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If I could do it over again...

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - DO' started by HooahDOc, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. HooahDOc

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    Hopefully this thread will help out those who are just starting or are about to start. Those of us about to head to med school, or who are finishing ugrad and moving to the next step should explain (a) what we did and (b) what we would do if we could do it over again.

    (A) What I did
    I started out at a large (30,000+ student body) 4-year college as undecided, which I was until the school forced me to pick something. I chose Psychology and worked on this degree for a year. I decided I liked chemistry and switch to that. Realize I would have to take 12 hours of stuff on top of my requirements, so I switched back to psychology. My last year I realized I really enjoyed philosophy and did really well in it. Did the typical volunteering yadda yadda, then graduated -- and didn't get into med school my first time. Now I"m stuck with a crummy $10/hr job while trying to pay bills and reapply and try to finish my phlebotomy clinicals. I also have $40,000 in ugrad loans.

    (B) What I would do
    I would have started out at a 2-year college. Here, I would have knocked out my gen ed courses and most of the pre-med requirements (because it's CHEAPER). While at the tech college, I would have completed some sort of medical training, either EMT, Phlebotomy, or a diploma in Surgical Technology. I would have started working in whatever field PT and transferred to a smaller 4-year college.

    I would have double majored in Philosophy/Psychology while taking some upper-level science courses to fulfill elective requirements. I would have done this while working PT in whatever medical field I chose.

    I feel doing this would (a) have greatly improved my undergraduate experience and (b) made any lag years while applying to med school much easier to handle. I also would have come out with around half of my current undergrad debt.
     
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  3. crys20

    crys20 make it happen!
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    Not cared about getting a BS versus BA in biology. The BS required calc II which I knew I was going to be horrible at; got a D and because of that D my science GPA was a 3.35 when it would have been a 3.53 without it (for the MD schools at least, DO schools don't count math so it was a 3.53).

    Not stressed over freshman year Cs in gen chem.
     
  4. carn311

    carn311 Dead tired.
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    I did community college senior year of high school and another year after that. Transfered to a large university, got my EMT-B, and I now ride my own night every week with just a driver. By what you said I did everything right. But you know what? I wish I became a paramedic from the getgo and majored in something fun like music or english and I wish that I did some research and I wish...

    My point is the grass is always greener on the other side. ENJOY where you are! My wife pointed out my dreary premed attitude a few weeks back and since then i've actually been trying to enjoy this hellish experience...and its really helped. Theres nothing wrong with the premis of this thread but it comes off like youre a little down. Try to stop thinking of what could have been and be happy with where you are. :D Its not worth the stress IMO
     
  5. FutureDocDO

    FutureDocDO 1K Member
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    I would have majored in something like Nursing or Business as they are degrees that I can fall back on if medical school doesn't work out.

    If I had known better I wouldn't go to state university...private college is much better and more personable. I found out the hard way after two years at a state university then transfer to a private college. It doesn't cost much more to attend a private college! <--big misconception

    I agree with JKDMed that I should have taken what I can at a community college to save on money then transfer.
     
  6. carn311

    carn311 Dead tired.
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    lol :laugh:

    Read my signature and you'll know why I agree with this regret!
     
  7. Megalofyia

    Megalofyia 425 lbs and growing
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    I would have gone to UT Austin instead of a small private school. Majored in engineering or something other than biochemisty. I like math and started on the path to engineering before I got my acceptance. I was enjoying it and realize now it would have been a better major for me.
    I would have put a lot more into studying during the week and partied harder on the weekends.
    I loved my extracurriculars and volunteer stuff so there's no way in the world I would have changed that.
     
  8. FutureDocDO

    FutureDocDO 1K Member
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    :laugh: When the student body consisted of 20,000 plus students there's not a single night when there isn't some kind of partteeying going on. It's mind boggling that I remembered anything from my first two years.
     
  9. Jezzielin

    Jezzielin Senior Member
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    I think I definately would have majored in something different that Physio. Don't get me wrong it is facinating but I think I would have majored in a couple foreign languages and just done my prereqs. My science GPA would have been alot better.

    Also, I would have not listened to my advisor to take Biochem, Physio, and Physics all together. Def killed me.

    But those are just thoughts, no regrets here. I met some great people and still deepened my passion to be a physician. :oops:
     
  10. aflo

    aflo Member
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    I would say if I had to advise about anything it would be the MCAT. I never really anticipated how important one day and one test would be.

    I did very well in undergraduate classes so my GPA is not in question, but what prevented me from going to my top 2 choice for schools was my MCAT score.

    To give you some background, I did all my pre-req classes my first two years of school. With the remaining time, I finish a general business degree. Upon graduation, I was not sure of what I wanted to do. So I pursued my business degree, instead of medical school. Four years later, went back to the application process, which was 6 years away from my pre-req sciences. Therefore, I wonder how I would have done, taking the MCAT much earlier with the classes still fresh in my mind. I would have gone back sooner also. That aside, whenever you take the MCAT, take time off of work, school, whatever and concentrate on it.

    Now as for pre-med education, if you take classes at a community college verses a university, take upper division science classes at the university. Some schools really don't like to see the community college, because they think they are easier.

    All-in-all be a well rounded person and be you, follow what is in your own heart. That how I now sit with 3 acceptances more than last year.
     
  11. CoverMe

    CoverMe Registered Republican
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    How strange... i was just thinking about that this morning, while driving to school.

    Of the many things i would do differently...

    I would have bought the Exam Krackers (or similar) books my freshman year... not really to study them, but because when I was doing the whole "academic bullemia" thing, and just learning the material enough to ace the exam and not remember it a week later... well, I could have looked through those books. Knowing that i was going to have to know this stuff in a couple of years, (and I mean SPECIFICALLY, not just in the general/vague sense of "i'm going to need to know this later") would have focused me. And concise explanations and the practice problems wouldn't have hurt my performance in the exam or the MCAT.

    I'm using the BRS books to study for classes now... it's all about "high yield" and focusing on the things that are going to get you where you need to go.

    Also leave room for changing your mind. I came to this field after 8 years in another career, this doesn't have to be the only thing you'll ever do. Medicine is always going to be here, there will always be a need for physicians. Go do whatever you need/want to do. If you come back to it, you were meant to.

    Finally, I would recommend reading "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. It's a short quick read, a tale about following your dreams. It just takes a couple of hours, and it may change how you look at this crazy journey to achieve your dreams.

    :luck: Best of luck :luck:
     
  12. BMW19

    BMW19 Senior Member
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    Would have become a carpet cleaner instead of a Doctor! Had my carpet cleaned today and it can range from $40-$100 depending on the size of the apt. My guy told me he does about 8-10 per day and works 5 days a week. You do the math. This doesn't even include tips. Worst stress he has to deal with is cat hair and bleach stains!!

    Anyway, kidding aside (sort of) I would recommend taking tough sciences over the summer at a semi-decent private school. Really lightens your load during the year and makes it less stressful. Yes it kind of ruins your summer (i.e. taking O. chem while your buddies are at the beach) but it pays off. Plus you can work PT since the courses are usually accelerated.

    BMW-




     
  13. FutureDocDO

    FutureDocDO 1K Member
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    I will have to agree on this one. I only did this my last two years not because I wanted a lighter schedule during the school year. I spent my last two summers of college retaking classes I screwed up on my first two years at the university.
     
  14. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    Well, my story is kinda of long, so I'll try to condense it.

    What I did:
    I started out alright. Got into a top college known for its premed program. Then I got bogged down in the nitty gritty of it. Should have realized top high school student != top college student. So I took too many courses, then crashed and burned. I decided to quit premed and finish my engineering degree and work for a while. But before I did that, decided to finish my degree in the five year BS-MS program (yeah, advisors will ALWAYS want you to do more school). Then I went to work at a job I hated, and realized I wanted to do medicine. I quit to focus on medical school, and I'm here now with at least one acceptance, and hopefully many more!

    What I should have done:
    I should have said 'no' to the five year program. I should have said no to the excessive classes I was taking in college. I should have realized college is totally different than high school and tried to lighten my load. I also should have spread out my year, taken the MCAT senior year (instead of end of sophomore year) and spent a year doing something nonacademic while applying to med school. I wouldn't have wasted my time doing a five year program, and I wouldn't have wasted money on spending an extra long year in school. In the end, I think I have strengthened my resolve to go med (sounds like my personal statement!) but I think I could have taken a short route to get to where I am.

    What I don't regret doing:
    Getting an engineering degree. Seriously, I got a good deal with this. I wasn't much of a programmer per se, but the fact I got an engineering degree from a good school probably made it easy for me to get a "real" job right out of college. I did not realize that alot of college grads still did temp work post graduation until I saw some of my friends struggle with getting a decent job. I guess all those nights in the computer lab actually paid off. I also paid off my college debt and it's nice to know I'm semi-marketable if this med school didn't work out. ;)
     
  15. Dr. MTB

    Dr. MTB Member
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    I just have to add this for any of u that hold acceptences and will be starting next fall. TAKE A GROSS ANATOMY COURSE BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS!!!!!!
     
  16. ClubberLang

    ClubberLang Member
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    WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE:

    1. Don't listen to the fools who tell you "you'll never get in with so-and-so grades or MCAT scores." They are the ones that are usually going nowhere.

    2. Chill out about getting some C's freshman year. By the time senior year roles around, they are a distant memory and an insignificant blemish.

    3. ENJOY YOURSELF WHATEVER YOU DO!!!
     
  17. iwillbesoon

    iwillbesoon Member
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    What I did: A few days before college began, I switched from Augstana (private) to a state university. I was pre-med - Bio and English major. I dropped the English down to a minor and picked up a Chem minor on the way. I took one of the Kaplan classes for the MCAT and applied on the "normal" timeline....but I didn't turn in most of my secondaries until December. Too late. I am taking a "year off" and doing graduate cancer research, which is actually very fun. I reapplied this year and didn't change a thing - except that I had those secondaries DONE the day after I got them. I interviewed early and I have three acceptances & I'm waiting on results from two interviews. I worked all through school part time in a pharmacy and as a lifeguard.

    What I would have done differently: Not much. The state school worked out very well for me, and I was able to graduate with no debt. I had a gazillion credits when I graduated because I took summer classes. I LOVED taking Organic over the summer. The MCAT class forced me to study - even though it wasted some of my time since it was over an hour away. I do wish I could have taken Anatomy. The structure of my school made it almost impossible to take if you had to take Physics and Organic - which I did. I wish I would have realized the importance of getting those stupid secondaries in on time, as that would have saved me much money and time... I keep telling my friends who are applying now to GET THEM IN, but they seem to think the deadlines of March 1 are good enough.
     
  18. nrddct

    nrddct carlover
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    I have agree with those that advise one to enjoy themselves. Grades are important, but so is a social life.

    I would not have gone to a state school, espeicially mine where a majority of students were international or professionals coming back for school. Student life was nonexistent. :mad: EVen though I was interested in medicine, I would have majored in something like business or finance. Sounds like a BS degree in undergrad, but at least you can work in a entry level professional job once you graduate. I tired of working stupid hourly wage jobs at 26 while most of my non premed friends are making $35-40K already.

    However, given all the "would haves" I'm going to med school next year so it was all worth it in the end. :D
     
  19. Hoberto

    Hoberto Squirrel Girl
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    There are only a few things I wish I had realized just out of high school, 13 years ago.

    1. Anyone can be a doctor. You don't have to be wealthy. You don't have to have connections. (You don't even have to be particularly bright.) You just have to want to do it. If I had realized this sooner I'd be a doctor right now.

    2. Students loans are not evil. I wish I had just taken out loans and cut back on the work hours. Taking a full-time course load and working full-time is just stupid and not necessary.

    3. Pick a major! I switched majors over and over again, including such things as: music, education, english, math and finally engineering.

    4. The MCAT is not an IQ based test. It is about what you know. Study for it, especially if those pre-reqs were some time ago.


    Of course, if I had realized all these things earlier I'd be a much different person. I wouldn't have the experience of home ownership at age 18. I wouldn't have had time or money to visit Hawaii. I never would have met my husband. However, maybe my experiences make me stand out a little in this whole process.
     

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