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I have decided to leave medical school in order to go to PA school. Now what?

Golden Yoshi

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    Hello everyone,



    I recently have decided to withdraw from medical school (MS1) in order to hopefully attend PA school in the future. The reason I made the decision was that I believe I was not pursuing medicine for the right reasons. Since I was little I said that I wanted to become a doctor which was supported and somewhat reinforced by my parents. They were so excited and proud of me and because of that I was fearful of disappointing them I never truly explored any other options and justified becoming a doctor because of the prestige and salary. I have always had doubts on whether or not medical school was for me but never acted on those feelings. I also do not want to spend 8+ years in school, I want to be able to enjoy my 20's as much as reasonable possible. My plan now is to work for 2 years in healthcare then start PA school.

    My focus now is on improving my application for PA school. I went to the University of Texas at Austin where I received a BSA in biology. My cumulative GPA is a 3.65 and my science GPA is a 3.5. I still need to take 4 science courses (anatomy, physiology, psych, and sociology) which will hopefully improve my GPA. I believe my GPA won't be an issue, however, my MCAT score is not a strong part of my app as my score was a 503. Do y'all recommend that I include my score in my application or leave it out? Also I have been reading that around a 300-305 on the GRE is a competitive score, is that true?

    Another question I have is about jobs. I do not have work experience in healthcare, as all my experience is from volunteering and shadowing. I know PA school puts a lot more importance on clinical experience. What kind of jobs did you guys have before attending PA school? I am finding it difficult to find a job as I have no experience in healthcare. Thank y'all!
     
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    bulbosity

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      Hello everyone,



      I recently have decided to withdraw from medical school (MS1) in order to hopefully attend PA school in the future. The reason I made the decision was that I believe I was not pursuing medicine for the right reasons. Since I was little I said that I wanted to become a doctor which was supported and somewhat reinforced by my parents. They were so excited and proud of me and because of that I was fearful of disappointing them I never truly explored any other options and justified becoming a doctor because of the prestige and salary. I have always had doubts on whether or not medical school was for me but never acted on those feelings. I also do not want to spend 8+ years in school, I want to be able to enjoy my 20's as much as reasonable possible. My plan now is to work for 2 years in healthcare then start PA school.

      My focus now is on improving my application for PA school. I went to the University of Texas at Austin where I received a BSA in biology. My cumulative GPA is a 3.65 and my science GPA is a 3.5. I still need to take 4 science courses (anatomy, physiology, psych, and sociology) which will hopefully improve my GPA. I believe my GPA won't be an issue, however, my MCAT score is not a strong part of my app as my score was a 503. Do y'all recommend that I include my score in my application or leave it out? Also I have been reading that around a 300-305 on the GRE is a competitive score, is that true?

      Another question I have is about jobs. I do not have work experience in healthcare, as all my experience is from volunteering and shadowing. I know PA school puts a lot more importance on clinical experience. What kind of jobs did you guys have before attending PA school? I am finding it difficult to find a job as I have no experience in healthcare. Thank y'all!

      I'm not sure I'm following your reasoning. While I can understand your decision to withdraw from med school, I'm confused about your subsequent decision to attempt enrollment in a PA program, which itself would be preceded by a 2 year stint working somewhere in health care. It seems your determinative calculus centers around enjoying your 3rd decade, but my question would focus on your overall interest in the medical field. Your plan requires you to work for 2 years, take 4 additional courses, then apply to a PA program that will likely entail 2.5 to 3 additional years,all the while spending significant funds. So realistically you will come out of a PA program about 6 years from now, then begin servicing patients. If you continued in the medical school route, you would have at most 10 more years, or as few as 6 (if you did 3 year residency).

      I do understand your reticence in sacrificing some of the pleasures of 20-something life, and if that is the vastly predominant reasoning in your thought process, ok, but I wonder if there is truly a fundamental appeal that the medical field (including PA) holds for you, or if you might be more fulfilled in another sector. Think hard about this, and please make a good decision!
       
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      Saifa

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        So you've jumped through the staggering amount of hoops to make it to a U.S. medical school, use time commitment as a reason for bailing, and plan on entering a career path that will eat up a comparable amount of time prior to licensure and leave you with way less income and authority?

        Medicine not being "for you" is fine, but if time/quality of life is your primary motivator I (and I believe many others) would urge you to reconsider (assuming you haven't already withdrawn). You had to have some decent thoughts about "why medicine" in your interviews because I doubt "prestige and salary" would have been received very well.
         
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        Medic741

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          Have not wanted to get involved in most posts... but is there any way you can get your seat back?

          M1/2 is a great time to suck it up...

          How has mental health been? It's amazing how much being in a good mind space makes a difference in our goals // aspirations
           
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          new_dood_don't_be_rude

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            You getting into med school with that GPA and MCAT (unless URM) was extremely lucky. I don't understand how the PA route is quicker when that's going to be another 4-5 years in itself. You should have been thankful for the opportunity to go to med school with your stats instead of throw it away and waste more time for a smaller prize at the end.
             

            Pharaoh95

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              This has to be one of the worst high-stakes career decisions I have ever seen. In consideration of the time it will take you to prepare yourself for PA school and then apply, enroll, and graduate, the time differential between that route and medical school will be almost negligible. It would be understandable if you turned to a career in law, engineering, or whatever else, but you are literally pursuing another medical career. Did you not consider that? What on earth were you thinking??
               
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              raiderette

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                I can see this in the long run- most PAs work fewer hours. Get to work now getting those hours. You made your bed, so get clinical hours, take classes. I don't know how PA schools feel about online, but psych and sociology can be done while working full-time.

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                allantois

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                  You better be able to explain your switch in terms of liking the role of a PA, rather than disliking medicine. It's definitely late to apply this cycle, but I'd get a scribing/MA (better) job to work this year and apply next cycle. Most PA students these days do not come from RN/RT backgrounds. Def leave out your MCAT.

                  Here's a video from someone who made the same switch:
                   
                  A

                  AnatomyGrey12

                    The reason I made the decision was that I believe I was not pursuing medicine for the right reasons.

                    So you are switching from medicine to, uh, medicine? Except with less money and autonomy? Yeah that makes a lot of sense.........

                    You getting into med school with that GPA and MCAT (unless URM) was extremely lucky.

                    Not really
                     
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                    Sharknad0

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                      You, 6 years from now working as an ER PA: "Man, if I had done my next 3 years of med school and done 3 (or 4) years of Emergency Medicine residency, I'd be done this (or next) year and be making 3 times as much."


                      Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
                       
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                      Newtonian21

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                        Hello everyone,



                        I recently have decided to withdraw from medical school (MS1) in order to hopefully attend PA school in the future. The reason I made the decision was that I believe I was not pursuing medicine for the right reasons. Since I was little I said that I wanted to become a doctor which was supported and somewhat reinforced by my parents. They were so excited and proud of me and because of that I was fearful of disappointing them I never truly explored any other options and justified becoming a doctor because of the prestige and salary. I have always had doubts on whether or not medical school was for me but never acted on those feelings. I also do not want to spend 8+ years in school, I want to be able to enjoy my 20's as much as reasonable possible. My plan now is to work for 2 years in healthcare then start PA school.

                        My focus now is on improving my application for PA school. I went to the University of Texas at Austin where I received a BSA in biology. My cumulative GPA is a 3.65 and my science GPA is a 3.5. I still need to take 4 science courses (anatomy, physiology, psych, and sociology) which will hopefully improve my GPA. I believe my GPA won't be an issue, however, my MCAT score is not a strong part of my app as my score was a 503. Do y'all recommend that I include my score in my application or leave it out? Also I have been reading that around a 300-305 on the GRE is a competitive score, is that true?

                        Another question I have is about jobs. I do not have work experience in healthcare, as all my experience is from volunteering and shadowing. I know PA school puts a lot more importance on clinical experience. What kind of jobs did you guys have before attending PA school? I am finding it difficult to find a job as I have no experience in healthcare. Thank y'all!
                        I am sorry to say I think you need a mental health or spiritual evaluation. God help you!
                         
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                        Sculptura

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                          OP, this should have been posted in the "Clinicians" section of the forum: Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]

                          You posted this in the "Pre-Medical - MD" section, which is full of pre-meds desperately trying to get into medical school and current medical students. You received the exact reactions you should have been expecting: disapproval, incredulity, and condescension. Ignore these negative comments, and re-post your questions in the correct section of the forums.

                          Anyway, contrary to what many of those in this thread may think, there are some clear advantages to being a PA: less schooling/debt, less legal responsibility and paperwork, far more flexibility when it comes to switching specialties, etc. Indeed, for some people, being a PA would be more rewarding and enjoyable than being an MD or DO.

                          If you've shadowed several PAs, if you've had candid conversations with PAs about the nature of their work, if you've done your research and carefully weighed the advantages and disadvantages of both physician assistantship and medicine... if you've done all of these things and you still think that you'd live a happier, more fulfilling life as a PA, then drop out of medical school and start fulfilling PA pre-reqs, studying for the GRE, gaining clinical experience, etc.

                          Best of luck with your pursuits!
                           
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                          Matthew9Thirtyfive

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                            OP, this should have been posted in the "Clinicians" section of the forum: Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]

                            You posted this in the Pre-Medical - MD" section, which is full of pre-meds desperately trying to get into medical school and current medical students. You received the exact reaction you should have been expecting: disapproval, incredulity, and condescension. Ignore these negative comments, and re-post your questions in the correct section of the forums.

                            Anyway, contrary to what many of those in this thread may think, there are some clear advantages to being a PA: less schooling/debt, less legal responsibility and paperwork, far more flexibility when it comes to switching specialties, etc. Indeed, for some people, being a PA would be more rewarding and enjoyable than being an MD or DO.

                            If you've shadowed several PAs, if you've had candid conversations with PAs about the nature of their work, if you've done your research and carefully weighed the advantages and disadvantages of both physician assistantship and medicine... if you've done all of these things and you still think that you'd live a happier, more fulfilling life as a PA, then drop out of medical school and start fulfilling PA pre-reqs, studying for the GRE, gaining clinical experience, etc.

                            Best of luck with your pursuits!

                            Presenting him with facts is not condescending. He is planning on leaving a career in medicine for another career in medicine...because he went into medicine for the wrong reasons. That makes no sense.

                            What also doesn't make sense is that PA school is 2.5-3 years long, and he won't be able to start for 2 years. That's 4.5-5 years from now graduating as a PA. In 5 years, he'd be a year from finishing his residency (assuming he doesn't pick something like surgery, but even if he did he'd be extremely happy he didn't go to PA school, so it still applies).

                            So it's practice a year earlier with less autonomy and a third of the salary, or practice a year later with full autonomy and $200,000+. And the hours are not that much better. Most PAs are working similar hours doing the more mundane **** the doctors don't need or want to do.
                             
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                            Mad Jack

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                              Didn't you just start MS1? I mean, I guess that's the best time to get out if ever there was one, but MS1 isn't really representative of medical school. The whole "my life won't exist" meme is BS, I've been busy, but even on my vacation months my friends are working as many hours as I am too make ends meet (55-70) at one or multiple jobs so this fantasy medical students have of some 9-5 paradise they're missing out on is ridiculous. Hell, the PAs I work with put in 50-65 hours per week in most fields and make a fraction of their MD counterparts. But you'll figure all that out in time. For now get an EMT certification I guess and take those last few courses at a community college to get them out of the way.
                               
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                              Sculptura

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                                Presenting him with facts is not condescending. He is planning on leaving a career in medicine for another career in medicine...because he went into medicine for the wrong reasons. That makes no sense.

                                Whether it "makes sense" is ultimately up to OP. Physicians and Physician Assistants play different healthcare roles, and some people are better-suited for the latter role than the former role (and vice versa).

                                What also doesn't make sense is that PA school is 2.5-3 years long, and he won't be able to start for 2 years. That's 4.5-5 years from now graduating as a PA. In 5 years, he'd be a year from finishing his residency (assuming he doesn't pick something like surgery, but even if he did he'd be extremely happy he didn't go to PA school, so it still applies).

                                The median length for a PA program is 27 months, or 2.25 years. He would be able to apply in one year, if he gets a full-time healthcare-related job (e.g., caretaker of scribe); he likely has some clinical experience from his pre-med days, as well. If he were to continue on the MD/DO track, he would have 3 more years of medical school and 3 or 4 years of residency. Why should OP spend the next 6 or 7 years working toward a career that he clearly doesn't want?

                                So it's practice a year earlier with less autonomy and a third of the salary, or practice a year later with full autonomy and $200,000+. And the hours are not that much better. Most PAs are working similar hours doing the more mundane **** the doctors don't need or want to do.

                                Physicians work longer hours than PAs, and physicians have to bear far more legal and financial responsibility than PAs.

                                Believe it or not, autonomy and long-term salary prospects aren't everybody's top priorities. People's professional priorities are different. Why are you projecting your professional priorities onto people you don't even know?
                                 
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                                Matthew9Thirtyfive

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                                  Whether it "makes sense" is ultimately up to OP. Physicians and Physician Assistants play different healthcare roles, and some people are better-suited for the latter role than the former role (and vice versa).

                                  Fair enough.

                                  The median length for a PA program is 27 months, or 2.25 years. He would be able to apply in one year, if he gets a full-time healthcare-related job (e.g., caretaker of scribe); he likely has some clinical experience from his pre-med days, as well. If he were to continue on the MD/DO track, he would have 3 more years of medical school and 3 or 4 years of residency. Why should OP spend the next 6 or 7 years working toward a career that he clearly doesn't want?

                                  His plan is to work two years and then apply. That is his timeline, and even if he applied in a year, it would still be two before he started, which means 4 years from now he'd graduate. Assuming he just started M1, he'd be starting residency or starting as a PA. Residency can be as short as 3 years. Even if he's 22, that's only 29 and you're done. When you're 22, "missing out" on your 20s seems like a huge sacrifice. It's not. There is no reason at 30 you can't do more of the things you would have done when you were younger.

                                  Physicians work longer hours than PAs, and physicians have to bear far more legal and financial responsibility than PAs.

                                  PAs get the fast track work or scut work unless they are in primary care with an SP who lets them be pretty autonomous. And if you want to work autonomously in primary care, why wouldn't you just suck up a 3 year residency and then make double your salary with complete autonomy?

                                  If primary care isn't your thing, your trading time in training for lower acuity work and just as many hours. I've never met a PA who worked this mythical fewer hours than the surgeons or EM groups they worked for.

                                  Believe it or not, autonomy and long-term salary prospects aren't everybody's top priorities. People's professional priorities are different. Why are you projecting your professional priorities onto people you don't even know?

                                  I'm not. I'm saying it doesn't make sense based on what he said and the timeline. If you don't like medicine, go into a different field. If all you're doing medicine for is prestige and salary, why would you go to PA school to become a midlevel with no prestige and a relatively low salary?

                                  Edit: I do know two PAs who work fewer hours. They are mom's who work part time at primary care practices. Like 20 hours per week. They are not making bank.
                                   
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                                  organdonor

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                                    I don't have any advice to add per se, but how about I give the OP an out and ask the question instead of him, hypothetically of course

                                    How would your advice change if he was failing medical school or in danger of failing medical school?
                                     

                                    Matthew9Thirtyfive

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                                      I don't have any advice to add per se, but how about I give the OP an out and ask the question instead of him, hypothetically of course

                                      How would your advice change if he was failing medical school or in danger of failing medical school?

                                      Is this really just a hypothetical? If it's for the op as in he may be embarrassed to ask, I'm pretty sure he just started. Like as in he's an M1 whose been in school for like a week. Maybe I read it wrong.
                                       

                                      Prometheus123

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                                        Hello everyone,



                                        I recently have decided to withdraw from medical school (MS1) in order to hopefully attend PA school in the future. The reason I made the decision was that I believe I was not pursuing medicine for the right reasons. Since I was little I said that I wanted to become a doctor which was supported and somewhat reinforced by my parents. They were so excited and proud of me and because of that I was fearful of disappointing them I never truly explored any other options and justified becoming a doctor because of the prestige and salary. I have always had doubts on whether or not medical school was for me but never acted on those feelings. I also do not want to spend 8+ years in school, I want to be able to enjoy my 20's as much as reasonable possible. My plan now is to work for 2 years in healthcare then start PA school.

                                        My focus now is on improving my application for PA school. I went to the University of Texas at Austin where I received a BSA in biology. My cumulative GPA is a 3.65 and my science GPA is a 3.5. I still need to take 4 science courses (anatomy, physiology, psych, and sociology) which will hopefully improve my GPA. I believe my GPA won't be an issue, however, my MCAT score is not a strong part of my app as my score was a 503. Do y'all recommend that I include my score in my application or leave it out? Also I have been reading that around a 300-305 on the GRE is a competitive score, is that true?

                                        Another question I have is about jobs. I do not have work experience in healthcare, as all my experience is from volunteering and shadowing. I know PA school puts a lot more importance on clinical experience. What kind of jobs did you guys have before attending PA school? I am finding it difficult to find a job as I have no experience in healthcare. Thank y'all!

                                        Based on your post, am I right in guessing that your folks are East Asian? My wife is South Asian, so I sympathize with the unique pressures that Asian parents can exert on their kids. My father-in-law wanted to be a physician but couldn't because of his circumstances, so he made my wife and her sister become doctors. My wife was never sure that medicine was the right career for her. She got severely bullied in medical school too. The only thing that kept her going was her side career as a model. At the time, she felt like not finishing med school and just switching to modeling full time. But she stuck it out anyway because she had made it that far, purely for the sake of finishing what she started.

                                        Years later, she's extremely grateful that she decided to finish. She knows that no matter what happens in life, she earned her doctorate in medicine and no one can ever take that away from her. And once she started practicing, she fell in love with it. She hated medical school, but she loves being a physician.

                                        So you entered med school for the wrong reasons just like she did (parents). What I would suggest is taking this opportunity to do some soul-searching about what really matters to you in life, and what's going to matter to you long-term. Think of it this way: if you were your own parent, what would you want for you? What will you want in 20 years?

                                        Note that this is different than what you feel right now. It's always darkest before the dawn. In my experience, the desire to give up always comes right before a major breakthrough. The trick is to ignore that feeling and keep going anyway. If you do, you may find that amazing things start to happen in your life.

                                        Also, as others have pointed out, it isn't clear that the PA path will actually save you that much time. Is it possible the stress is just getting to you? That's OK, med school is stressful. The key is to practice skills to manage your stress. Personally, I'm a big fan of meditation, exercise, sauna, social connection, and laughing at hilarious things. Have you seen Rick and Morty? See an episode of that, take care of yourself, pick a couple strategies to manage your stress and do them for 20 minutes every day, give it some time, and reflect deeply before making a decision. Best wishes in whatever you decide to do! :)
                                         
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                                        Kingsmen2018

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                                          Dropping out of med school to just become an assistant of a doc.

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                                          Piglet2020

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                                            If OP doesn't want to become a doctor, then isn't it better he made this decision now rather than 20 years down the road when he realizes he hates this career? I know I wouldn't want a doc treating me if I knew he wanted to leave the profession b/c it's too tough.
                                             
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                                            Matthew9Thirtyfive

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                                              If OP doesn't want to become a doctor, then isn't it better he made this decision now rather than 20 years down the road when he realizes he hates this career? I know I wouldn't want a doc treating me if I knew he wanted to leave the profession b/c it's too tough.

                                              I don't think anyone is saying he should become a doc if he doesn't want to do medicine. If he really doesn't want to go into medicine, he should do something different. PA isn't the answer if you don't like medicine, particularly if your motivation was salary and prestige.
                                               
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                                              Prometheus123

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                                                If OP doesn't want to become a doctor, then isn't it better he made this decision now rather than 20 years down the road when he realizes he hates this career? I know I wouldn't want a doc treating me if I knew he wanted to leave the profession b/c it's too tough.

                                                Fair point. Surprising things can happen though. To go back to my example, you'd never know that my wife ever had doubts about med school now. I remember random people came up to her a couple of times in Mumbai and thanked her for saving their such and such a relative's life. Meanwhile I just sort of stood there awkwardly like uh, I corrected the grammar on some Facebook posts for a bank today, so....

                                                My point is, she had great patient satisfaction, great patient outcomes (as much as can be expected), other physicians respected her and were glad to have her on the team, even the nurses loved her. Then we picked up and moved to Dubai and she made all those things happen again. In fact, she loves serving patients so much that she's essentially retaught herself the entire first two years' medical school curriculum to get a really competitive score on Step 1 so she can get matched for residency here. So she's sort of chosen to finish med school twice now, if you will. 50% of doctors said they wouldn't go to medical school again if they had to do it over again, so that says something.

                                                So no, I wouldn't want a physician who hates their career. However, I think it's possible that the OP might actually find that he loves his career once he gets over the humps. Or maybe not. I just want to make sure the OP considers all his options carefully before making any decisions.
                                                 
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                                                PreMedMissteps

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                                                  Anyone know if the OP were to do this would he have to disclose his med school attendance for a week or two on a future PA school app?? And if so, would having to say he quit after the first or second week hurt his chances for another medical profession?
                                                   
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                                                  raiderette

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                                                    Anyone know if the OP were to do this would he have to disclose his med school attendance for a week or two on a future PA school app?? And if so, would having to say he quit after the first or second week hurt his chances for another medical profession?
                                                    OP would have to report it and it would show up on an educational database if the school checks.
                                                     
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                                                    21Rush12

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                                                      This whole thing doesn't add up to me. Leaving MD school to hopefully go to PA school, that MCAT score, I am really lost here. Why make the decision to leave without a guaranteed spot? How is the backup plan of PA any different than MD was as far as reasons to pursue it?

                                                      I think the reason we are hearing 10 reasons that you left medical school is because you're hoping that one of them is what we want to hear, rather than the real cause of all this. I cannot believe that you would go through the process of matriculating at a medical school with that GPA/MCAT combination and give up on it after less than a month.


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                                                      precisiongraphic

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                                                        This whole thing doesn't add up to me. Leaving MD school to hopefully go to PA school, that MCAT score, I am really lost here. Why make the decision to leave without a guaranteed spot? How is the backup plan of PA any different than MD was as far as reasons to pursue it?

                                                        I think the reason we are hearing 10 reasons that you left medical school is because you're hoping that one of them is what we want to hear, rather than the real cause of all this. I cannot believe that you would go through the process of matriculating at a medical school with that GPA/MCAT combination and give up on it after less than a month.


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                                                        Agreed.

                                                        OP is long gone, though, I think.
                                                         

                                                        On_The_Way_Up

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                                                          Didn't you just start MS1? I mean, I guess that's the best time to get out if ever there was one, but MS1 isn't really representative of medical school. The whole "my life won't exist" meme is BS, I've been busy, but even on my vacation months my friends are working as many hours as I am too make ends meet (55-70) at one or multiple jobs so this fantasy medical students have of some 9-5 paradise they're missing out on is ridiculous. Hell, the PAs I work with put in 50-65 hours per week in most fields and make a fraction of their MD counterparts. But you'll figure all that out in time. For now get an EMT certification I guess and take those last few courses at a community college to get them out of the way.

                                                          Exactly and it's another reason why this is a bad decision. I shadowed a doctor and was also with the PAs. They worked just as many hours most weeks. If OP thinks there will be more social and family time as a PA then depending what field as a PA, could be wrong.
                                                           
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                                                          Golden Yoshi

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                                                            Hello everyone,

                                                            Sorry I haven't responded to all the replies but I greatly appreciate everyone's input. I will get back to them. I do still have a spot for next year as I took a LOA. So I will have a year to really figure things out and decide if I want to do medical school.
                                                             
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                                                            mistafab

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                                                              Look dude - if this is what your heart tells you, then go for it.

                                                              I can't tell you that it is a good idea in my eyes - I am a med student who loves what I am doing. I enjoy my life a lot, and yes I am in my twenties. However, I am not you.

                                                              There is no need for you to be a doctor if it is something you do not want to do.
                                                               
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                                                              21Rush12

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                                                                Hello everyone,

                                                                Sorry I haven't responded to all the replies but I greatly appreciate everyone's input. I will get back to them. I do still have a spot for next year as I took a LOA. So I will have a year to really figure things out and decide if I want to do medical school.

                                                                I am very happy to hear this...take this time to figure out what the real story is. You are only accountable to yourself, and you need to take the time to decide what you really want and gain some perspective.

                                                                We are not going anywhere, and if things come up you know where to find answers to questions you may have.

                                                                Best of luck to you!


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