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is this wrong?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jwtaylor, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. jwtaylor

    jwtaylor Member
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    im a sophomore psychology/soc major. i was doing the pre-med classes and such, but i enjoyed my psych-soc classes so much and felt that the bio and chem were such a bother that i dropped them in order to concentrate on my psych soc stuff. my problem is that i would like one day to become a physician...its not that i dont like bio and chem and stuff, but i just dont want to study it right now. is that perhaps a sign that medicine is not for me? in addition, i plan on putting off the pre-reqs completely until after i graduate. does anyone see any problems with my approach here?
     
  2. einnewt

    einnewt Member
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    While medical schools do not much care what you choose to major in as long as you do well, they do like to see that you have a sustained interest in medicine and the basic sciences which are its foundation. If you choose to postpone your pre-reqs--and they can be done in two years taking only one course per quarter/semester (not a big deal)--you better do substantial medically related volunteer work and/or employment to demonstrate your motivation for medicine.

    Furthermore, I will go out on a limb and say that if you are balking at such a modest requirement (i.e. Gen Chem, Gen Biol, O Chem and Physics), science, and thus medicine, is likely not for you. The vast majority of successful pre-meds I have met have had at least some intrinsic fascination with science (of the physical and biological variety), which is not to say that the pre-reqs were a joy for them, either. And to be quite frank, your claim that you just want to focus on other things is not compelling, to put it mildly, to me or to an admissions committee I would guess. There is no reason that you can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

    Why not show them that you can pursue your interests while also succeeding in your one science class every quarter/semester? As competitive as med school admissions is, why would you want to give them any reason whatsoever to ding you? If you have not already, google "MSAR" and look at admissions statistics and come back and tell me if you think ****ing around like that is a good idea. Maybe read of the grief of many on this board who wished like hell they had a fresh start at those 8 gateway classes.
     
  3. frycek

    frycek Member
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    I think that college is the perfect time for pursuing passions and interests away from the hard sciences and directly medical-related classes for anyone who plans to be a future physician. Now that I'm a MS 1 I feel that I can truly focus on this path of medicine without having regrets about anything I didn't explore - and I feel like the humanities and other sciences (like physics) are such a part of my life that I'll never lose them. So I say it's great to pursure other fields of interest now. However, I echo a bit of the caution in what the last post said - if you truly dislike the basic science classes - as in, just don't find them intrinsically interesting and rewarding (not that you enjoy studying for a gen. chem exam, just that overall you love or at least like learning and knowing chemistry), then medical school might not be the place for you. It really is all about building on the foundation of the basic sciences.

    I say give yourself lots of time and see what happens. Don't limit yourself. Pursue what intersts you now - maybe after college when you have some more life experiences and feel more focused, then you can come back to the basic sciences and find them interesting and do well. Or maybe you realize that there are paths toward your goals other than medicine - like maybe psychology?

    On the practical side, you need to ask yourself if you want to go into medical school right after or very soon after college. If you feel strongly that this is what you want to do, then I say you should probably try to swallow those basic sciences now and see if you can find an interest in them. But from your post, it sounds like the best thing for you will be to follow your interests and passions. These can certainly lead you to "one day" become a physician, and probably a better physician than if you had cut them off just to do what you felt you had to do.
     
  4. chaeymaey

    chaeymaey 1K Member
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    As an English major/Psych minor, I totally get where you're coming from, jwtaylor. My sophomore year, I was juggling my upper-level psych and English courses plus O Chem, Genetics, Cell Bio, and working as a Gen Chem TA and internal medicine scribe. It was tough and I made C's in O Chem 1, Genetics, Cell Bio and dropped Cal 2 and O Chem 2. It was just too much, especially since my major was something that I wanted to really sink my teeth into, but then I would hear this nagging voice telling me to go study O Chem, etc. Sometimes the premed classes can feel like they're getting in the way of the college experience, especially when you're a non-sci major and your classmates are having fun and not stressing about grades.

    If you feel that you can't handle the premed courses at this particular time in your college career, then put them off to a time when you can devote yourself to them and make A's. I can't stress this enough - you have to make A's in these classes. After my soph year, I spent the summer taking O Chem 2 and I made an A. I then took Physics, Nutrition, and A&P the following year while studying for the MCAT and made A's in those while taking an additional 15 hrs each term of my major and minor related courses. It wasn't easy, but I was able to make A's because I was in the right state of mind. You may want to take the pre-req's in the summer, later in your college career, or even post-bacc like a lot of people do.
     
  5. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    There's no rule that says you need to go straight from college to med school. The actual trend is not to do so, as can be seen by the gradually rising average age of matriculants. Definitely take what you enjoy in college and do well -- you can always pick up the spare in a postbac later, and there will be no other time to take some of these non-science courses down the road. There are far too many premed who wash out in college because they try to tackle things they are not ready for (eg. orgo), yet some of those same folks are able to ace the same class years later in a retake, suggesting that for them it would have made sense to wait. And some of the happiest people in med school are those who delved in other things in college, and then doubled back and took the prereqs -- as for some it means they have really had the chance to think things through and know for certain that they are where they really want to be (many coming straight from college suffer from this angst). People with high undergrad GPAs in non-science fields and then come through the postbacs with As in the sciences always seem to do quite well in admissions. Good luck.
     
  6. einnewt

    einnewt Member
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    I agree that the OP should ultimately pursue what she or he is passionate about, but this does not mean that it makes it any easier for them before an admissions committee. It is a quaint--and compelling--sentiment, but it is also misleading. While many successfully admitted applicants, indeed, take time off between college and med school (yes, that is the trend), this does not mean they are having better chances at admission, especially if they have not demonstrated longstanding motivation for medicine. So while it feels good to be encouraging to the OP (follow your dreams, buddy!!! [rolls eyes]), better now that he or she is beginning the process to encourage them not do distinguish themselves from other applicants in potentially negative ways, but rather, positively.

    Also, I disagree with the principle evoked by the assertion that "there will be no other time to take some of these non-science courses down the road." Remember that you are paying your university a lot of money to ineffectively lecture you about these subjects, fascinating or not. The principle I am referring to is that which says that we can only learn what fascinates us in a classroom. If you are so passionate about these ideas, pick up a book and read about them yourself. What the hell do you need to take a bunch of courses for? Books allow better development of the ideas than can be accomplished in a sporadically structured 50 minute class. I hope I don't sound condescending or anything, but we are not going to have a "course" for everything we need to know in medical school; we must learn proactively. The trend in recent years has actually been towards independent learning in small, collaborative groups where the students are responsible for locating relevant materials.

    So. . . while I am not trying to impugn anyone's style or perspective, I think the thrust of many of these posts is foolish if one rightly focuses on maximizing admissions chances rather than actualization (find your inner chi when you've already been admitted or risk not being admitted at all). Read a book about that other **** later. Or don't, I've heard there are fantastic job opportunities out there for pscyh/soc majors!!! ;)
     
  7. einnewt

    einnewt Member
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  8. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    If early motivation for medicine were paramount to adcoms, then those people who are premeds in college and focus on bio and biochem would exclusively be at the top of the list for interviews. That is not the case, and if you look at the trends, there have been increasing numbers of non-sci majors and career changers admitted to med school over the past few decades. I know of many people who are in med school now who avoided the sciences in college but picked them up in postbac programs -- some of these folk would have washed out of premed had they taken the courses before they were ready to tackle them. I also know quite a few people who became good students much later in life, after having been poor ones while teens. While it's important to show an interest in medicine, I don't really see evidence that those who didn't focus on medicine from day one don't do well in the process. In fact, speaking for career changers, we do pretty well (assuming our numbers are comparable) notwithstanding that we became premeds pretty late in the game. It's all about your reasons and how strongly you can explain why you know you want to be a doctor. It's nice to know what you want to do by age 18, but for some people, it just doesn't happen. So I respectfully disagree with your point.
     
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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  10. jwtaylor

    jwtaylor Member
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    thanks for all of your opinions on this. it's nice to see im not alone in my thinking.

    i can see where some of you are coming from when you say that if i cant handle the bios and such while im an undergrad then medicine may not be for me. i do happen to believe that there is more to the whole pre-med thing than taking those 8 classes...there's an implicit necessity to be able to multi-task and show that you can excel in high pressure situations...and i dont want to give the idea that im shying away from that. i do actually enjoy bio and chem, and genetics, and physics actually. alot of my "reading for fun" list includes articles and books on biology, evol. biology, neuroscience, medicine and even quantum mechanics. i just didnt like the feeling that i wasnt taking anything from my bio or chem classes because i was too infatuated with my major. it actually kept me up at night. but i also have to say that i got into the terrible habit of defining myself by my major....saying things to myself like, "dont get interested in tumor biology, you arent going to school for that"...it sounds kind of dumb im sure, but im also sure that other people have found themselves in that situation....do neurotics make good doctors? :p
     
  11. chaeymaey

    chaeymaey 1K Member
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    The answer is yes...so do OCD's.
     
  12. RunnerMD

    RunnerMD Senior Member
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    Someone earlier on this thread mentioned taking your science courses one at a time, while still pursuing your passion for other academic areas.

    I did this (double majored in humanities, minored in a science), and took one science and lab per semester (I think once or twice I may have doubled up). While it has not caused me alot of problems in the application process, I have been told by some people on adcoms that this can be a potential "red flag." As one person put it, "we have no evidence you could handle multiple science classes as an undergrad, how are we supposed to know you can handle multiple science courses at a higher (graduate) level?" (And I had all A's with the exception of two courses--so its not as though I was pulling a 3.0 BCPM).

    Then again, this only occurred with a few schools...but just thought I'd warn you. If I had it to do over again, I probably would have devoted one year to just being totally immersed in science. Then I would have been able to "prove" I could cut it, while still pursuing other academic interests as an undergrad. Hope this helps!
     

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