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OilMan2

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I thought I'd start a Career Change thread in the non-trad forum, as an excuse to share my story and fish for encouragement...


So here’s my story. I’m a 24 year old American ex-patriot engineer working for an oil company in Saudi Arabia. For the past three years, I’ve dreamed of becoming a doctor, yet I haven’t had the guts or the dough to take the plunge. But 12 months deep in my overseas assignment, with a cushion building in the bank, I grow bolder.

I will require post-bacchelor’s work to take the required science credits, but I wrote off online and community college courses due to my need to boost a low 3.2 undergrad GPA. I am looking at public university programs in my in-state Texas, and have my eye on the UT-Dallas certificate in Biomedical Studies program which caters to career-changers.

I want advice on how to coordinate a career change, how quickly to move, how carefully to plan, and how to search the soul. I’ve read the basics on building med-school resumes, and do have a EMT-basic license to my name, and a year of Orthopedic research. I am a conservative poker-player, and my plan is to continue my current job, (and saving) until at least the end of the year, then to enroll in a post-bacc program in Spring or Summer 2013, complete it in Spring 2014, or Summer 2014, with a light enough load to take the MCAT in time to apply in the Summer of 2014, inshallah, enrolling in the Fall of 2015.

I also am interested in hearing personal-life experiences, frankly, I have no strings attached to me right now, I work on oil rigs thousands of miles from home and spend months at time in the desert, so I’m no stranger to putting work first, but I also don’t plan to stay single for the next decade, so I would like to hear from people who went through a career changes 5 or 10 years out of college, and how prolonged academia affected their personal lives.

I’m also interested in financial advice. Conservatively, I will have 100,000 (USD) saved up by the end of this year, but I suspect living through four years of professional school will cost much more than this, and I don’t plan to work while post-bacc or in med-school. I've never taken student loans before, so advice here would help.

I'm also interested in advice on timing. My family tells me to wait, so I can save up more money, but I aint getting younger, and quite frankly, it's hard to put heart into a toil betwixt Arabian sand and sun, while visions of patient care dance in my head. Honestly, I'm making and saving very good money out here, with free housing, free food, travel allowance, reduced taxes, and job bonuses, I can save about 9 grand on a good month, so I'd like to arrange the move at the ideal moment, moving from this job directly into the post-bacc studies. The difference between a Spring and a Summer enrollment in post-bacc could mean alot of money to me, but my goal is to be a strong competitor in the applications for Fall 2015 enrollment.

And finally, I want advice on soul searching. I had hoped to make this decision in the back of an ambulance, but my EMT-b as an undergrad afforded little more than a dozen emergency runs and 100 hours of hospital clinicals (mostly ER). I loved every minute of it, and yet, cold feet sapped the strength to change lanes. I’ve contemplated over-seas mission work, in the form of a 5 to 20 day long volunteer assignment, and while globe trotting is a cake walk for me, I intend to squeeze as much family time out of my remaining 9 weeks of vacation this year as possible. I've guess I've been looking to overseas mission work as the silver bullet that will defeat those demons of doubt within me. Any similar experiences there would be of interest.

So that's my story, hope its not a bore, but any encouragement or sharing of experiences would be most appreciated,


Thanks, and salam.
 

startoverat40

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Hi, I'm 40, married, have 1 child, working in IT as expat in Asia. I did mission work here, which was both fun and inspiring, so definitely do it if you have the chance. make sure you get to observe doctors in action, and relate what you see/learn to your own worldview in your personal statement.

You're still young and have plenty of time, but I totally felt the same: once you get your heart set on something, it becomes so hard to keep doing the same old job which you're not passionate about anymore. so go for it now, the extra money that you make now will be a wash when you become a doctor sooner.

make sure to do some physician shadowing and volunteer work in the US, cause you have to show that you have experience with healthcare in the US, not just abroad. And then focus on boosting your GPA and gatting the highest MCAT score you can. If you're in Texas, you should look into the freshstart option they ahve there http://www.utsystem.edu/tmdsas/medical/texasAcFrshStrt.html
 
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Summa637

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You're still young and have plenty of time, but I totally felt the same: once you get your heart set on something, it becomes so hard to keep doing the same old job which you're not passionate about anymore.

:thumbup:

That's how I feel. I cannot really comment about the career change aspect of it since I haven't made the switch, but I would be willing to bet that you are far ahead of most people in a similar situation financially.
 

OilMan2

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Thanks, guys, It's good to hear some encouraging words... I'm sure i have an uphill battle ahead of me. and yeah it has been hard to go thorugh the motions here just to put in more time if my hearts not really in it... and I appreciate what you said about volunteer work in the US, I'll see what is available to me and check out some post-bacc programs this summer, and maybe make the jump sooner... thanks.
 
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