Outside of schooling, what's needed?

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10+ Year Member
Aug 15, 2007
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Hi everyone,

I'm about to turn 27 and just starting out due to prior health reasons. I just started as a full-time student at my local CC this semester. My plan is to transfer to a 4 year Uni next fall. Meanwhile I am wondering what options I have outside of classes? Money isn't too huge of an issue for me right now, so I wonder if volunteering in patient care is a good option. I'm just outside Washington, D.C. so I have many opportunities in the area. I'm also considering taking a Pharmacy Tech course (required in my state) since I could do that part-time and bring in some extra money. I'm taking a double course load, so it's on or the other, not both. Or is there something else one might reccomend I develop?



Good luck as you embark on a long, emotionally trying journey. Personally, since you say that money isn't much of an issue, I'd start volunteering. That will get you patient care, some exposure to docs (think future shadowing opportunities), and volunteer service. Pharmacy Tech will get you a couple bucks, but it doesn't really help answer "Why do you want to be a physician?" ("Because I already know about the drugs they can prescribe," is not a good answer.)

Don't overdo it, however. Volunteer when you can, a few hours per week. Focus on establishing and maintaining a solid GPA so you won't have those worries when application time rolls around. It's so difficult to "repair" a damaged GPA; best to just keep it strong from the beginning.

Best of luck!

Doctor Bagel

so cheap and juicy
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Sep 26, 2002
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Yep, you'll have to do some sort of volunteering. If you could volunteer at a free clinic, that would be great, but those gigs seem to be harder to get. Volunteering at a hospital also works as does hospice volunteering (and they're generally desperate for volunteers). As LizzyM says, you need to do something where you get close enough to smell patients. :) If money is really not an issue, international volunteer experience looks good on an application. You can probably search for some opportunities online or contact your school's volunteer office.

Also, zipmedic's right that keeping that gpa up is critical. Make sure you have enough time to study and do well, especially since you'll be changing schools soon. :luck:


10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 19, 2007
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Like others have mentioned, I'd focus on school 100% if I were you. Ideally, you have 3 years before you will apply. It's so much easier to fit in clinical experience if you are lacking than it is to repair a low/mediocre GPA. You are in an enviable position of knowing you want to be a doctor from the start, even if your age is a bit higher than most freshman.

Just a quick note: have you ever shadowed a doctor? You sure you know you really want this? Just checking. If you are itching to get something to put on your future app, I'd do shadowing, for two reasons: see if medicine is what you though it was and to get something to put on your app.

Good luck.