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Extremely indecisive non-trad

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by synth, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. kevinnbass

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    I have been considering medical school forever. My grades are good. My expired MCAT (which I am now retaking) was good. But I am also all over the map with my interests. I majored in anthropology and neurobiology in undergrad, and nearly had enough credits for a philosophy major. After undergrad, I went to live in a rough area in a major city and did work with a prominent anthropologist. I wanted to do some kind of medicine and medical anthropology. Well, I decided I did not like anthropology. So I decided to do lab work. I am 26 and have been in a laboratory that does pain research for the last two years. In my free time I study languages and philosophy.

    I promised to myself I would give myself a few more years before med school, so I could keep reading and finish up getting proficiency with the languages I have been studying; leaving things halfway done seems very bad. But I have been volunteering a lot, and I am itching a bit to go to med school. The more I volunteer, the more I realize how much I love medicine and how much it fits my personality and talents. Neither academia in the arts nor sciences seems to suit me as a profession. Well, I am studying for the MCAT currently, and I am being told by many people that I should just apply to med school.

    But I am considering doing a Masters in neuroscience in Germany (I am applying for a Fulbright), and hopefully, working with a top pain researcher there. I could really broaden my horizons, finish up studying the languages I really like, learn a lot about neuroscience, get a real taste for German culture (which is magnificent), and perhaps make some contribution to science as well. I feel like I will never have a chance to do this again, and sowing my last of wild oats might be a good idea. I also felt that I lacked maturity coming out of undergrad, and while I have gained an enormous amount since, I think a bit more slow-paced civilian life (as it were :)) might be of great benefit to furthering that development.

    Would doing such a thing be foolish? Should I just buckle down and start a career? Above all, am I wasting my time? Might I regret doing all this flailing about when I am older?

    I would like purely subjective opinions; it seems that objective ones on this kind of situation are difficult. :laugh: Whimsical/arbitrary ones are absolutely solicited as well. I am trying to get feedback from as many people as possible. :)
     
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  3. theseeker4

    theseeker4 PGY 3
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    You are 26 now. Assuming you will apply to enter medical school in ~3 years if you do the masters in Germany, you will be 30 your first year of medical school, 34 when you graduate, and between 37 and 40 or so when you are an attending. If the Germany thing is something you want to do, and you can afford to do, go for it. There is plenty of time to apply to medical school after if you are still sure that is what you want to do. Attending a master's program in Germany would also look great on an application. If you do go to Germany though, wait to take the MCAT as it may be expired at some schools by the time you apply.
     
  4. Reggie V

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    Wasting your time?! Wasting your time is sitting on the couch all day watching Jerry Springer. The stuff your telling me sounds awesome. If you already have the grades and just need to retake the mcat, then I would definitely wait and do this stuff first. I didn't start med school until I was 31, so I can tell you a few more years of waiting is no big deal. Good luck.
     
  5. lunate76

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    you dont have to follow anybody's career plan; make your own plan ( which you have) and follow it.

    Does your plan sound foolish? no, it sounds very exciting, interesting, and with lost of learning opportunities.

    Are you going to regret this plan when you are older? well, it is up to you to decided.
    however, what I came to learn is that people tend to regret more the things that they did not do rather than the ones they did.

    It sounds like you have a lot of other interests in life besides medicine. That is great. It is great to be passionate about things in your life and if you have more than one thing like that, that is awesome.

    A few people around me recently got into medical school ( they are 22) and I felt a bit like i was wasting my time ( I am 24) by not getting into med school right after undergrad. I have a big interest for cultures and french. Instead of feelign bad for not applying to medical school yet, I decided that I will spend time time on the other things that interest me ( some of them involved in medicine and some not) and apply a bit later.
     
  6. kevinnbass

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    If there are any naysayers, please speak up :) But it sounds like I am on the right track, and I am glad to hear that.

    Thank you for the encouragement.
     
  7. isoquin

    isoquin Allopathetic
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    Unfortunately, this is not the place to find those kind of answers. It sounds like you're looking for someone here to make up your mind for you, which I have seen first hand to be incredibly disastrous. Medical school is not like college. OK first two years have some similar tendencies, but you're essentially signing up for a life-long commitment that will have its fair share of sacrifices. You need to be all-in for that.

    Do some soul searching. Write out a pro and con list. Talk to doctors. Shadow. A lot. And in different fields. If you don't love it, don't live it.
     
  8. JKinSC

    JKinSC Wir ernten was wir säen
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    +1

    I'm starting at 37, and several of my classmates are in their early 30's, so the age is certainly not a huge concern. Go forth and enjoy the hell out of Deutschland! I lived there for a year, doing a Finanzpraktikum in my previous life, and loved every minute of it. If med school is really what you want afterwards, it'll still be there, rest assured.
     
  9. nicknickp3

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    I would do the Germany masters first, sounds like you really want to do it. It will also make your CV that much more interesting.
     
  10. kevinnbass

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    Currently doing a lot of shadowing/clinical volunteering. Will have well over 1000 hours by the time of application. Love it, and I really can't see myself doing anything other than medicine in the long run.

    Indeed, I would love for some wise person to make my decision for me (a good decision), and to happily go along with it, so that all I have to do is work, study, be happy, and always do the right thing with no thought put into it of my own. (I think we'd all like that :)) Of course this seems impossible, so for now, I am trying to get as many opinions as possible. One thing I really wanted to exclude was the possibility that I could be making a foolish decision. I am still young, so that seems entirely possible. If everyone was overwhelmingly against my spending this extra time before med school, I would question my decision, because I am not overwhelmingly for doing it myself. I merely in favor of it. But it seems that the camps are divided. That means I will go with what I am in favor of.

    The only difference is 1 year, actually. Either entering med school in 2013 or 2014. So, there is not much difference... This thread has been greatly encouraging, and I think I see things a bit more rationally because of it.
     
    #9 kevinnbass, Jul 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2011
  11. isoquin

    isoquin Allopathetic
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    You seem to have a good perspective on the matter. Introspection is a good thing here. Best of luck to you.
     
  12. calimeds

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    Cool blog, brah.

    What kind of bs is this? You want people's opinions on what you should do with your life? That is so damn stupid.

    400 posts on SDN but don't know if you want to go to med school now? Get a life dude and learn how to make your own decisions.
     
  13. kevinnbass

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    Thanks for the opinion, brah. I will be sure to take it to heart when making decisions about my life.

    Thanks to everyone else also.
     
  14. Law2Doc

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    I think you are actually creating a pretty concerning track record from an adcom perspective. Sounds really flighty with the anthropology and foreign languages and contemplating neuroscience in another country. Med schools like outside interests and experience to a degree, but they favor a bit more focus. You may want to reign in some of these outside detours and focus in on just US clinical medicine oriented studies and exposure for a while. You can sometimes walk a very fine line between being an interesting applicant and one that doesn't have a good idea of what they want to do with their life. I fear you may be on the wrong end of this continuum. It's possible you could spin it differently for med schools to see it otherwise, but this is what I got from your post.
     
  15. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    Agree.

    OP, as someone who has gone through med school and spent four years as a student adcom, I don't believe you are ready for medical school. I mean that in the sense of you not being ready to make a real commitment to the process of becoming a physician. Medical school is not the right time or place to be "finding yourself." Maybe you'll be ready in a few years, and if so, you can always apply then. But for now, you should go to Germany and keep exploring your options until you figure out what you really want to do with your life. Best of luck to you. :)
     
  16. kevinnbass

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    .
     
    #15 kevinnbass, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  17. kevinnbass

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    Would this Germany stuff hurt my application if I did it and decided on medicine, though?
     
  18. n3xa

    n3xa "the anchor"
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    This is a red flag, especially if you are planning on asking them for a LOR. I would definitely ask them if they feel comfortable writing you a strong LOR for medical school.

    As someone who has watched a friend (n = 1) go into medical school sort of half-assed*, only to drop out after the first year, be very, very, very certain that this is the only thing you could see yourself doing.


    * - And I mean half-assed in the sense that actually practicing medicine wasn't his/her thing and was hoping to do something else with it afterwards. It's like people trying to slog through a PhD in science for five years but hate doing research.


    Good luck to you.
     
  19. kevinnbass

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    I decided to delete that post, because it was way too long, and I have written enough.

    My advisers have all been very helpful in writing LORs. They have been a bit perplexed by me at times, but I have kept on good terms. Given how flighty I have been, I have been surprised recently that they actually seem quite fond of me.

    I'm either extremely certain about medicine, or lying to myself. There is nothing else I can see myself doing. I just promised myself to finish up these last threads that I have been working on in my part-time (languages, books). I also wanted a new experience, since teching, while I have an enjoyable social environment, does not seem to be offering me anything significantly new in life.

    The bottom line now is this. What do I do over the next 2-3 years that would be of greatest benefit to my application? My MCAT will be taken in January 2012. I am inclined to apply in 2013. To restate the question I just asked, again, would Germany be a bad idea application-wise?

    Thanks everyone.

    EDIT: Ugh, I guess it doesn't matter. I hope that with good numbers, someone takes me. I think I can come up with a good story for my PS. I will just have to try my best.
     
    #18 kevinnbass, Jul 30, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011
  20. QofQuimica

    QofQuimica Seriously, dude, I think you're overreacting....
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    Synth, there's no one single "right" answer to the question you're asking. As you yourself have acknowledged, the fact that you have an extensive track record of never committing to anything is concerning to several other people who presumably know you well. Admitting an "extremely indecisive" student to med school is a concern to adcoms, too. Either way, you won't be able to base a sound decision on trying to second-guess the opinions of a diverse group of people. It may well be that this trip will hurt you at some schools and help you at others.

    The more important issue is that if you go to med school, you need to be prepared up front to commit to a minimum of seven years training and likely six figure debt. This is a major commitment, and once you start down this road, it's not easy to quit because of the debt and the fact that you're not trained to do much of anything else.

    So, if you're not ready to commit to medical training now, which it doesn't sound like you are, that's fine. Be honest about the fact that you're not ready, and take the time off to do what you want to do. Because you're right; you won't be spending a year or two in Germany studying neuroscience and foreign languages for fun once you start med school. You will probably never go to Germany in this capacity if you don't go now, although you may be able to go in other capacities as a physician. And if going to Germany is important enough to you that you went to the trouble of applying for a Fulbright for it, to me that says it all.

    (Incidentally, winning a Fulbright would be a very impressive accomplishment.)
     
  21. kevinnbass

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    Thank you, Q.
     

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