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Need advice - gap in education/employment

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by blainera, 09.27.14.

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  1. blainera

    blainera

    Joined:
    09.27.14
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    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I'm looking for some advice to determine if I have ruined my chances of getting into med school. I graduated college in 2010 with a BS in business and a 3.6 GPA. I worked in finance for 2 years and then quit my job in order to begin a DIY post-bacc. I completed 3 semesters of pre-reqs and maintained a 4.0 GPA. I then began questioning myself and as a result have basically wasted the past year doing nothing - no school and no job.

    Now, I am really regretting giving up on med school and am considering finishing up my pre-reqs. The only classes I still need to take are Physics II, OChem II, Biochemistry, and A&P. I truly think if I don't pursue medicine that I will always regret it. My question is will med schools hold this wasted year against me?

    I really appreciate any advice in advance, thank you!
     
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  3. kraskadva

    kraskadva ... 5+ Year Member

    Joined:
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    Did you really do absolutely nothing in the last year? Did you sit in cryostasis for the whole time? Because that's kinda hard to believe.
    How did you pay your rent and buy groceries? What did you do in all your free time?
    You will have to explain on AMCAS what you did in that year and if you've got something there, you can perhaps spin it in a positive light, but nobody here can say anything more definite unless you tell us what you actually did over the last year. Maybe it's workable (lots of volunteer work), maybe it's not (sitting on the couch and moping for a year), but either way it's in the past now and you have to deal with it. The only thing you can change is the future.

    Your grades are fine for this, and you could likely go back and finish up with equally high grades- which is all to the good. But the motivation will continue to be an issue. How much shadowing/clinical experience do you have? Because that's really what you need to determine if this is the right path for you, not what ever you've spent the last year imagining. If you have very little/no clinical experience, then before going back to classes you should get more. No point in doing all the coursework if you're just going to bow out later once you realize what the job actually entails.
     
    swimmer125 likes this.
  4. shouldigomd

    shouldigomd 2+ Year Member

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    Medical Student
    I too had a rough road getting to med school. I had a 3.2 cGPA and graduated in 2010 like you. I worked for 1.5 year / etc until i got into med school in 2012. I felt like it was "wasted time" during that period but about to take the boards now and i can tell you that those years taught me more about life than 2 years of med school... And there are more than several 30+ year olds in my class. So many kids come into med school from college and lack maturity / perspective / and simply life wisdom. Med school is a closed off bubble that doesn't really give you knowledge beyond the realm of medicine imo. A knowledge of business and work outside the classroom is a real advantage ... especially later down the road in residency / starting your practice.

    As far as getting in... I got rejected 2 cycles and i learned that what they want is very simple. That want a student who will succeed in their program and fill their demographic "quota." You have to prove that you can handle the workload of med school for 4 years. How do you do that? You prove it in the courses you need to take. Take a solid workload of core sciences for 1-2 years and do well .... and you will have a good shot. That doesn't mean taking 1-2 hard ones and 3 easy ones ... or taking "joker science courses" like epidemiology because you aren't fooling anyone. String together a few semesters of quality and prove to them you can handle it .... thats what they want to see. EC's and all that stuff isn't all as important as many break it out to be... unless you have some really unique experience but then again you already have years of work under your belt which is unique in and of itself. GL my friend if it is something you want than go for it. I don't agree that shadowing is necessary to know if medicine is for you. Shadowing gives you a very narrow perspective into something that is very very diverse.
     
  5. blainera

    blainera

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    Pre-Medical
    kraskadva, thanks for your reply. Basically, yes, I did almost nothing the past year. I thought I would just get another job in finance (even though I hated it) because I was getting so nervous about the years of debt. So, I spent months applying to jobs and interviewing and never got any offers. I did do some contract work for a company, so I'm thinking if I could spin that somehow. As for shadowing/volunteer work, I have a lot of shadowing in different specialities and some volunteer work. I definitely need more volunteering though. I can't start school until spring semester in January, so I plan on doing a lot of volunteering in the meantime. I do worry about the motivation though, as you said. Its something I really need to think about. Thank you again for your reply.
     
  6. blainera

    blainera

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    Pre-Medical
    shouldigomd, thanks for your advice. Congrats on getting accepted! Yeah, I can really see how going a bit later could be a huge advantage. That gives me some hope. As far as proving I can handle the workload, I haven't taken anything besides the science pre-reqs so far. Next semester I would have to take OChem II, Physics II, and A&P together, so I'm hoping that would be good to show I can handle a tough course load? I would then have to take biochemistry over the summer. Since biochem wouldn't be over until mid-August and I couldn't take the MCAT until after then, I'm guessing I would be too late to apply in next year's cycle. That's really frustrating me as I wish I had gone back this semester and then I could've been ready for a May or June MCAT. But I guess thats just another year to get in upper level classes and ECs. Anyway, thank you and good luck on boards!
     
  7. Drogo

    Drogo hakuna matata 2+ Year Member

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    I'm in a similar boat, year of not doing much but a little community service in the summer. But my reasons are financially/family related :/. I highly doubt you've ruined your chances, you can just say there was personal reasons or you can spin into a gap year full of self reflection on your goals.
     
    blainera and kraskadva like this.
  8. kraskadva

    kraskadva ... 5+ Year Member

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    See, that's something. And down the road you can talk about doing contract work while shadowing and examining your motivations. As a non-trad and career changer you need to be able to say with 100% certainty why you want to go into medicine, why you're running *to* medicine, and not that you're running *away* from finance. So, what you've done can be spun in positive light, but there still remains the issue of your real motivations.

    You have shadowing- super. Do you have clinical experience that you haven't mentioned? Because that would be the next step. A lot of trads kill two birds with one stone by doing clinical volunteering, but I think in your case a job in health care might be a better way to go. Hospitals have a lot of entry level positions with on the job training (like orderly, CNA or phlebotomist positions) that would give you a much more in depth exposure to the day-to-day of health care than shadowing experiences. If won't be flashy or fun all the time, but it will let you see more of what you'll be getting into. It also comes with a paycheck ;)

    And don't worry about pushing the timetable back. If you were so wigged out by this that you needed a year off, then maybe you need more than a year. You need to be sure before jumping in, and the only way to be sure is to really look at the day to day of healthcare and know that it's what you want to do at the end of this process. Personally I spent 3 years thinking about it before I made the decision to go for medicine- and I already knew the nitty-gritty of what the job entailed- and then another 2 years planning and prepping before even starting my post-bacc. A couple extra years in there really isn't an issue at the end of the day.
     
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  9. SN12357

    SN12357 2+ Year Member

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    I don't think that year is going to be fatal to your application, but you definitely have to finesse how you present it and practice how you'll respond if asked about it in interviews. I had a few months gap on my resume after college before I started working and volunteering again and I had a couple interviewers who picked up on it and asked me about it. There is definitely a particular type of reviewer who makes it their business to scrutinize the entire timeline of your life from college on. It's not all, but they do exist.
     
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  10. blainera

    blainera

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    Thanks for the answers everyone. I really appreciate the help. I have another question: is it too much to take OChem II, Physics II, and A&P all with labs in 1 semester? I'm thinking I'd be able to handle it and that its a pretty typical course load, but I don't want to overload myself if thats not the case?
     
  11. kraskadva

    kraskadva ... 5+ Year Member

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    I've done similar- lots of memorization there, but certainly doable. If you think you can handle it (and it sounds like you probably can with the 3 semesters of 4.0 already) then go for it.
     
    blainera likes this.
  12. SN12357

    SN12357 2+ Year Member

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    It's pretty standard. I'd only caution against it if you were working full-time.
     
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  13. blainera

    blainera

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    Pre-Medical
    Okay good. Thanks!
     

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