Kalel

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Have you been accepted into this pre-matriculation program? Some have admissions requirements (ironically, they are oftentimes the opposite of the requirements that got you in, ie low science GPA, borderline MCAT, etc). If you can afford it, and you really want to do it, I'd go ahead with your backpacking trip. There really isn't a better time then the last summer pre-med school; you will never be asked about what you did this summer. Personally, I'd prefer to go to the pre-matriculation thing, but I've never been one for taking vacations. I don't think that the pre-matriculation thing will help you signficantly when you start med school (eg studies haven't showed a real difference between science and non-science majors when it comes to pre-clinical grades). Congrats on getting in!
 

misconception?

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Kalel, thanks for your input..

the prematriculation program is open to all students and it's free. in fact, i think there are several scholarships available to cover housing and other expenses while participating in the program. the europe trip will be very expensive overall, but staying for an extra few weeks doesn't add THAT much to the bottom line because most of the bottom line is mostly made up of sunk costs (eurail pass, flight, etc)

i love seeing the world, but another part of me wants to put it off so that i can start medical school on the right foot.. it's a tough call because it's so easy for me to shorten the trip in the hopes that my future will in some way benefit... but there eventually comes a time when delaying gratification doesn't make sense because the eventual reward isn't significantly different. i'm rambing, i'll stop.
 
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Kalel

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It sounds like you are undecided. I have found that one good way to make these sorts of important decisions is to flip a coin. If you accept your coin's decision, it's what you really wanted to do in the first place, so it's what you should do. If your decision turns out to be the wrong one, you can go back and blame the coin. If you don't accept your coin's decision, then you know that it's not the decision you wanted in the first place, so you can just ignore the coin and do what you wanted to do in the first place. It's like tricking your mind, you should try it. Also, try to think about which decision you will be kicking yourself over in the future for not doing. Will you be kicking yourself in the beginning of first year because you didn't attend the pre-matriculation course and meet all of your classmates and because you are feeling overwhelmed with your coursework and blame it on not attending thsi pre-matriculation program (even though everyone is overwhelmed, some people are just better at hiding it)? Or will you be kicking yourself for not taking this trip to Europe? Again, if it were me, I'd go for the pre-matriculation program. My thought on these sight seeing vacations is that you can see everything you want to see in photographs these days. I dislike the hassles associated with traveling too.
 

Vincristine

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I had the same question Kalel had. Since your admission is not continigent on you completing the pre-matriculation program, I say go to Europe. I think the vast majority of people entering medical school have "only taken the pre-med requirements". The pre-matric program at my school is only open to people who specifically need extra prep before M1 starts (based on their grades and MCAT scores). Given that it's only a month, they start learning the material for the first month of the regular year, but after that month they are no more prepared than anyone else.....
 

IlianaSedai

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I would say, don't waste your time going through something that's a complete drag-- go to Europe and have fun. The only disadvantages I see to missing the orientation, aside from the cost of the Europe trip, are these:

1) Opportunity to meet students in a smaller setting and know some of the people there. (But who cares, you'll meet everyone later.)

2) Confidence in beginning your MS-I year.

And I think it is probably really the CONFIDENCE that will be different and not your ACTUAL ABILITY to pass and/or do well in your first year. There is a possibility that not going will leave you feeling "less" prepared, but I am 99% sure that you will not be REALLY less prepared for not going. The only way to develop a med school routine that works is to experiment, change the things that don't work (for example, I suck at getting work done between 1pm and 3pm so now I study 7am-9am instead), and continue doing the things that work. You can't learn that from a pre-orientation or a workshop.

On the other hand, I am told that it could be useful to attend a study skills workshop, if this is offered by your school during orientation. NOT a student panel about studying (the most useless thing I ever spent time at), but an actual workshop.
 

kojack

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Absolutely, without a doubt, go on the Europe trip and make it for as long as you can afford. I don't think prematriculation programs provide much of benefit unless the student is sub-par to begin with and needs that extra boost, but you would know if this was you.

If you're worried about getting there and meeting people, think of it this way: you'll meet a hell of a lot more people by saying "I just spent the last two months backpacking around Europe" than "I've pretty much been hanging out at school and waiting for M1 year to start".

I traveled for the entire month before M1 started (I was working so I didn't have the whole summer off). I got back to town and intended on getting settled, but then put a bid down on priceline and went away again...got back late the night before orientation. Best month ever.
 

shadowboxer

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i would find out more about the pre-matric program. at my school, the program is real intensive i.e. get a body to dissect BEFORE anatomy really starts in the fall, take sample tests made by the profs who will be teaching you in the fall, free textbooks. All of which I didnt know and therefore travelled assuming the program was only to boost the confidence of the sub-par students, instead all gunners took the program and ended up top of the class in anatomy. although i dont regret my decision to not go to the program, i would definately find out what the exact curriculum is for the program. if it is anything like my school, you will definately have a HUGE advantage come fall and there is no doubt you should go, it will make anatomy/physio so much easier. just my 2 pennies.
 

CANES2006

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Travel and have fun. I wish I could just get up and leave right now.:(
 

lowbudget

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I covered a lot of ground in Europe in 2 weeks before going to my Premat program, and it was both worth it. 9 weeks is a long ass time, and 5 weeks isn't bad at all in terms of spending time in Europe. The premat at my school was soooooo fun. We studied and it helped a little with first year but it's not that big of a deal academically at least.

The biggest reason to do it, I think, is to get adjusted socially to medical school. Premat gives you a low pressure environment to meet people and go out and party, etc., and get settled into your new home before school starts. It's real nice to have a social system in place. I made a crap load of friends during premat and it was so much fun that it helped with acclimating to 1st year big time!

I would do premat at my school again in a flash... ask around the people in your school whether or not it was worth it (academically and/or socially).
 

beriberi

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Noooooo......

I went to a top 5 school from a teeny liberal arts college with a degree in art. I was not top of my class in anatomy (or anything else). That had nothing to do with my degree or background or lack of a premat program--it was cause I didn't put in the extra hours to go from passing to kicking a$$. However, in the big picture, going into residency, I wouldn't change a thing. I have done the 4 wks in Europe trip (and wish I had nine).

I think premat programs are silly--and play into the gunner mentality. In four years you will wish you had one more night at the Viennese opera, one more day hike through castles in Slovakia. You won't care about your intrinsic understanding of the Kreb'c cycle (which I still don't have) at all. About getting to know your classmates--uh, there is no chance that you won't get to know them in the next four years.

It seems to me you may really want to do the nine weeks but feel guilty. And while that it an appropriate response as a pre-med, you are no longer a pre-med. You need to start doing what is right for you and not thinking about what your "application" will look like for the rest of your life.
 

Mutterkuchen

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beriberi said:
Noooooo......

I think premat programs are silly--and play into the gunner mentality. In four years you will wish you had one more night at the Viennese opera, one more day hike through castles in Slovakia. You won't care about your intrinsic understanding of the Kreb'c cycle (which I still don't have) at all. About getting to know your classmates--uh, there is no chance that you won't get to know them in the next four years.

It seems to me you may really want to do the nine weeks but feel guilty. And while that it an appropriate response as a pre-med, you are no longer a pre-med. You need to start doing what is right for you and not thinking about what your "application" will look like for the rest of your life.
Amen. If you want to come home after 5 weeks, fine. But enjoy this time. So what if it will be a little easier. Repeating 1st year would make it easier the 2nd time, but I'm not going to do it.

So enjoy your time, in Europe or at home. You'll make friends either way. You'll survive anatomy, too.
 

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lowbudget said:
I covered a lot of ground in Europe in 2 weeks before going to my Premat program, and it was both worth it. 9 weeks is a long ass time, and 5 weeks isn't bad at all in terms of spending time in Europe. The premat at my school was soooooo fun. We studied and it helped a little with first year but it's not that big of a deal academically at least.

The biggest reason to do it, I think, is to get adjusted socially to medical school. Premat gives you a low pressure environment to meet people and go out and party, etc., and get settled into your new home before school starts. It's real nice to have a social system in place. I made a crap load of friends during premat and it was so much fun that it helped with acclimating to 1st year big time!

I would do premat at my school again in a flash... ask around the people in your school whether or not it was worth it (academically and/or socially).
I agree 5 weeks is a pretty decent chunk of time, plus there is a social adjustment period that in my opinion would rather have in place at the start of school. My vote is for the Pre-Matric program.
 

SunnyS81

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Go to Europe. Whatever little edge or groove that pre-mat might get you, all it means is that you can ENJOY life for a few weeks more and your life will be a little bit more difficult (getting settled) at the beginning of first year.

I have to say that when we were in the darkest part of first year, there wasn't a week that didn't go by that I wished I could be back in Australia (where i spent a lot of time in the months before going to med school).
 
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