Hi, I have been reading these forums for a while now and would just like to say that everyone on this forum is a source of inspiration and every credit is due to you. To be able to make such a decision with such determination takes a lot of heart. I'm sure people such as yourselves who are willing to sacrafice so much will make fantastic healthcare professionals. The following was meant to be an introduction but it seems to turn into a rant. If you dont feel like reading my life story (I wouldnt ) just skip to the end. When I was much younger, the last thing I ever considered doing was medicine. I used to think it would be an incredibly boring career which would consume your life and spirit. I considered various avenues in the sciences such biomedical engineering and the like. I thought I would have more far reaching effects than by simply dealing with people one by one on a conveyer belt as that is what I considered a doctors job was. That attitude quickly changed when I was about 16. Im not going to get all heavy, but a family member, my father in fact, had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma (a cancer which manifests in the bones). He was diagnosed when I was around ten, but to be quite honest I never really realised what an impact it had made on our family because I was young at the time. Going to hospitals became the norm, watching him swallow fistfuls of pills, going for rad and chemo, seeing him deteriorate every year during the winter, seeing him pull through and stubbornly refuse to lay down..he was an amazing man and I still think about him almost every day. Its sad when I think what it would be like if was still with us and none of this happened. Unfortunately, he passed away in December 2005. He was originally given 3 years, or so I was told when I was later. But due to his own strength and the support from the staff of the hospitals he lived a full and productive 9 and a half years. I dont know why I am saying all this but seeing the impact which the medical profession had on our lives, after all it is a disease which affects the entire family, made a profound impression on me. I decided what I wanted to do with my life. To cut a long story short, I just missed out on medicine. In my country you needed 570 points out of 600, and I got 555. Not wanting to repeat the year, not getting any papers rechecked, and after having a long discussion with my parents I took it as a sign and accepted a place at a prestigious university to study pharmacy. At first I enjoyed it. I had a somewhat sheltered life when I was younger and it was my first time living away from home in a big city! I got drunk, got my first girlfriend, lived the student life and managed to keep up with my studies. Pretty soon however that familiar niggling feeling returned. I suppressed it and kept going. In my second year, my father passed away. The niggling feeling intensified. I began to think I had made a horrible mistake. This led me into a bit of a spiral which led me to question a lot of things and caused me to have to repeat half my final examinations. I felt awful and like I was stuck in a hole. I remember praying and praying to God to let me get into medicine when I was in highschool, I wanted it so bad (And im not even that religious!). I thought to myself what about it, pharmacists can do the same. Its still a good job in the same field. In fact I could probably reel off 100 reasons why pharmacy would be better for me! Then I read a book, "the Alchemist". I know it sounds really cheesy but it had an affect on me. It stirred something that was already inside me. I began looking into other options and quickly discovered that practically 20 mins from my home, in a university where I originally want to be a biomedical engineer, a graduate university (the first of its kind in our country) would be opening around the same time as I graduate. I took this as another omen. Quickly, I knew what I was going to do: apply when I finish. Ironically, the places in this course will be highly sought after and it will be much more difficult to attain a place than through the traditional post highschool scheme. However, I understand that perhaps that was not the path for me. It sounds stupid but I keep thinking to myself that if this what I am meant to do, then it will happen for me. If im not, im not and I accept that. I have redoubled my efforts and kept my plans close to my heart. In my first term back I hit the books and was scoring within the top 10% of my class. I am now focused and know what I want to do. I have redoubled my efforts and understand that practically all the skills I learn here will be invaluable whether or not I succeed. I am currently in my third year and have just one more to go. I am probably the youngest person here, and I know Im going to sicken a lot of people here with my age, but I identify more with the people on these forums. Ill be 21 in my final year, and if all goes to plan, will be entering first year grad school(4 year course) at 22. Which is about the norm for america but not here. This means hopefully Ill graduate and start rounds just around my 27th birthday. The norm here is enter the 5 year course at 18/19. This way only works out a couple of years more than the trad route for me as I was 18 when I started college and med was a 6year course in which case I would begin interning at 25. I hope nobody thinks I am bashing pharmacy, quite the contrary the exposure which I have gotten to other courses (nurses especially) has given me buckets of respect for many people in many courses (and a general disdain for medical students). I know for a fact that there are people in my class who will be fantastic pharms. That is their path, but I dont think it is mine. I could focus on Pharm and I have thought long and hard about it, but if my heart is not in it, I will not be able to function at my best. Sorry if you had to read all that ***End of rant*** I suspose the main reason Im writing this is that if your meant to do something, you are meant to do something. People get discouraged all the time, but the hardest step is always the first. In the end the only thing which can prevent you from following your dream is yourself, no matter what that may be. Someday maybe I will be an oncologist, or at least work in that field, doctor or not. Best of luck to everyone here.