SLPtoENT

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Oct 9, 2007
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Hi all - been reading this board quite a bit over the last few months and learning a lot from all of the posts.

I will be working full time as a Speech-Language Pathologist in a hospital when beginning my pre-reqs for med school in the Fall.

For those of you with a full-time professional job, how many classes are you taking while you work? I am not married, no kids...just me, myself and I.

I am thinking of just doing one at a time for now (bio plus lab)- maybe two next year...see what I can handle.

Thoughts?
 

Signaq

Signaq
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Nov 30, 2008
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I work a full-time clinical job, have a private practice on the side (~10 hours/week), take overnight call 2-4x/month, and have a husband and three youngins. I took 10 hours of classes last spring, 7 this summer, and will take 11 hours this fall. Somehow, I've made it work. If you are motivated and enjoy being in school, it is much easier. Start with the one, and I bet it will be clear really quick whether you can add on more the following semester or if you are burned out already. :luck:
 

nontrdgsbuiucmd

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Mar 28, 2008
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I wasn't working during premed classes, but have worked fulltime while in school and worked part-time (20 hrs) for years while in school fulltime.

I'd suggest that while working fulltime, you do no more than 6-9 hrs science classes, in order to have the time to get As in every class; in my premed classes, 15-16 hours of only science classes, without working at all, was a huge amount of time. Although partially this was because I put in enough time & effort to be among the top few students of every class; probably more classes could be done if you're targeting closer to the A/B threshold.

From your post, it seemed you were asking how many pre-med classes can be taken at one time? The answer would be different if you were working on some general undergrad classes rather than solely pre-med classes; physics 2 required much more time than many of the humanities undergrad classes I've taken.
 
OP
S

SLPtoENT

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Thanks for the input from both of you.

Yeah, I was talking about pre-med coursework only.

I think 6-9 hours is probably reasonable for coursework. And I can definitely use that semester to see how things go. Because I don't have too many other responsibilities, I may be able to handle two courses. Maybe for the following year, I can swing it to work part-time. Hmmm...
 
Jul 17, 2009
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Working fulltime and doing science courses part time is doable but I suggest doing six credits at a time.Lab classes these days require research papers and homework outside the test and quizzes that are typically given.Also studying the sciences on a superficial level will only help you pass the course but not the MCAT.
 

Crelal

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I started back with one course, then stepped it up to 6-9 credits. The trick is to not do so much that you can't get the grades you need; however ad coms tend to look down on just one class/semester. They want to see you are able to juggle it all so when you have FT med school, you are able to work with the 'drinking from a firehose' sensation.
 

just one

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I have been taking between 14-16 hours each semester for the last three years. I work full time, have a wife and child, and have maintained a 3.92 GPA since returning to school after a 6 year layoff. The first two semesters were rough, but after that I seem to have found a system that works for me.
 

tc13

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I started with two science classes and labs -chem and bio. Working full time while in school is tough, but it's more about discipline and time management. You can do it. Good luck!
 

Narnian

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I have taken full-time science classes and have worked full-time. If I can give you one piece of advice, I would say that every single spare moment that is not committed already, have your nose in your books. Every spare moment I had aside from church, family, work, and school was spent with a nose in my books, studying. Its hard and draining, but very doable.:thumbup:
 
Jun 30, 2009
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For the past three years, I have worked fulltime as an EMT, taken atleast 17 credits (4-5 classes) per semester, completed two research projects, volunteered and been a Physiology Tutor/TA (10 hours/week). I think you can do it. Starting out slow is definately not a bad idea, but I think you can do it. Such gumption is expected of pre-med students anyway.
 
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SLPtoENT

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Wow you all are amazing - working full time and sciences full time?! Sounds like time management is gonna be huge - and a bit of a struggle for me.

Thank you for your input.
 

PhillyBoyInTN

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Jun 6, 2006
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Greeneville, TN
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I take at least 2 classes per semester but have taken as many as 4. I work full time, have a wife (who works part time and is in an RN program) and 3 kids with another on the way. My main concern is that with working full time during the day I need to take all of my pre-reqs at night. Unfortunately, the two 4 year schools in my area do not offer the sciences at night so I'm forced to take them at the local CC. I've contacted some of the med schools that I'm interested in and they've said that as long as the school is accredited that it makes no difference. That being said, it still makes me nervous, I really don't want to quit my job (I've been here 5+ years) just to take classes at a 4 year school during the day.
 

Micahfeld

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Feb 23, 2009
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I have a wife and two young children (ages 5 years and 16 months). I work full time in pharmaceutical manufacturing as a supervisor (50+ hour weeks are common).

I took 9 hours this spring (biology I and Chemistry II) and 18 hours this summer (organic I and II w/ labs and physics I and II w/ labs) while working full time. I also prepared for the MCAT concurrently, and found time to volunteer in the emergency department at our local hospital.

It wasn't fun, but I have managed to make A's and keep my sanity. Folks told me I wouldn't be able to pull it off, but I have. I also got my goal on the MCAT, but I wouldn't have even taken it if I had listened the advice of some.

Pushing myself has been the best thing for me. It has allowed me to test my desire for a career in medicine, and it has put me in a position to apply this year as a competitive applicant at my state school.

Advice from others can be great, but no one person knows your ability better than yourself. Asses your ability and your priorities. Then set a realistic goal and put a plan in place to achieve it. It can be done!
 
Jun 20, 2009
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I started college late, tried to work my first year. I did well in school but felt burnt out, so I stopped.
 

SoftwareKevin

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I currently just take one class, chemistry, and am working full time as a software engineer and volunteering one night a week. It's my first quarter back and I'm easing into things.

Plan of record right now is to continue taking one class a quarter for this upcoming school year while I get my life and finances in order so that I can be in a position to do full time school starting in the summer of 2010 to finish off my pre-requisites in a reasonable amount of time. Hopefully I'll be applying in 2011 for 2012 admissions! :)
 

Crelal

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I currently just take one class, chemistry, and am working full time as a software engineer and volunteering one night a week. It's my first quarter back and I'm easing into things.

Plan of record right now is to continue taking one class a quarter for this upcoming school year while I get my life and finances in order so that I can be in a position to do full time school starting in the summer of 2010 to finish off my pre-requisites in a reasonable amount of time. Hopefully I'll be applying in 2011 for 2012 admissions! :)
Wow... You just made my day! If all goes as planned for both of us, I will be entering MS4 when you are MS1. I've had tunnel vision with first year fast approaching- it's nice to pull back and see the big picture! ;)

Good luck to all!
 

nontrdgsbuiucmd

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Mar 28, 2008
998
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I have a wife and two young children (ages 5 years and 16 months). I work full time in pharmaceutical manufacturing as a supervisor (50+ hour weeks are common).

I took 9 hours this spring (biology I and Chemistry II) and 18 hours this summer (organic I and II w/ labs and physics I and II w/ labs) while working full time. I also prepared for the MCAT concurrently, and found time to volunteer in the emergency department at our local hospital.

It wasn't fun, but I have managed to make A's and keep my sanity. Folks told me I wouldn't be able to pull it off, but I have. I also got my goal on the MCAT, but I wouldn't have even taken it if I had listened the advice of some.

Pushing myself has been the best thing for me. It has allowed me to test my desire for a career in medicine, and it has put me in a position to apply this year as a competitive applicant at my state school.

Advice from others can be great, but no one person knows your ability better than yourself. Asses your ability and your priorities. Then set a realistic goal and put a plan in place to achieve it. It can be done!
OK, this is blowing me away, so here's my math; work 50 hrs per week. In class 18 hrs per week, in my experience 4 hrs study outside class per class hour, + labs (assumed 4 hrs lab = 8 hrs in class for labs).. that's 50 + 18 + 72 + 4 + assumed 5 hrs commute time + 50 hrs per week MCAT study + meals/family time = far more than I could fit into a 168 hr week!
 

Micahfeld

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It has been rough for the past couple of months, and it is not the 'safest' approach if you have had any difficulties with science courses in the past.

I guess my main point is that only you know what you can handle. Your own situation will dictate what load you can handle at this point in your life.

For me, I've been fortunate that I usually don't have to spend much time outside of class studying. I study approximately 4-6 hours per week for organic chemistry. I learned most of the physics during content review for the MCAT (plus two years of physics in high school), so physics has been mostly review. I spend little time outside of class on my physics coursework.

I'm working nights and sleeping somewhere around 3-4 hours per day during the week. It has been absolute hell during the summer term, but it is possible. I have a wonderful wife that is as committed to this goal as I am, and that has been a great help. I couldn't do it without her.

I know that what I have been doing is not for everyone, and I would not suggest trying to sustain a load like I have been taking for more than a few months. I am definitely getting burned out toward the end of the summer session, but there is no better motivator than success.
 

gman33

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The amount of studying outside of class time can be variable depending on the school/instructor. This will play a bif factor in how much time you need. If possible, try to talk to some current students and see how much time they spend.

I would say start with 1 class + lab. Make sure you get an A no matter how much time this requires. If you are very comfortable, add another class. You can always ramp up, but one poor semester can really hurt your chances. I've seen people try to do too much and fail some of the classes. This effectively shut the door to MD schools.

:luck:
 

Signaq

Signaq
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Also, it helps to have a job where you can study while on the clock. :thumbup:
 

PhillyBoyInTN

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Jun 6, 2006
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I have a wife and two young children (ages 5 years and 16 months). I work full time in pharmaceutical manufacturing as a supervisor (50+ hour weeks are common).

I took 9 hours this spring (biology I and Chemistry II) and 18 hours this summer (organic I and II w/ labs and physics I and II w/ labs) while working full time. I also prepared for the MCAT concurrently, and found time to volunteer in the emergency department at our local hospital.

It wasn't fun, but I have managed to make A's and keep my sanity. Folks told me I wouldn't be able to pull it off, but I have. I also got my goal on the MCAT, but I wouldn't have even taken it if I had listened the advice of some.

Pushing myself has been the best thing for me. It has allowed me to test my desire for a career in medicine, and it has put me in a position to apply this year as a competitive applicant at my state school.

Advice from others can be great, but no one person knows your ability better than yourself. Asses your ability and your priorities. Then set a realistic goal and put a plan in place to achieve it. It can be done!
Not only do you have solid stats, but you are, in my opinion, in the best state for applying to only one school. I think close to half of the applicants to the University of Mississippi get in. I wish my first choice accepted only 100% in state. :D
 

mzblue

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Apr 22, 2007
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It has been rough for the past couple of months, and it is not the 'safest' approach if you have had any difficulties with science courses in the past.

I guess my main point is that only you know what you can handle. Your own situation will dictate what load you can handle at this point in your life.

For me, I've been fortunate that I usually don't have to spend much time outside of class studying. I study approximately 4-6 hours per week for organic chemistry. I learned most of the physics during content review for the MCAT (plus two years of physics in high school), so physics has been mostly review. I spend little time outside of class on my physics coursework.

I'm working nights and sleeping somewhere around 3-4 hours per day during the week. It has been absolute hell during the summer term, but it is possible. I have a wonderful wife that is as committed to this goal as I am, and that has been a great help. I couldn't do it without her.

I know that what I have been doing is not for everyone, and I would not suggest trying to sustain a load like I have been taking for more than a few months. I am definitely getting burned out toward the end of the summer session, but there is no better motivator than success.
did you take an MCAT review course or did you just study from a review book like EK or TBR?
 

Micahfeld

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Feb 23, 2009
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Mississippi
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I used EK and Nova for physics and EK for the remainder. The Nova physics was great for me. I suplemented with the Gold Standard videos and Audio Osmosis for things that I needed to see or hear.

I took 3 aamc practice tests to gauge my preparation, and I scored my practice average on the real MCAT.
 

mzblue

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I used EK and Nova for physics and EK for the remainder. The Nova physics was great for me. I suplemented with the Gold Standard videos and Audio Osmosis for things that I needed to see or hear.

I took 3 aamc practice tests to gauge my preparation, and I scored my practice average on the real MCAT.

thanks. i have the nova and i plan on getting EK.
 

Random Anesthesiologist

Random Anesthesiologist
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Mar 16, 2008
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Hi all - been reading this board quite a bit over the last few months and learning a lot from all of the posts.

I will be working full time as a Speech-Language Pathologist in a hospital when beginning my pre-reqs for med school in the Fall.

For those of you with a full-time professional job, how many classes are you taking while you work? I am not married, no kids...just me, myself and I.

I am thinking of just doing one at a time for now (bio plus lab)- maybe two next year...see what I can handle.

Thoughts?
I work PRN 20-30 hours a week as an SLP and I'm in medical school. You can handle it.
 
OP
S

SLPtoENT

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Oct 9, 2007
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Random - you work PRN WHILE youre in med school? Thats encouraging to hear! What made you decide to not stay with Speech?? When did you decide to follow a different path?
 

Random Anesthesiologist

Random Anesthesiologist
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Random - you work PRN WHILE youre in med school? Thats encouraging to hear! What made you decide to not stay with Speech?? When did you decide to follow a different path?
Yes. I started working again in Feb. I upped my hours over the summer to about 50-60 (we're trying to save money, I didn't have to work this much!) and will drop back down to 20-30 again in a few weeks when school starts up again.

Before med school I was in a PhD program and was just more interested in the medical aspects of my research and took the leap of leaving the program and applying to med school. I left the program in '03 and applied in '07 and started last fall. I had to take physics, ochem, and some upper level bio courses and the MCAT and did that plus work in my time off.

I will give the caveat that my situation is a bit different than most, the economy and being a homeowner in one city and a renter in another necessitated my having to work, so I split my 1st year into two. I took half my courses last year and the other half I'll take this year. I got all my lab courses done last year so I can work a bit more this year. From what I hear about M2 at my school, I will still be able to work, but I will probably only do it on weekends. If I don't have to, I may choose not to.

If I had not split my years, I still would have been able to work about 10 hours a week. Yes, you can do it, as long as you have an employer who can allow you to be flexible with your time. I make my own hours, essentially sometime between 5am and 8pm. And since I'm PRN, I have a much higher hourly rate.
 

NTF

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During my first undergrad stint I worked full-time and went to school full-time. Found it hard to manage that and had choppy results (plus I was a lot younger and less mature). During my informal post-bac (12 classes almost all upper-level science) I worked full-time, volunteered, and took 2 classes (plus labs most of the time) a term. Depending on the class, it varied from a breeze to pretty difficult. The term I took honors biochem and an upper level molecular genetics class was a bear. My wife wasn't too happy with me that term.

I'd say a safe load is 2 classes/term while working full-time. But it's an individual thing and the particular class or professor makes a huge difference. Just make sure whatever you do that you make A's. If it means taking just one class that term for a particularly hard class than do that. A's with a lighter term load >> B's with a tough load.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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For all who have replied, what did you do/are you planning to do for ECs. That seems to be the most difficult part. Between working 40+ hrs per week at my engineering job, taking two classes, which takes up 4 nights, studying at least two nights, and trying to keep my wife happy, which takes at least one night, finding time for volunteering, shadowing, and research becomes difficult.
 

Random Anesthesiologist

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For all who have replied, what did you do/are you planning to do for ECs. That seems to be the most difficult part. Between working 40+ hrs per week at my engineering job, taking two classes, which takes up 4 nights, studying at least two nights, and trying to keep my wife happy, which takes at least one night, finding time for volunteering, shadowing, and research becomes difficult.
Can you set up a shadow/volunteer stint on Saturday mornings? You don't need to do it constantly, but something like every other weekend.

You could also ask your profs if they need any help in their labs with research - even the most mundane tasks count for your ECs.

You can mentor, help in nursing homes, or do something like Chemo Angels or Soldier's Angels (http://www.soldiersangels.org/).
 

SoftwareKevin

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For all who have replied, what did you do/are you planning to do for ECs. That seems to be the most difficult part. Between working 40+ hrs per week at my engineering job, taking two classes, which takes up 4 nights, studying at least two nights, and trying to keep my wife happy, which takes at least one night, finding time for volunteering, shadowing, and research becomes difficult.
I'm only taking one class right now so it's a little different, but I'm working 40+ hours/week as a software engineer and volunteering one night a week in the ER in addition to my class. I'm struggling with finding more time because I'd like to be able to do another EC. The pre-meds in undergrad knew what path they were going down and have been doing ECs since high school, but I really don't have many under my belt. Kind of discouraging looking at mdapplicants.com and looking at everyone's long list of ECs
 
Aug 11, 2009
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I'm taking 15 hours this fall semester coming up and working about 24-36 hours a week. I seem to get by doing all that, but I actually enjoy going to school and learning. It's a different situation for each individual.
 
Aug 9, 2009
3
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the scream factory
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I have been fortunate enough to be able to work PRN on weekend nights. This semester I am taking 15 hours--all my classes are on Tuesday/Thursday. I use Wednesday for shadowing, ect. This will be my second semester doing it like this, and for me it really works.
 

doctor712

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this has to really be one of the most difficult balance beams to walk for a non-trad: the work/study game.

i volunteer/work on a clinical trial for over 20 hours a week, usually around 30. two kids. plus my writing work as well, still plugs on. thats another 12 hours a week. so, im working FT hours when all the jobs are said and done.

add to that the fast that i have a 40 min commute north to school. OR, a 40 minute commute south to work. on some days, i do the triangle (dont really like those days).

so, ive decided to pull back on the EC volunteer thing now to make sure my As stay As and that i don't have any more semesters ahead that will lead to academic problems. i just saw my 3.7 go to a 3.6 and that's a small change, but in the wrong direction. so, the EC is on hold, despite getting ramped up for publishing, all the clinical exposure, grand rounds, lectures, friends, mentoring. IF i don't maintain that 3.7, no LOR is going to make up for a C in XYZ course. (this is the golden advice that you need to take away from this post). so, this semester, which starts in about 2 weeks: no ECs at ALL. i will be taking orgo, physics and repro endo as an elective. the third class was at the suggestion of an admissions dean who wanted to see me take more than 2 classes a term, even while working, to show him i can handle the load.

and away we go. ive already read and completed all the questions from first chapter of orgo book, and have read 4 other university orgo class website materials. im ready for orgo. best as i can be on day one. next week, same with physics.

good luck all!
d712
 

Joannavr

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I also work 40 hours a week, monday through friday 2:30-11pm, and attend school full time (12-14 hours). It is a huge huge time management puzzle. If you're not very organized, you'd better get that way fast. It is completely doable, but you cannot procrastinate at all or you'll find yourself way behind.

My first semester was tough with 2 sciences, 2 labs and 2 gen eds...since then I have become better at setting schedules and not goofing off.

You can make it work!
 
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i work full time as a science teacher in a high school, and I am so excited to come back to work today. all summer I kept thinking about applications and secondaries. at least now I will able to redirect some stress by teaching. I am thinking about adding some schools to apply to. i am starting to think maybe I did not apply to enough schools. I am scared. I hope everyone is having luck with the process.
 

MedicineMike

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I worked part-time in undergrad but am taking 3 sciences with labs this coming semester and I don't even want to think about working! Much less, 40 hours a week! I have a lot of respect for people that can do this. Im trying to figure out if I can handle working 10-20hrs a week with this schedule. I don't like to have my days completely jam packed though...

Best of luck if you are working 40 hrs and doing pre-reqs...you, and anyone doing this, definitely earns my respect!
 
Oct 4, 2009
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I've worked full-time and taken at least 16 hours each semester (including the summer). It has been quite a journey. But I hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel in another year or so. Lol.
 

beephlatPT

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I am a physical therapist and I'm working full time (contract) and taking O-chem at night. There is no lab for the 1st quarter but there is a lab for the 2nd and 3rd quarter.
I had taken some upper level sciences a couple of years ago, working fulltime and taking 10 semester hours. It can be tough but certainly doable (as demonstrated by many of the amazing people on this board). Next quarter in addition to taking O-chem II with the lab, I'm also going to take genetics, and then o-chem III with lab and molecular/cell bio in the spring.
To the OP, from a fellow member of the rehab team, good luck with everything. I'm sure that you'll do well. Congrats on having the courage to take the plunge!!
 

BWSTW

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I've worked full-time and taken at least 16 hours each semester (including the summer). It has been quite a journey. But I hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel in another year or so. Lol.

Ditto!
 

TheMightySmiter

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Oct 18, 2009
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I have a wife and two young children (ages 5 years and 16 months). I work full time in pharmaceutical manufacturing as a supervisor (50+ hour weeks are common).

I took 9 hours this spring (biology I and Chemistry II) and 18 hours this summer (organic I and II w/ labs and physics I and II w/ labs) while working full time. I also prepared for the MCAT concurrently, and found time to volunteer in the emergency department at our local hospital.

It wasn't fun, but I have managed to make A's and keep my sanity. Folks told me I wouldn't be able to pull it off, but I have. I also got my goal on the MCAT, but I wouldn't have even taken it if I had listened the advice of some.

Pushing myself has been the best thing for me. It has allowed me to test my desire for a career in medicine, and it has put me in a position to apply this year as a competitive applicant at my state school.

Advice from others can be great, but no one person knows your ability better than yourself. Asses your ability and your priorities. Then set a realistic goal and put a plan in place to achieve it. It can be done!
WOW! Can I just say how inspired I am by this? :) I just don't think there's any way I'd be able to handle what you're handling. Huge congrats on your acceptance. This is totally motivating me to study my ass off!
 

zebalong

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I took about 12 semester units while working 36-40+ hours a week as a charge nurse (ED). The hardest part is adjusting (the first 2 months or so) after I built momentum though I just kept going and it doesn't seem so hard any more. I got real good at being efficient with my study time and not necessarily relying on X amount of hours to get an A but instead on an as needed basis. Some concepts/memorization items came easier to me then others so it really depended on what the class was covering at the time. If the class is difficult count on studying or working almost everyday of the week =/. Studying for the MCAT and taking classes (2nd physics and 2nd o-chem) was the hardest semester I had but I survived.
 

jiggz16

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I work 40 hours plus a week and take 7 credits. Last semester I took 9 and it was just too much for me too handle and had to retake a class. The lower the work load the better the GPA.
 

tabishis

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Feb 4, 2009
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Status
I work 40 hours a week. Plus my overal commute time(school+work) is 20 hours. I am taking 7 credits this term. I took 10 credits in summer term. I had to drop CHEM as couldn't handle BIO and CHEM with labs wirh fulltime work. I have been working fulltime since I turned 16. When I turned 18, I started fulltime college(Telecom and Networking) and worked 80+ hours per week. I did that until I turned 25 and finished college with 3.1 GPA. 6 months later I got married.
Now I work only 40 hours a week and it's tough to handle even part time course load. I am only 27 and I feel like I am in my mid-30s already. but I'm determined and I'll get into med school. If not this year then next year. :) My wife's a great help and encourages me everytime I feel discouraged and start losing hope.
It's tough. Really tough. But it can be done. :)