Nontraditionals: Any interest in hearing from someone who's made it to the end?

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What's your status?

  • I'm a nontraditional premed and I know exactly why I belong in medicine.

    Votes: 16 72.7%
  • I'm a nontraditional premed and I'm wondering if I belong in medicine.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm a traditional premed and I know exactly why I belong in medicine.

    Votes: 4 18.2%
  • I'm a traditional premed and I'm wondering if I belong in medicine.

    Votes: 2 9.1%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    22
May 6, 2016
7
7
Status
Attending Physician
As an introduction: I've been in medicine for 13 years. I started out in engineering, but decided to go to med school because I was genuinely interested in medicine and didn't want to spend the rest of my career in front of a computer. I kind of stumbled my way into med school (I went to a top-tier college and had excellent grades, which somehow offset my decent-but-not-stellar MCAT score and my naiveté to apply only to California medical schools), got through med school then residency, and landed my dream job.

To this day, I still can't believe how little I knew about the process and how easily things could have turned out differently. Everyone knows the process of becoming a doctor is arduous, but until you experience it for yourself, you have no idea how much it makes you question everything. One may have gone into medicine to help people, but I can guarantee you that when you've been up for 30 hours straight and your pager won't leave you alone, the last thing you care about is helping people. All you can do is feel sorry for yourself and ask why you chose this. If you've ever studied psychology, then you know about Maslow's hierarchy of needs--if your physiological needs like eating, sleeping, or going to the bathroom (no joke) aren't met, you can't begin to pursue such lofty goals as altruism or self-actualization.

Over the years, I've been asked by a lot of friends and friends-of-friends on how to get into med school, but I believe that is actually the wrong question. Having gone through the process, I can tell you that getting into med school is actually the easy part! Yet that's what everyone focuses on--just look at all the Premed posts on Reddit and expensive "medical school admission coaches" that are out there. If you're thinking about going into medicine, make sure you truly understand WHY you're doing it. Once you do, and if you're doing it for the right reason, you'll not only succeed, but you'll also make it to the end with your passion and humanity intact.

Call it a midlife crisis or my way to pay it forward, but I want to share what I've learned. I'm thinking about creating a website to help premeds (especially nontraditionals) first answer "how do I know I'm going into medicine for the right reasons" before tackling "how do I get into medical school." I've never done this before so I'd like to gauge how much interest there is before I take this on as a project. Thoughts?
 

Monkey.King

2+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2016
183
129
I remembered learning about Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the 9th, I honestly never thought I would hear about it again. But I always believed that no matter what your reason is, if it's strong enough to get you in medical school, and into your residency, then it doesn't matter whether it's good or not. Only with the exception of money, in which many people would agree that you will be very disappointed if that's your reason.


And I think it's a great idea, but rather than create a separate website, maybe you should try to give it it's own section on the forums. You're right. It is extremely important for people to understand if they are going into medicine for the right reasons. Maybe then being a physician wouldn't have one of the highest suicide and depression rates of any other career.
 
Last edited:

fahimaz7

15+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2004
3,290
222
Colorado
Status
Attending Physician
As an introduction: I've been in medicine for 13 years. I started out in engineering, but decided to go to med school because I was genuinely interested in medicine and didn't want to spend the rest of my career in front of a computer. I kind of stumbled my way into med school (I went to a top-tier college and had excellent grades, which somehow offset my decent-but-not-stellar MCAT score and my naiveté to apply only to California medical schools), got through med school then residency, and landed my dream job.

To this day, I still can't believe how little I knew about the process and how easily things could have turned out differently. Everyone knows the process of becoming a doctor is arduous, but until you experience it for yourself, you have no idea how much it makes you question everything. One may have gone into medicine to help people, but I can guarantee you that when you've been up for 30 hours straight and your pager won't leave you alone, the last thing you care about is helping people. All you can do is feel sorry for yourself and ask why you chose this. If you've ever studied psychology, then you know about Maslow's hierarchy of needs--if your physiological needs like eating, sleeping, or going to the bathroom (no joke) aren't met, you can't begin to pursue such lofty goals as altruism or self-actualization.

Over the years, I've been asked by a lot of friends and friends-of-friends on how to get into med school, but I believe that is actually the wrong question. Having gone through the process, I can tell you that getting into med school is actually the easy part! Yet that's what everyone focuses on--just look at all the Premed posts on Reddit and expensive "medical school admission coaches" that are out there. If you're thinking about going into medicine, make sure you truly understand WHY you're doing it. Once you do, and if you're doing it for the right reason, you'll not only succeed, but you'll also make it to the end with your passion and humanity intact.

Call it a midlife crisis or my way to pay it forward, but I want to share what I've learned. I'm thinking about creating a website to help premeds (especially nontraditionals) first answer "how do I know I'm going into medicine for the right reasons" before tackling "how do I get into medical school." I've never done this before so I'd like to gauge how much interest there is before I take this on as a project. Thoughts?
Is there a right reason?
Is there one right reason?
Does that reason change with experience?

While I think we would all agree that most premeds (all Imo) have no idea what they are signing up for, I also don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It's kinda like pregnancy. It sounds great, sucks to live through, but works out in the end. Once you get pregnant, most go through with it, and end up on the other side happy with their decision, timing, etc.
 
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gonnif

Only 88 Days Until Next Presidential Election
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10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
22,616
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Hey, it would be great to have a website dedicated to nontraditional students, talking about their trials and tribulations, their reasons for doing it, following them from considering to be a premed to being full attending doctors. Perhaps an organization such as the National Society of Nontraditional Premedical and Medical Students, the largest such group dedicated solely to nontraditional students seeking to becoming physicians, with a website OldPreMeds.org where over 10,000 people have registered over the past nearly 20 years and about 25,000 unique monthly visitors come each month would fit the bill.
 
Last edited:

Monkey.King

2+ Year Member
Mar 9, 2016
183
129
Hey, it would be great to have a website dedicated to nontraditional students, talking about their trials and tribulations, their reasons for doing it, following them from considering to be a premed to being full attending doctors. Perhaps an organization such as the National Society of Nontraditional Premedical and Medical Students, the largest such group dedicated solely to nontraditional students seeking to becoming physicians, with a website OldPreMeds.org where over 10,000 people have registered over the past nearly 20 years and about 25,000 unique monthly visitors come each would fit the bill.
Out with the old, In with the new? But wait, that wouldn't work since we're talking about non-trads.

It was a great joke in my head, don't judge me :p
 

gonnif

Only 88 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
22,616
35,939
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
Out with the old, In with the new? But wait, that wouldn't work since we're talking about non-trads.

It was a great joke in my head, don't judge me :p
A legend in his own mind.....
 
  • Like
Reactions: njtrimed
May 6, 2016
7
7
Status
Attending Physician
I remembered learning about Maslow's hierarchy of needs in the 9th, I honestly never thought I would hear about it again. But I always believed that no matter what your reason is, if it's strong enough to get you in medical school, and into your residency, then it doesn't matter whether it's good or not. Only with the exception of money, in which many people would agree that you will be very disappointed if that's your reason.


And I think it's a great idea, but rather than create a separate website, maybe you should try to give it it's own section on the forums. You're right. It is extremely important for people to understand if they are going into medicine for the right reasons. Maybe then being a physician wouldn't have one of the highest suicide and depression rates of any other career.

Good points. I would like see people think hard about their reasons for going to medical school, beyond abstract motivations like helping people. I've seen too many people go into medicine without thinking hard about why, and then by the time they realize they didn't have the right reason, they're in too deep to get out.
 
May 6, 2016
7
7
Status
Attending Physician
Hey, it would be great to have a website dedicated to nontraditional students, talking about their trials and tribulations, their reasons for doing it, following them from considering to be a premed to being full attending doctors. Perhaps an organization such as the National Society of Nontraditional Premedical and Medical Students, the largest such group dedicated solely to nontraditional students seeking to becoming physicians, with a website OldPreMeds.org where over 10,000 people have registered over the past nearly 20 years and about 25,000 unique monthly visitors come each month would fit the bill.
I'll look into this. Thanks!
 

Horse Apiece

2+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2015
194
235
Status
Pre-Medical
Making a thread asking people to share all their advice on why to choose medicine would be pretty beneficial, or to explore how their views have changed over the course of a career. Coming from a field that required considerable hard work and diligence I believe really gave me perspective of my professional goals, and what I find rewarding in a job, even once you get to the point of monotony. Yet when it comes to medical school admissions I just see many of my peers basing their self worth on grades, and whether or not they will get in to medical school. It is very isolating, and sad to see, so yes, do something. Whether it is within the confines of this site or not. Throwing out some personal perspective from someone who has gone through it would be nice for others I'm sure.
 

gonnif

Only 88 Days Until Next Presidential Election
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
22,616
35,939
The Big Bad Apple
Status
Non-Student
may I suggest this thread maybe better off in the nontraditional forum
 
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