BC_89

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I am currently a first year first semester pharmacy school student, and definitely hating it. Yes, it is only September, but I have also worked in a pharmacy for 8 months and am quickly realizing that this is not where I want to be. I want to have real interactions with my patients and help in the diagnosis and healing process, not just give them medications every month. I know clinical pharmacy is a place I could work, but with the pharmacy job market as bad as it is, I don't want to risk it. Plus, after 6 years of pharmacy school and 2 years of residency I would basically be in the same place as a doctor graduating from medical school would be anyway. After all of that, I wanted to ask how this would look on medical school applications. I want to finish out this semester and then drop back down to being a regular student, and finish out either a biology or chemistry degree and apply to medical school. I am currently doing very well in classes, they really aren't hard, so would dropping back down look bad, even if I finish this semester with all A's? I currently have 77 non-pharmacy credit hours and a 3.97 GPA. Not that it counts now, but I made a 32 on the ACT and an 88 on the PCAT. And I'm technically a junior, so is it too late to even try to start shadowing or research? I've been in pharmacy clubs and leadership organizations, but no biology or chemistry clubs. Any advice on how to navigate this would be very helpful!

Based on you giving information about your ACT scores, I take it you joined a 0-6 program straight out of high school? Or are you a nontraditional student as this forum implies?

Reason I'm asking is twofold. When you say your doing fine your first semester of pharmacy, do you really mean your doing fine with first semester of pre-requisite courses in preparation for the actual pharmacy school doctorate program? Or did you finish your two-years of pre-requisites and this is actually your first semester toward the Doctorate Program and not pre-requisites for straight matriculation?

Depending how you answer these and what your program does, most pharmacy path degrees actually offer a bachelors in pharmaceutical science upon completion of so many credit hours in the program. I would highly suggest you do this if your program falls in this category. I urge this because dropping down from school is implying that you are "running from pharmacy" and toward something else blindly. How many hours have you shadowed a physician? Have you worked as a scribe? Why the change all of a sudden (8 months of retail within the year of joining the program doesn't look good as far as due diligence in a professional program).

However, if you went straight into the pharmacy program from high school that does not offer a bachelors (double check with your student affairs office), then finish strong and then make the switch. Write it off as being "young and inexperienced" and focus on keeping your GPA high. Shadow Shadow Shadow and shadow some more. Not just physicians but dentists, physical therapists, PAs, NPs, all of them. As long as your GPA is high and you have community service and ECs checked off, you will be fine.
 

BC_89

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Based on you verifying some new information you have a bit of an interesting scenario but first:

1) You're not an idiot
2) I went ahead and moved this to the pre-med forum as it sounds like your making the transition to a short term goal for a long term investment outside of pharmacy toward pre-med.

I am now under the assumption that your father transferred 100% of his GI Bill benefits to you but you have not utilized any of it yet correct? If this is true, my next question is did he leave the service within the last 3 years or did he qualify for the Hazelwood Act (Texas Resident when enlisted)? You may qualify for instate tuition rate in all 50 states depending how this is answered plus 150 credits paid for under the Hazelwood act depending on your fathers state of residence when enlisted.

As for officially starting on your doctorate: Academic wise if you can keep them grades high, you will look good transitioning out with a bachelors and focus more in depth on other courses and MCAT after you have medicinal chemistry, therapeutics, and pharmacology courses under your belt. The cost though is not something I am for. If you truly have an opportunity to cross over the majority of your credit hours and get a scholarship to pay for the rest of your undergraduate degree of choice, I would choose the latter and minimize your debt. The other option (assuming again your living at home with parents) is you could use the GI Bill to cover your pharmaceutical degree at a doctorate level and pocket the housing stipend you would get ($12,000 to $27,000 a year tax exempt plus $1,000 annual book stipend you can pocket). I don't recommend this unless you still have scholarships to cover the remainder of your undergrad when you transition out with a bachelors. Your studies for MCAT will be a bit easier with upper science courses and a degree to show for it in the doctoral program plus your not behind your peers. Between what you pocket from GI Bill and shadowing experience, you still could use the remainder of the GI Bill toward medical school (though I'd save it all for medical school and use the scholarship in undergrad to once again alleviate your debt).

Working as in intern is good, but you need to actually volunteer and shadow physicians. Think of working as an intern as "other" healthcare experience but not quiet what admins may or may not be looking at. Remember, the red flag is that you're leaving one professional degree for another. Your youth and GI Bill entitlements may be the key and story to turn this around and put you on the path right with your peers.
 
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BC_89

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Yes, he transferred 100% to me! He left in 2013, and we do not qualify for the Hazelwood Act. I plan to go in state, but I'm in the Midwest so I have a lot of options around me. I met with a faculty advisor for chemistry and I am actually still on track to complete a Biochemistry degree with a Biology minor by Spring 2021, my original graduation year. My original tuition scholarship will pay for the rest of the Biochemistry degree as well. I plan to stay on track and get a 4.0 this semester (the only thing that ever tripped me up was an Organic I lab) and I with all my first exams over, I'm pretty sure I can do it. If I can show them that pharmacy school wasn't too hard for me and that I only left because I realized it wasn't my passion, I'm hoping that will make it look a smidge less bad. I have sent emails already today to doctors about shadowing, and I have already asked my anatomy professor for a TA position next semester (she said yes) along with asking my biochem professor if I could research with her (she said yes as well) What kind of volunteering would you recommend? I have a lot of pharmacy related volunteering but obviously I need to steer away from that. Do I try to volunteer at a hospital, or local clinic? And I have been told I should take the MCAT next summer, but I don't know if I can fit any studying in this semester. It isn't very hard, but it is very time consuming. Would December to May be adequate study time for a good MCAT score? I'm a pretty decent test taker but I know the MCAT is a whole different animal. Thanks again for your time & help!

As long as that scholarship deal goes through I think that's a pretty solid plan. Any volunteer work is good. Specific church organizations and callings can fulfill that as well as going to your shelter and give your time. Be generous but diligent with physicians on actually shadowing and having it recorded while your in school. The more the better, but you want to check off every box you can in preparations for the next few years. As far as putting in time for the MCAT I always say no rush. If you feel you cant juggle that at a given period of time then wait 'til you can. You do not want to be that "guy" or "gal" that felt they needed to cram and have to retake that test. Sit for it once and be done with it in your own time budget.

Save that GI Bill for medical school and protect that GPA. Sounds like at this point you have a sold plan ahead of you. Take it one step at a time and doors will open up for you (your not behind in schooling so don't feel rushed).
 
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candbgirl

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Just a couple of things to help you out. You really only need 50 hours of physician shadowing. Make sure you have some primary care shadowing. You also need some clinical experience. I know you probably have direct patient contact with some of your pharmacy stuff. But it will be beneficial for your application to have direct patient interaction in a clinical setting. That can be a hospital, hospice, free clinic, etc.. You need 150+ Hours of this activity. It can be paid or volunteer. You also need nonclinical volunteering to the unserved/underserved in your community. You might have this covered. Your plans to be a TAband do some research are good. Just keep at it. Good luck.
 
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pharmacystudent2019

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Graduated from a pharm program and applying this cycle. PM me if you have any pharmacy-related/transition-to-premed questions - I'd be glad to help :)
 
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