GeneticMedic

Medicine in The Genes
Mar 19, 2010
10
0
0
Florida
Status
Pre-Medical
-Greetings! My name is Chris I am a twenty-two year old pre-medical student living in Florida. I came across these forums a few months ago, while researching MCAT study tips and what the actual test entails. Ever since, I have been a frequent visitor, reading the various threads started by other members. I finally decided to create an account, and voice my thoughts that have been flowing through my head since the beginning of college.

Well, once a upon a time.... Just kidding. Like many eighteen year-olds I began college after graduating high school. However, I guess you can call me "non-traditional" because I decided against taking my SAT's. So, I began my college career at the local community college. I did the typical course offerings one would in their first few college semesters, full-time taking all of the general education courses needed. When all of this was happening, I was younger and not very wise, it was never clear to me what I wanted to be in life. I toyed with the idea of going for computer network engineering, but that was quickly doused with the consideration of how flooded the IT field is. I then recalled times when I was fourteen, speaking with my grandfather and how he thought I was the type of person that would become a doctor... Apparently he saw the brightness, the compassion, and dedication that I had towards other people and helping them with anything that I could. So, this memory was pulled from the vault that is my memories, and put into consideration. Upon a little bit of looking into it I decided to declare myself as a pre-medical student. After four semesters, I graduated with my A.A. Science-General degree, with high-honors, and a Phi-Theta-Kappa member (honors society for two-year colleges). I then made my transfer to the University of Central Florida where I was going to be majoring in Biology (Pre-professional).

I kind of took a step back around this time, and thought to myself. Maybe I should expose myself to the medical field before I jump into something this serious. While working on campus as an I.S. specialist, I came across the college's Emergency Medical Services Institute, while fixing a computer in the office. I obtained information regarding EMT training and began the Summer semester offering of the EMT course. After finishing training, and passing my national registry board, I was hired as an EMT for the local ambulance company. I then enrolled myself in paramedic school which is a year long program, I completed paramedic school, and passed my state boards and vwula, here I am. I have been an EMT for two years now and a paramedic for roughly a year. I can say that one must have an unlimited amount of patience and dedication to complete the Florida Paramedic training. It is 1,300+ hours of training and clinical rotations, twelve hour school days, every third day for a year. Now, add in clinicals, and your full-time job. It makes for a very difficult and stressful year. Alas, I made it through, and here I am. I am twenty-two years old and have just recently purchased my own home, and plan on starting back at UCF this upcoming Summer semester.

Now, back to the matter at hand. My real question after this long shpeel is that do I have what it takes to make it into medical school. Granted, I have not taken my MCAT yet, and it will be another year or so until, I do, but based on what I have to offer at this time how do I look as a candidate.

I do not really have a science GPA isolated at this time, but the couple of college level sciences I have taken was an A and a B+. General Chem I, and General Bio I. My current GPA is 3.64, I hover around A's, B+'s, and B's. Although in 2008, I was taking a statistics course and it was fairly straight forward. However, the loss of a loved one really got in my mind that semester and I received a C+ in this class. This is the first time in the history of my school career, EVER, that I have gotten less than a B.

I still have a year or so left in the academic department, so it's a little early to predict on that I believe, but how do you think I fair in the clinical experience. EMT and Paramedic training together has given me almost 2,000 hours of clinical experience. Not to mention the experience I receive at work, twelve hour shifts, two days on and two off. I just want to get a feel for where I may stand in the grand picture. Any feedback would be great, and I am looking forward to hearing opinions, tips, anything.

Thanks for taking the time to read this thread, study hard and be safe to everyone!

** I read more and felt the need to add some stuff **

As far as activities go, I played hockey for thirteen years of my life. I attended many hockey tournaments in Canada as well as the United States. I was chosen to play for the 17U Team USA Jr. Olympics team, but the dream was halted due to the fact that I would have to move to Colorado at the age of sixteen alone, and I did not want to leave my family. I also assist in teaching EMT's at the college when I do have free-time. Which this will likely end as soon as the Summer semester starts.
 
Last edited:
Sep 4, 2006
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Inside the tesseract
Welcome to SDN.

Your ambulance experience sounds terrific for clinical patient experience. Do you have any clinical environment experience in a hospital or clinic setting (or nursing home, or hospice)? Have you shadowed some docs besides maybe ER docs?

Your cGPA is doing fine. Strive for more As so your BCPM GPA will rise into a competitive range.

You can include the hockey if it continued into the college years. Teaching EMTs will look good on the application, as would leadership of some sort, nonmedical community service, and research.
 

GeneticMedic

Medicine in The Genes
Mar 19, 2010
10
0
0
Florida
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the feedback Catalystik! When medical schools whether it be MD or DO, look over your grades is it very important to them how many classes you took per semester, or just that you did good and understood as well as grasped the material?
 

canjosh

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2004
1,171
1
141
Houston
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Medical Student
Thanks for the feedback Catalystik! When medical schools whether it be MD or DO, look over your grades is it very important to them how many classes you took per semester, or just that you did good and understood as well as grasped the material?
Your load does matter. Most schools understand that other factors (work/family) will limit the number of semester hours you took. I never took more than 12 semester hours, but I worked full-time, my wife worked full-time, and we never used a daycare for our 2 kids. Which means that all of my time away from school was accounted for. As long as you can show that your life was busy and demanding in other ways, you'll be ok. If you apply DO, they will replace grades that you retake (i.e. statistics). Looks like you'll still be reasonably competitive for the MD schools, depending on the MCAT. Use the school selector spreadsheet when it comes close to application time. Your clinical experience will help, especially with interviews (11 year paramedic here). :luck:
 

GeneticMedic

Medicine in The Genes
Mar 19, 2010
10
0
0
Florida
Status
Pre-Medical
Thanks for the reply! Yeah, I wasn't planning on taking more than 12 semester hours (three classes or so). Working 12 hour shifts at night + driving forty-five minutes one way to school is a real pain. Do you mind telling me a bit about how you did it, were you working as a paramedic while going through it all? How much time did you allocate to studying? I'm sure it was difficult. Paying all of the bills for my newly purchased house AND school is going to be interesting, but I do have my fiance who will be finishing her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, so once she is finished and obtains a job, I will be able to drop down to part-time. You are an inspiration to me that you did it with a wife AND kids, I tip my hat to you! I'm just trying to figure out how this will stress me. I am becoming more and more interested in the idea of DO school. I HOPE... and I emphasize HOPE that once this year is finished and I take a look at my BCPM GPA that I will still be competitive for MD :xf:. Of course, it all comes down to the big MCAT. I do plan on taking one of those prepatory courses, how good of results do those produce? Have you taken your MCAT? I hate to pry into your business, I am just so passionate about becoming a physician, I may be OVER-passionate, and I love hearing about other peoples stories on how they did it!
 

canjosh

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 18, 2004
1,171
1
141
Houston
Status
Medical Student
Yes, I have taken the MCAT. You can click on my MDApps page to the left underneath my username/avatar thingy. I did a Princeton Review course, and I feel that it was quite helpful.

Your road will be very stressful. A piece of advice: don't get house poor. The less debt you bring to med school the better.

Most of my work experience has been in the hospital, although I did do 911 (firefighter/paramedic) for a few years. I also did pedi/neonatal transport (air/ground), PICU, and the regular ol' ED. I found my hospital experience to be invaluable compared to field work.

As far as how I did it, I just kept my head down and took things day to day. Set your standards high, and don't let anything stop you. Do not make excuses for yourself. Remember that admissions committees are comparing you to stacks of applicants with equal or better academic credentials. You don't want to give them ANY reason to toss your app in the reject pile. If I could change things, I would have done things sooner. Also, I probably would've done a little research (though I don't know how I would've found time without causing a divorce!). Even without the research, I got interviews at 2 research-heavy institutions (accepted to 1 and waitlisted at the other). Good luck, and you can PM me if you have other specific questions).

Oh, and I've worked either 24s or nights my whole career...so it can be done!
 
Sep 4, 2006
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Inside the tesseract
Thanks for the feedback Catalystik! When medical schools whether it be MD or DO, look over your grades is it very important to them how many classes you took per semester, or just that you did good and understood as well as grasped the material?
I agree with Canjosh. Med schools look at the whole load you are carrying, not just the academic load. Heavy work hours, family, research, volunteering, studying for the MCAT are all involvement that would excuse light academic credit load. Never take so many classes that your GPA suffers.
 

GeneticMedic

Medicine in The Genes
Mar 19, 2010
10
0
0
Florida
Status
Pre-Medical
Great feedback, thanks a ton! Yes, I figured mostly every aspect of your student and/or personal life would be taken into account. I would like to get into research of some type, but I will look into this further once I begin "normal" classes again this Summer. The year and a half break from regular college to complete EMT and Paramedic training has gotten me out of the loop a bit. So, I hope that my opening semester back, I can pick back up where I left off before EMT and Medic. I have a schedule very similar to what Canjosh went through. So, if I take his advice and keep my head in the books, and don't let myself get over-stressed. Let's see if I can get back into my old study routine! I am thinking of reading a good amount of my gen bio book again. I took General Bio I, back in the Summer of 2007. So, it's been quite a long while and I obviously have not reviewed ANY of it since. Which is going to be a bit of a crutch. So, do you think it would be a good idea to read in the book over again to review? I don't want to hop into Gen Bio II and get smacked in the face with things I cannot recall in my mind! :eek: