a blessing in disguise. I am done with self-pity and bitterness, and something will trigger a bit of regret once in a while. But today, I am now at the most humble time of my life. Something will come up for me and I know it will and everything will be okay. So anyone who has this road like me, just to let you know, it will be all right and we will be great elsewhere.

To all the doctors, future doctors, and medical professionals, thank you so much for your service and I wish you all well in your future endeavors.

Welcome to the start of something new! Now you are unburdened by the stress of trying to fit yourself into a box that may never have really been comfortable for you. Letting go of those expectations can be liberating. You have the opportunity to find something that really lights your fire and pursue it! A difficult journey can be gratifying, but it should not leave you completely burned out and feeling like a failure before you even reach the "entry" point. It sounds like that's where you were with medicine. With a little reflection, you've probably had lots of learning experiences along the way, so this wasn't a wasted effort. I'm excited for you to have freed yourself from your expectations and for all the opportunities you may not have seen before to surface. I hope you'll drop back in and let us know where you end up!
 
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Reverdin green

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You can also look into Podiatry med school if you want to perform surgeries and stuff. With a higher MCAT score you might get in somewhere but since Podiatry is basically medical school, those with low stats end up failing out.
 
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