Confused PreMed: Strong Academic Record, Unsure of Med School

sshidid

7+ Year Member
May 14, 2012
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Hey all,


So a little about myself... I am a Biology premed student at an unranked college with a close to perfect GPA and double minors. I have done well academically, gotten glowing LOR's from even the toughest professors at my college, and am a leader of 3 clubs.


This past summer, I luckily received an internship at a top pharmaceutical company and have been doing quite well. I’ve been working here for a few months now and have gained unbelievable lab skills. However, this internship requires a huge chunk of time out of my schedule. As a result, I have neglected my clinical duties. I did however work as a health home aide for a god chunk of time, but did not work with any doctors.

A few things frighten me about the notion of applying to med school:

1- I believe I am a bit “immature”. I’m not referring to my character, per se, but I am still having a difficult time answering the question: “Why medicine?” I still believe I am a bit too young and inexperienced to answer this question.

2- My premed committee is inexperienced, a bit discriminatory, and blatantly condescending.

3- I feel like a need a huge chunk of time to study for the MCAT



However, I do have a solid academic record and professors ready to back me up, saying I do have the mental capacity to tackle on medical school.

Ok, so here is what I am still unsure of doing after undergrad:

1- Obtain an MS

a. I do love working in a lab, though I find it stressful at times and can not imagine doing this for the rest of my life.

2- Obtain an MPH

a. I love culture and history. My two minors are History and International Business. I dream that I will work in the health sector across seas. However, I am graduating my undergrad debt free and will have a great GPA. Do I go into debt for such a degree?

3- Work

a. Work in a lab that has affiliations with a medical school. Possibly get my name established.

b. Try to get a position as a scribe, do more volunteer activities, a possible volunteer research position, etc.

In summary, I am an undergraduate Biology major with a close to perfect GPA, with great experience working as a Health Home Aide, and a Research Assistant/Intern at a top pharmaceutical company, unsure of what my next step should be.


Any advice is helpful!
 
Apr 23, 2013
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In your position I would work for a bit after undergrad. Medical schools like students with work experience, and it'll give you some time to reflect on whether or not medical school is the right choice and prepare your application.

Another masters degree, especially if you take on debt for it, won't help you that much especially since your undergrad grades are excellent.

Good luck!
 

wiloghby

Perpetually interviewing
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Jun 16, 2012
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In your position I would work for a bit after undergrad. Medical schools like students with work experience, and it'll give you some time to reflect on whether or not medical school is the right choice and prepare your application.

Another masters degree, especially if you take on debt for it, won't help you that much especially since your undergrad grades are excellent.

Good luck!
First, you are very prescient to sense that you are not yet mature enough to apply. The fact that you can honestly self-assess like that makes me think you will be a great life-long learner and good physician, should you decide it's the career for you. Most students would not have recognized this and would have had a very hard time fumbling through the application season. Good job.

Hands down, 100%, absolutely, positively, undoubtedly, WORK in the real world! Yes yes yes! Getting another academic degree will not help you decide if you would like working as a physician. Plus, while you're working, you will make money and be in a better place financially when you are applying (if you decide to apply). Your job does not even have to be medically related, but certainly that would help. Try working as a tech, or a scribe, or a tutor. Also try a job where you have to work in teams to solve problems, if you get the chance or have the right background. The healthiest way to approach a career in medicine is with a perspective of what you'll actually be doing as a physician in the real world. Of course you will never be able to know everything for certain, but you want to have a realistic idea of what being a physician is really like, whether or not you like that sort of job, etc.

As you work, you'll see what you like and don't like about the physician work environment and career. Even if you are not working someplace medically relevant, you can see which skills and responsibilities you enjoy in a job, and then ask someone with experience if those skills/responsibilities are paramount to a medical career. And if there's a match, well then you have some concrete reasons for why you want to be a doctor.

It took me 4 years from the time of graduation, working in two different fields, until I decided that healthcare was for me. And then it took me another 2 years of post-bacc work and the MCAT before I was even able to apply to medical school. While my path is "non-traditional", I can tell you for sure that I have no regrets.
 
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darkjedi

how did this get here I am not good with computer
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Spend the next few years doing what you are most passionate about. From here it seems the MPH might be that option. Taking years off and having interesting experiences during that time will only boost your application.
 
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DokterMom

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This past summer, I luckily received an internship at a top pharmaceutical company and have been doing quite well. I’ve been working here for a few months now and have gained unbelievable lab skills. However, this internship requires a huge chunk of time out of my schedule. As a result, I have neglected my clinical duties. I did however work as a health home aide for a god chunk of time, but did not work with any doctors.

A few things frighten me about the notion of applying to med school:

1- I believe I am a bit “immature”. I’m not referring to my character, per se, but I am still having a difficult time answering the question: “Why medicine?” I still believe I am a bit too young and inexperienced to answer this question.

2- My premed committee is inexperienced, a bit discriminatory, and blatantly condescending.

3- I feel like a need a huge chunk of time to study for the MCAT

Actually, it takes a fair degree of maturity to recognize your own immaturity -- Good for you for admitting it.

I'd suggest you do what you can now to answer the "Why medicine?" question. Not to think up a good answer, but really to discover it within yourself. Try more shadowing, volunteering at a clinic, whatever you can do to get more clinical experience. Did you enjoy your home health aid work? And did that help you become more sure? Or not? (And if not, why not?)

So you need to find a chunk of time to study for the MCAT. Can you do that this summer? Take the MCAT in September? Apply the following spring?

If you think you'll need more time to feel ready, what about continuing with the pharmaceutical company? I can't really see the value of a Masters degree in your situation unless it's just for the love of learning. And if you don't become a doctor, what would your Plan B be? You could start down that path while you make up your mind about med school.
 
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Jul 1, 2013
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As you work, you'll see what you like and don't like about the physician work environment and career. Even if you are not working someplace medically relevant, you can see which skills and responsibilities you enjoy in a job, and then ask someone with experience if those skills/responsibilities are paramount to a medical career. And if there's a match, well then you have some concrete reasons for why you want to be a doctor.

It took me 4 years from the time of graduation, working in two different fields, until I decided that healthcare was for me. And then it took me another 2 years of post-bacc work and the MCAT before I was even able to apply to medical school. While my path is "non-traditional", I can tell you for sure that I have no regrets.
Everything that wiloghby said. Going into interviews, if you've previously looked at other careers and decided they weren't for you - AND if you've worked in some medical field and loved it - you have some evidence to back up your decision.

Also, honestly, you should be open to the possibility that medicine might not be what you want to do. I totally understand that you're academically qualified, and you sound like you'd be an awesome doctor someday, but medicine isn't something you should go into if you really love something else - and it kind of sounds like you maybe haven't decided yet what you love? Which is awesome! That's what your twenties are for! I'm not saying don't continue to pursue medicine by continuing to volunteer, etc. But you can explore other things while you do that.

Think of it this way: after spending a billion years and dollars and essentially giving up your twenties (or thirties), the LAST thing you want to do is look back and think, "wish I had tried X - that would have made me happier." At that point, it might be very difficult to switch to X. Be commitment phobic now, when it's totally appropriate and won't have too many consequences.

Also - way to be smart about the amount of debt you take on. Do NOT take on more debt if you don't have to. If you're really interested in public health and have questions, PM me - I have a master's degree in a public health field. (Well, in two weeks, I'll have a master's degree.)
 
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sshidid

sshidid

7+ Year Member
May 14, 2012
139
61
Status
Medical Student (Accepted)
Thanks everybody. You all made me feel more at ease!! And to be honest, I feel that the more I work, the more I learn and... I get paid :cool:. No rush for me than!!
 
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