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Can I vent and get some advice?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by djzim23, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. djzim23

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    Let me start by saying that I have been reading posts here for about 6 months and just now have decided to post. I graduated last spring with a batchelor's in Electrical Engineering. I was torn in highschool between engineering and pre-med, and went engineering because of the much shorter time frame. I can't say I hate or really dislike engineering, I just don't feel that it is my final thing to do, if that makes sense.

    My Jr. year of college I nearly changed majors, and I decided to just stick out engineering. During my senior year, the local Kaplan center was allowing students to take the full blown practice exams for everything for free. I decided to go on a whim figuring that when I did really bad it would make me give up. I got a 20 and my girlfriend (in med school) got a 17. She studied and ended up getting 24 on the real MCAT. The 20 I received by just showing up after a night of partying for the heck of it makes me feel that the MCAT would be within my reach for at least most DO schools and if I did real well possibly MD.

    Kaplan MCAT ~ 10 Verbal, 6 Physical/physics, 4 Ochem/bio
    I graduated from an ABET accredited, private school with a 3.379 gpa in BSEE.
    Chem 1 ~ B
    Chem 1 Lab ~ A
    Physics 3 ~ B+
    Physics 3 Lab ~ A
    Physics 4 ~ A
    Because I was an engineer I didn't have to take Physics 4 lab (3&4 are the calculus equivalent of 1&2) Do you think med schools would be a stickler over not having the lab?

    Anyways, at the moment I am thinking my best move would be to shadow a Dr. or two when my schedule allows and volunteer in a hospital a little bit. If after that I still want to go into medicine I think I would finish out my pre-reqs at the University of Maryland - Science in the Evening program (barring any horrible thoughts on that). I would like to keep working until I would matriculate, b/c I do have a cool, well paying job.

    Thanks for reading/commenting! (sorry that it was long)
     
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  3. flip26

    2+ Year Member

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    Yes, they will be a stickler on the labs; I have heard of some exceptions allowed, but you really have to assume you need another lab...

    Your plan for a post bacc, shadowing and volunteering, is a good one. Start the ECs ASAP - this stuff is really important, so don't let it slide.

    Do not go into the process thinking an MCAT in the low 20s = med school, not even for DO schools. And your GPA is low, even for a "hard" major. DO may very well be your best shot, but investigate it and allopathic schools thoroughly...

    Good luck.
     
  4. boggvir

    boggvir Sunny California
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    Several things:

    For DO: You should retake any class you got a C or below in, you will bring up your GPA very fast and be competitive very quickly. Or as many as you can, especially science courses. MCAT, for DO, you should aim for a 28 and you should be safe.

    For MD: You need to spend a bit more time bringing up your GPA to at least 3.5, which is harder because old grades will not be replaced. MCAT, you want to aim for a minimum of 32, or 34+ if your GPA is below a 3.5.

    Labs: Yes, Medical Schools will be a stickler for the lab, and you might get screened out automatically at most places because you don't have it. All of them will probably require you to do it before you matriculate anyway. Either way, you'll have to take it. I'm sure many schools will allow you to take just the lab part.
     
  5. djzim23

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    Thanks!
    I am thinking that actually taking bio, chem 2, and Ochem would help me raise my MCAT score, and then really studying for it would help as well. I think high 20's are no problem, low to mid 30's I think I would need some dumb luck as well. I'm glad to have answers about the lab because I was unsure how that might work.

    As far as boosting my GPA, should I retake Chem 1 and Physics 3? I got a C+ in differential equations (and a few other engineering classes) but will that really matter to bring it up when a) differnetial equations aren't used in everyday medicine by doctors and b) admissions folks wouldn't know what it is if it smacked them in the face?

    I was under the impression that my total GPA, pre-req GPA, actual pre-req grades, and MCAT would be the most important on the grade side of things. I mean I can retake Computer Architecture but I don't see how that could matter??
     
    #4 djzim23, Jan 6, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2009
  6. doctor712

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    Welcome to SDN. My advice would be similar to others who have already posted, but I'll add something here.

    I know you've wavered a bit determining what you want to study, why you wanted to study it (timeframe), taking a sample test (on a whim as you say) etc. And that's all fine and good. It's what experiencing, and learning and College is all about in my book.

    Having said that, your desire to shadow MDs is a wise one because it will ive you a lay of the land, a feel for the life, or a day in the life, depending on a) who you shadow and b) how long you shadow or volunteer for. I would be careful to volunteer or shadow ONLY to show adcoms that you are jumping through a hoop. Many of us did this, others were genuinely altruistic, something adcoms want to see (according to a LizzyM post). So, you are wise to test the waters, just be sure, and I'm not questioning your love of medicine, but be sure that this is the career you REALLY REALLY want to see yourself in, in say 10 years. It's a long road, with rotations and didactic lectures in topics some people have no interest in (ask the future cardiologist about his OB rotation). Point is, it takes motivation and a desire and love of medicine to really make it through, well. I'm not sure that shadowing an ER doc for one week will answer this question for you, for example. (I'm not sure of your exact plans).

    Give it hard thought, ask yourself over and over why you are doing this and how you can best judge whether medicine is right for you, and dive in. Getting a better grade on a trial MCAT, and realizing that maybe you can do this, doesn't mean you SHOULD do it - for the wrong reasons. If, in the end, it's the proper path...BEST LUCK succeeding as a Doctor, I'll look forward to calling you a colleague. Just as soon as I get through the door myself. ;)

    Doctor712
     
  7. FrkyBgStok

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    they look at your cumGPA and your BCMP GPA which is biology science math and physics. So the Dif/Eq would fall into the math so it will bring those down. If you do well in your prereqs you may not have to, but if you don't get in be prepared to.
     
  8. djzim23

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    I appreciate the feedback. I am really trying to take my time with the decision and make it for the right reasons. I only told the MCAT story because I thought I would score a 5 and that would tell me "see your a good engineer so stick with that", however the 20 said "well if you study, this should not be a factor in deterring you". I will be honest I feel the only thing holding me back is giving up a good career in something I do enjoy for the unknown. I do want to volunteer and shadow in a number of different environments to see if that changes my mind against medicine. When I look at my reasons to do it the list goes on and on. When I look at the list of reasons not to, it is very short.

    Regardless good luck to those in school and those that are doctors you deserve everything that makes the job special and great, you decided a long time ago to enter in while the rest of us ponder...
     
  9. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
    Administrator Physician PhD Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Yes. Take the lab. It's only one semester of physics lab that you still need, if I understand correctly. Why would you want to make your life difficult over a single lab that will be a cinch for an engineer like you!

    I would consider retaking any classes in which you got less than a B, especially any pre-reqs, and especially if you're going to apply to DO schools.

    Um, yes, we will. There are people with diverse medical and scientific backgrounds on an adcom. As a chemist, I took a year of p. chem and used plenty of diff eq for it. There are biomedical engineering PhDs on my school's adcom. So don't be cocksure; fact is that you would have a good chance of being interviewed by a PhD engineer if you got an invite here.
    Sounds like a good plan to me. Best of luck to you. :)
     
  10. MeowMix

    MeowMix Explaining "Post-Call"
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    I use differential equations extensively every day of residency. I clinched my place at a top-ranked med school by solving a difficult Wronskian in less than one minute during the interview. These are vital, vital skills for the future physician to master.
     
  11. MeowMix

    MeowMix Explaining "Post-Call"
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    just kidding:D
     
  12. kiyomander

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    Meowmix = awesome

    I had to pick my jaw off of the floor after your first post... and then I scrolled down. Thanks for the laugh!

    OP- Don't use your "mock" MCAT as an indicator for how you'll perform on the real one. You haven't even taken bio or o-chem... with some focused studying, there's no telling how well you'll do. I would say it's heartening to see you've already gotten a "10" in verbal, since I believe that's the most difficult to improve on. Good luck!!!
     
  13. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!
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    Ahhhhhhhh, you're giving me flashbacks....
     
  14. djzim23

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    Before I read the just kidding, I nearly fell out of my chair. I remember my horrible Numerical Analysis class in undergrad and going over the Wronskian lol

    Joking aside, my comments were just meaning that I would assume (very possibly incorrectly) that Physio or cell bio is more important than expanding a Taylor Series from Calc3.

    I have been trying to get in contact with the volunteer departments at several Baltimore area hospitals...anyone know how to actually reach them? I can get no one to pick up when I call, return a voicemail, or return an email. I would think they would want volunteers! lol
     
  15. Auriga

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    Go to the hospital during normal business hours, and ask to talk to the head of the volunteer services department. Here, like for a lot of things, there's no substitute for putting yourself in front of their face in order to get somewhere.

    My advice is that when you become a volunteer, find out what exactly it is allowed for you to do regarding patient contact. Some of the volunteers where I work never knew they could do anything except stock supplies.

    Transporting a patient from the ER to CT scan is a great opportunity to see how the radiology department works, and see an actual CAT scan.

    Don't be afraid to ask. They LOVE every bit of help they get from volunteers! It frees up time to focus on more technical aspects of care. A nurse would LOVE you to change a patient into a gown and put on a blood pressure cuff and pulse-ox to start getting vitals on a new patient. They would LOVE you to take their patient to Ultrasound while they try desperately to get an IV in a dehydrated 90 lb. elderly man.
     
  16. student1799

    student1799 "Señora” to you, hombre
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    I totally agree with this (and the rest of Auriga's post as well).

    I did this and they welcomed me with open arms. (I was able to make an appointment, but if they don't pick up the phone, just show up.) I dressed up in my nice business suit and brought a resume with me, explaining that I was a career changer who wanted to help out in the hospital. They loved me because it was a nice change from dealing with immature premeds.
     
  17. djzim23

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    Awesome and I will be doing this shortly! Not to get too far off base but what might be some areas that I can volunteer in to get better experience. I enjoy volunteering (did a lot in undergrad) but this is a dual-purpose thing here where I am trying to get that "medicine" feel as much as I can.
     

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