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Making a mistake as a young man

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GOBsays

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So I have made foolish decisions. I am now in the damage control stage.

Went through UG studying the easy/interesting things. Deciding that the history of the Phalanx was more fun than reaction mechanisms, I ended up with a rather useless major. (Well, I did get a major in econ just in case)

Anyway, as graduation loomed, I did what so many hapless lib arts guys do - I took the lsat. a year later I find myself in law school (a top 20*, but a law school nontheless)

The subject matter is dry as sawdust, to be sure. But what's more, I 1) can't see myself feeling happy with my contribution to society as a lawyer and 2) HATE the lack of physicality

"So, you went with medicine because you NEED to be a professional?"

No. What got me interested in the field is my buddy, the EMT. Now that...that is a job. Deep down I feel like I am something of a blue collar guy - I like to roll up my sleeves, you know? And it is so obvious this guy loves his job. I can see why. I think I'd love it.

Well, I am considering finishing up the year, doing a internship back home for the summer. I will volunteer at the clinic on weekends. Ideally, I will not be back next year. Now, after a year of two as an EMT, i might consider....an M.D.

THE QUESTION!- How horrible is the stain of 1 year in law school? Sure, I didnt murder anybody, but it seems it might be on par with involuntary manslaughter

* I realize law school rankings seems absurd to you folks. By top 20 I mean according to USNEWS. For better or worse, that silly little number is a very good predictor of starting salary, as well as the caliber of students. The requirements of a T14 are quite harsh. A Tier 4 school rarely requires a pulse.
 

IUgrad

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There are other people on SDN who switched from law into medicine, so I hope they will speak up because I think they will give you the best advice.

In my lowly opinion, I think as long as you "spin" it correctly, by demostrating that you are fully interested in medicine by devoting some time to shadowing, learning about the field, etc., you can overcome it and possibly use it to your advantage. Did you do well in law school? If so, I think that would show intelligence and your ability to handle difficult professional-/graduate-level coursework. I know it is a big consideration for adcoms whether an applicant has demonstrated their ablility to handle the rigor of a medical school curriculum. I think that if you survived 1L and did well that is a pretty big accomplishment.

I think that the hardest obstacle to overcome (based on what info you have shared above) will be proving that your devotion to medicine is not a passing thing, since you quit law school without finishing. If you can prove that to their satisfaction, assuming the rest of your application is up to par (GPA, MCAT, ECs, etc.), I think you should be okay.

(The caveat of the above is that I am an applicant myself, and this is just from my limited experience.) :oops:

Good luck! :luck:
 

TarHeel55

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THE QUESTION!- How horrible is the stain of 1 year in law school? Sure, I didnt murder anybody, but it seems it might be on par with involuntary manslaughter

You absolutely can quit law school and go to medical school. I say this because I know a few people who quit PhD programs (both humanities and science programs) to become physicians. Naturally, a key part of your application will be making a convincing case that you have thoroughly considered medicine and made a serious commitment to it. To demonstrate that, you need to have longstanding experiences working in clinical settings. Working as an EMT for a couple of years strikes me as a terrific job. One of the folks I knew who left a PhD program to go to medical school had worked as an EMT for a few years before starting the PhD. A few years into the PhD, he realized that he was a much more active, hands-on, involved-with-people kind of guy than academica would ever allow him to be. I think he was very fortunate to have had those experiences as an EMT before starting grad school... they helped him realize relatively early on that he needed to get out and go to medical school.

Terrific that you are thinking about volunteering in a clinic soon. I would also suggest that you do some volunteer work while preparing for medical school. Doesn't necessarily have to be medically related. I think showing a commitment to public service and a degree of altruism is an important component of the application.

Did you take any of the medical school prereqs while in college? If not, you are starting with a clean slate, science GPA-wise. If you have spent any time reading this forum, you know what an enviable position this is, and how important it is that you do well in your science classes. A low college GPA (> 3.4) is a much more serious liability than quitting law school after one year.

You will need to think about how and where you want to take the science prereqs. One option would be to take them at your local state university while working as an EMT. This is known as an "informal" postbacc. Alternatively, there are "formal" postbacc programs dedicated to career transitioners that allow you to complete the prereqs in one or two years. These programs can be very competitive to get into and very costly. I am sure you can find lots of good information about postbacc options in the postbacc forum.

I wish you the best of luck :luck:. You are doing the right thing by soul-searching NOW about whether the lawyerly path is right for you. Opinions may vary, but if medicine is what you love to do, I think it is much better to figure this out sooner rather than later, even if it means leaving a different degree program.
 

GOBsays

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I graduated college magna cum laude. Of course, all one needed to attain that is a 3.6- I had a 3.61. As far as science course...I think I took three that would qualify. Maybe four. I took the first sem of pre-med chem. It was a rough semester and I ended up getting a B+ (3.3). I got an A- in calc II (3.7) and a B+ in an upper level statistics course. Finally, I received an A- in intro pysch. If I do choose the medical route, I think I will do a post-bacc in my home-state (covered by WWAMI) and apply to the WWAMI program.
 
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