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Extreme non-traditionalist

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Nanon, Feb 16, 2000.

  1. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.

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    Hi all - new here, but I've read a lot of your posts and it seems that ya'll are a good bunch of folks.

    So this is my anxiety provoking question. From all the stuff I've read, I redefine the whole concept of "non-traditional pre-med student." I'm 31. I've been at a community college for 4 years because I didn't go to highschool. I'm doing all of my pre-med work there except for physics. My GPA is 3.1, science GPA is 3.0. I know, pathetic, but I have some extenuating circumstances. I'm the "primary caretaker" for my schizophrenic mother, and two years ago I discovered that I have a learning disability relating to my ability to process symbols and numbers. Thanks to a great disabled students department, I've been able to turn my grades around (I even got an A in OChem!). I got into UC Santa Cruz, and believe it or not, have a solid chance of getting into Berkeley.

    I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world. I would not have even gotten to this point were it not for him. Of course, he believes with all his heart that in two years or so, we'll be moving to be closer to what ever med school I get into, bless his heart. I think I know better, but I'm not ready to give up. Still, the closer it gets, the less I'm able to sleep well thinking about the expense (financially and emotionally) and what I'll say to an admission committee about those "missing" 10 years when I wasn't in school, etc.

    I think I'll probably do well enough on my MCAT, given that the average of people in my community college is pretty high. But even if I get straight A's for the rest of my college career, my GPA won't ever be that high. So, if you please, give me some advise or your thoughts. I don't need handholding, but I don't know anyone in my situation. I feel like I'm walking blind in a dark room.

    Sorry this is so long, and thanks!

    Nanon
     
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  3. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.

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    P.S. - I'm an EMT and I have LOTS AND LOTS of voluteering and such under my belt already.

    Nanon
     
  4. ana

    ana

    Nanon,
    sounds like you got it together, so not too much advice from me except regarding the mcats. Make sure you apply to take the test non-timed. It is a rarely granted privilege for people for learning disorders, but you may qualify. I know some who did that, got into a top 15 school, and is not in a surgical subspecialty residency.

    Good luck. It sounds like you have overcome a lot to get to where you are, and I wish you the best.


     
  5. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.

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    Thanks for answering, ana. I sound like I have it together, huh? Smoke and mirrors, my dear. For the first time since I started this roller-coaster, I'm starting to develop an unsettling eye-tick.

    Thank you SO MUCH for telling me about the extended MCAT time, but this brings a new question to mind. How much (if anything) should I tell a medical school about having a learning disability? I've heard not to tell, or to tell at my own risk. I personally am an "honesty is usually the best policy" girl, and my instincts tell me to come clean, especially because A. It would help to explain my GPA, and 2. I've taken steps to deal with it, and it seems to be working. I will never really like math, except in the abstract, but I can do it now.

    So whatcha think?

    Nanon
     
  6. mj

    mj Senior Member

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    Have you ever seen the movie "Enemy of the State". There is a scene where Gene Hackman teaches Wil Smith about spin: "You're not small, your quick. They aren't big, they're slow and clumsy". Reality is what you make it. Everything is in how you spin it.

    You're learning disability had its down side when you were unaware of it, but now it has its upside: you are more perservering, you are more driven to help the weaker, you know what it's like to face a physical problem and overcome it successfully.

    It's all in how you spin it nanon, it's all in how you spin it.

    mj
     
  7. KimR

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    Yes put it in your statement. But not as an excuse...show it as a challenge you have had to overcome. Think of it this way: complete strangers will be reading your essays. Would you want complete strangers to read "I made a C/B-/D in ___ class because I have this problem" or "I discovered _ years ago that I had a learning disability. This has been a substantial challenge to overcome. I have had to change the way I balance my time and how I study. I have demonstrated that I overcame this challenge in SPring of 2000, when I acheived a __ GPA, a huge success!"

    Make sense?

    Good luck!!!
     
  8. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.

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    Thanks for your advise, people - I really do appreciate it.

    Nanon
     
  9. Ryebass

    Ryebass Member

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    I did my first two years at a technical community college and the last two at a no-name state school...and just got accepted to BU...awaiting word from 5 others...if you had asked me to HONESTLY appraise you of my shot at med school I would have expressed EXTREME doubt...but looking back I am SO glad I pursued it...the key for you is doing well on the MCAT as that has the ability of leveling the playing field as far as your community college expierience goes...all I know is that I spoke to so many people who gave me the 'poor soul' look explaining how difficult getting into med school was and being on the other end now I must say that you HAVE to ignore all of that if you TRULY feel that this is what you want to do...get to the interview stage and allow the enthusiasm to come through...I think sincerity goes a long way here...

    what is the alternative? not pursuing it and forever regretting...not cool!!! [​IMG]




    ------------------
    Ryan Bassette
     
  10. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.

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    Ryan-
    Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou!!! I am indeed very familiar with the "poor soul" look. For four years, I've been putting the blinders on, living in denial and forging ahead. This last year, it's been much more difficult to do that as friends have taken thier mcats, sent off their apps and gone off to interviews. They come back with so much NOT good news for me. So I really appreciate your support.

    Nanon
     
  11. ana

    ana

    nanon,
    I think Kimr and MJ made outstanding points. There will be (and you should double check this... it has been a while since the applicant I was telling you about took the exam... he is now in residency) a notation that you took the mcat untimed, so you need to explain this anyway. Just remember, your learning disability was a tremendous personal challenge that you overcame... it speaks highly of your perserverance and character. Just write your personal statement (if you choose to mention it) so that it reflects that sentiment.

    Good luck to you.
     
  12. connie

    connie Junior Member

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    you guys have such a great heart!!! I hope you all will get in medical school or for those who are in med school, get all As.
    [​IMG])))
     
  13. richierich

    richierich Senior Member

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    nanon,

    I also went to CC before attending a major university (the second time). When I first started in college I failed out and now have been accepted to 3 schools.

    It is definitely how you spin it and how you look getting to the finish line. My GPA is not spectacular (3.25 at time of app) but my last several semesters have shown remarkable improvement.

    The only thing I would suggest is taking several upper level science courses at a University before applying. NOT trying to say anything bad about CC but it is a different world. You need to show the addmissions committe that you can handle the work.

    Oh and apply early

    Good luck,
    Richard
     
  14. Nanon

    Nanon An urban myth.

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    Connie - I concur. Lots of cool people here.

    Richard - For either of my majors (Cognitive Science or Psychbiology, depending on which UC I end up going to), I am required to do upper-division work, and I've put off Physics for that reason, as well. I'm actually really looking forward to it - Both require a few courses in Neurobiology. Very cool. You're very right about the upper division courses.

    At my CC, all of our science classes are based off of the UC Berkeley classes, which means that all of them are really hard. First semester chemistry weeds out over half of the students enrolled (I think that kind of attrition rate is unacceptable, but there you go.). Still, med schools won't know that, so (and you may never hear this sentiment again) THANK GOD FOR MCATS!!!

    Thanks again to everyone. You rock.

    Nanon
     

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