medstudent123

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icebrat001 said:
Is it paid on a monthly or yearly basis?


Also, if one does not match into neurosugery, what happens? Are you out of the game for a year, try a different speciality, what?


Also, it is recommended to get a MS or a PhD to better my chances of becoming a neurosurgeon?

Should I major in neuroscience in undergrad?
you asked some good questions, and it's good you are thinking ahead, and i'll just give you my take on it. (although my best advice is to enjoy the journey, and pursue what you love.) i'm sure others may have different opinions. (i'm just a first year med student, so take it with a grain of salt)

you will have your usmle step 1 score by the time you apply for residency, and your med school dean should advise you based on your 'competitiveness', such as step 1 score, grades, research, AOA, etc. if you are a strong candidate, you'd still be advised to apply to a broad range of programs, from your highly-competitive 'dream residency program' to programs you have a 'strong chance of getting in' (if there is such a thing in neurosurgery)

for neuro residency you are required to do one year of general surgery (surgery preliminary), the matching for which is sometimes separate (unless the neuro program combines that first year, you might end up doing 1 yr general surgery at one place, and the rest of neuro somewhere else), so, even if you don't match to neuro anywhere, hopefully you matched to a general surgery prelim, and i think you could apply again. if you still dont match, then you are in a tight spot.

alternatively, i've heard of students applying to multiple specialties simultaneously, but that's rare.

as far as MS/PhD, i think it helps, but like many people have told me, do it only if that (research) is what you love. don't do it just to be competitive. MD/PhD + neuro residency is a looong time to commit. something like over half the med students change their mind about specialties during med school.

as far as majoring in neuroscience in undergrad, i dont think that's necessary, but if it's what you love, then go for it! but make sure you have a broad and solid science foundation. college is a time to figure out what interests you. so explore and get a taste of different subjects.

but most importantly, enjoy your college experience! take it one step at a time.

i hope some of that helped.
 
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icebrat001

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medstudent123 said:
you asked some good questions, and it's good you are thinking ahead, and i'll just give you my take on it. (although my best advice is to enjoy the journey, and pursue what you love.) i'm sure others may have different opinions. (i'm just a first year med student, so take it with a grain of salt)

you will have your usmle step 1 score by the time you apply for residency, and your med school dean should advise you based on your 'competitiveness', such as step 1 score, grades, research, AOA, etc. if you are a strong candidate, you'd still be advised to apply to a broad range of programs, from your highly-competitive 'dream residency program' to programs you have a 'strong chance of getting in' (if there is such a thing in neurosurgery)

for neuro residency you are required to do one year of general surgery (surgery preliminary), the matching for which is sometimes separate (unless the neuro program combines that first year, you might end up doing 1 yr general surgery at one place, and the rest of neuro somewhere else), so, even if you don't match to neuro anywhere, hopefully you matched to a general surgery prelim, and i think you could apply again. if you still dont match, then you are in a tight spot.

alternatively, i've heard of students applying to multiple specialties simultaneously, but that's rare.

as far as MS/PhD, i think it helps, but like many people have told me, do it only if that (research) is what you love. don't do it just to be competitive. MD/PhD + neuro residency is a looong time to commit. something like over half the med students change their mind about specialties during med school.

as far as majoring in neuroscience in undergrad, i dont think that's necessary, but if it's what you love, then go for it! but make sure you have a broad and solid science foundation. college is a time to figure out what interests you. so explore and get a taste of different subjects.

but most importantly, enjoy your college experience! take it one step at a time.

i hope some of that helped.
Thanks for the response. I've wanted to be a neurosurgeon since I was 7 years old, I don't know how I got hooked on it.

Nonetheless, I love science and I find it difficult to focus on the humanities and such, it's just not me. While I got a B+ in my english classes it hard not for the class itself but for lack on interested.

Moreover, I don't think I will ever enjoy my "college experience". I started at UC Berkeley back in 2001 after a semester I dropped out due to lack of money and have spent several years at a community college taking every science course available. I'll be done with my pre reqs in the fall. But I won't have enough money saved to go to a 4 year, so i'll take more classes and eventually get to a 4 year, get those crazy upper division courses out of the way and get to the fun stuff (medical school, my dream).

I've heard from many people that once you are in medical school you change your mind on what you want to do. However, I am fearful that if I stick with neuro (99.99998% sure I will) that I won't be matched into a program because of my history and I want some sort of edge.

Am I losing my mind?
 

medstudent123

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absolutely not! it seems like you've had a unique and perhaps difficult experience with college. That is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it gives you a chance to prove you are determined and persistent, and i think that's definitely an 'edge.' (but ultimately, the only 'edge' for neurosurgery will be your med school grades, board score, willingness to work hard and ability to work well with others (hence getting good letters of recommendation), etc.)

as far as I know, where you went to college (or how), has very little bearing in the residency selection process. once you start med school, you have a fresh new start. work hard and do well in med school, and good things will follow.

furthermore, try to figure out why you like about neuro. what are your personal motivations? have you considered other surgical specialities? how about neurology (which is less competitive), or psychiatry. also, i think you will discover many other fields that will interest you in med school. neurosurgery does sound like the coolest job in the world :) it has the prestige; the brain is fascinating; but other specialties also have that. and there are other ways to 'probe' the brain, besides using a bipolar :)

for now, focus on doing well on the MCAT :) if you have not done so, shadow some doctors, any type of doctors. if you can find a neurosurgeon who is willing to talk to you and let you observe him in surgery, that'd be an awesome experience. (that's actually what hooked me).

final comment about the money situation. med school (unless it's an instate school with low tuition) will cost a fortune. average debt ranges something like 80-120K. add on another 7 years of residency, where you are working 80 hours/wk (not so bad compared to the good old days) and getting paid 35K/yr, it'll be a while before you could pay it off. medicine is a HUGE investment. just something to keep in mind.

determination is good, but keep your mind open too. there's no way anybody is 99.99+% set on neurosurgery. :) if you are, then you are missing a huge part of the picture. there are many neurosurgery residents who aren't so sure about their choice of specialty :) make sure you have sampled enough of the other specialties before setting your mind. and most med students dont do that until after their third year.

best of luck!
 

ny skindoc

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icebrat001 said:
Thanks for the response. I've wanted to be a neurosurgeon since I was 7 years old, I don't know how I got hooked on it.

Nonetheless, I love science and I find it difficult to focus on the humanities and such, it's just not me. While I got a B+ in my english classes it hard not for the class itself but for lack on interested.

Moreover, I don't think I will ever enjoy my "college experience". I started at UC Berkeley back in 2001 after a semester I dropped out due to lack of money and have spent several years at a community college taking every science course available. I'll be done with my pre reqs in the fall. But I won't have enough money saved to go to a 4 year, so i'll take more classes and eventually get to a 4 year, get those crazy upper division courses out of the way and get to the fun stuff (medical school, my dream).

I've heard from many people that once you are in medical school you change your mind on what you want to do. However, I am fearful that if I stick with neuro (99.99998% sure I will) that I won't be matched into a program because of my history and I want some sort of edge.

Am I losing my mind?
Most people dont have the faintest idea of what a particular specialty is like until they are confronted with it in med school even then its hard to be sure.The idealized view of various medical specialties on TV and movies can be very misleading.The absolute intensity and demanding nature of neurosurgey training and practice is for a very select group.You may well be in that group but you should not be overly focused on it.Concentrate on your your overall interest in medicine as that is what it will take to get in and through med school.If you are very interested in neurosciences then by all means major in it,but not because it will help you match in nerosurgey( I doubt it will make a difference)You will have plenty of opportunity to demonstrate your interest and mastery of neurosciences in med school.