1. The SDN iPhone App is back and free through November! Get it today and please post a review on the App Store!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

Interview Feedback: Visit Interview Feedback to view and submit interview information.

Interviewing Masterclass: Free masterclass on interviewing from SDN and Medical College of Georgia

Taking that Dreaded First Step

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by brainnurse, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. brainnurse

    brainnurse Inquisitor, Assassin, High Summoner
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    152
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Hello, everyone. After lurking obsessively for a while now, I finally decided to join the fray and say, "Hi," to everyone. I've read many of your stories. I would even go on to say that this forum is one of the many reasons I am once again starting this journey. Here's my background:

    I'm a 26y/o ADN-prepared ICU nurse with a noncompetitive GPA because of (1) two years of foreign college classes taken for personal enrichment eight years ago; (2) not realizing said classes would ever matter until it was way, way, waaaay too late; and (3) apathy during nursing school. For as long as I could remember, medicine has had its cruel, unrelenting claws dug into me. I tried to run from the desire so many times because I knew pursuing it would be unreasonable. I saw what that profession did to my parents. I see what it's doing to my PGY-3 boyfriend, our friends, and most of the physicians I work with. I know what kind of debt I will incur. For months at a time, I would be convinced that I've shaken it -- that I'll be a CRNA or a NP instead -- but that peace never lasts. The heart wants what it wants, so the saying goes.

    Now that I have stopped travelling all over the place and have finally gained residency status (for tuition purposes) in a city I actually like, I am going to take the plunge. I've been accepted in one state college, one university with an attached MD school, and two out-of-state universities that offer decent RN-BSN Distance Ed programs.

    BS-Biomed vs. BSN + Pre-Reqs vs. ADN + Pre-Reqs
    This, of course, was my first fork in the road. I am leaning towards BS-Biomed, though I would be open to any advice anyone can offer regarding this decision. BS-Biomed means I might have to let go of my job at a wonderful teaching hospital due to the BSN-by-2020 initiative (it's actually 2018 for me due to my contract), but I sincerely hope that when that time comes, I'm either already in med school or so busy with the application process that I won't be working full time anyway. I do have an RN-BSN application for Spring 2015 in the university with the MD school if my advisor tells me it would be a better route. Again, any insight will be greatly appreciated.

    General Plan and Setbacks
    Thankfully, though I haven't been in school in years, with my last stint being taking classes part-time in Fall 2012, I am on track with finishing my AA next semester. Unfortunately, despite three years of college math from multiple countries, my math credits only transferred as electives in all but the out-of-state universities that I'm not planning to go to anyway. I'm planning to test out of College Algebra only because as much as I love and excelled at math, I know that years of disuse has made me rusty. I will not risk getting B's in Calculus and Physics by not taking a Trigonometry class.

    I also plan to see if I can test out of my native language. I did take four semesters of it while I was overseas (I had no choice, it was a requirement over there). I find it ridiculous that these classes were completely ignored by my evaluation service, but what are you gonna do, right?

    Timeline
    Very tentative. Pre-med advisors are incredibly hard to come by in my regional university. I'm still trying to set up an appointment. I plan to take classes in both CC and the university with the MD program.

    Fall 2014
    Western Humanities II
    Statistics

    Spring 2015 - 14 Cr
    Intro Chem
    Biology II
    Trigonometry
    Ethics - for AA

    Summer 2015 - 5 Cr
    Calc I

    Fall 2015 - 13 Cr
    Chem I
    Physics I
    Calc II

    Spring 2016 - 12 Cr
    Chem II
    Physics II
    General Microbiology (??) - Req'd Eleective

    Summer 2016 - 5 Cr
    Org Chem I

    Fall 2016 - 13 Cr
    Org Chem II CHM 2210
    Biochemistry
    Biochemistry L.
    General Genetics - Req'd Elective

    Spring 2017-Whenever
    Other Electives till BS completion
    MCAT Review
    Take MCAT?​

    I feel overwhelmed by the lack of objective input into my planning phase. I don't know how reasonable this plan is going to be while maintaining a full-time (36-hr/week) position. I have no idea how to calculate my GPAs from my plethora of transcripts. I don't know if these classes will adequately prepare me for the MCAT, or if they even meet the MCAT and med school requirements. So, please, please, if you've gotten this far, can you offer me your $0.02? I could really use your insight. Thank you. I'm both deliriously happy and unbelievably terrified that I am actually in this boat with all of you.
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. takeonme

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    Messages:
    353
    Likes Received:
    489
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    I'm in the process of finishing up my pre-reqs and I plan on sending in my apps next year.

    I must tell you that so far the journey has been rough in terms of scheduling. I'm not sure where you at with your work status, but I had no option but to stay full-time because I signed a contract for 2 years and I thought I should at least see how it goes before quitting my career entirely. This was my schedule since I've decided to take the plunge (I took some classes during my undergrad so I didn't start completely from the beginning...)

    Fall 2013
    Gen Chem II
    Statistics

    Spring 2014
    O Chem I
    Bio I

    Summer 2014
    Physics II

    Fall 2014
    O Chem II
    Bio II

    While 2 classes a semester seems manageable, it was really difficult, especially working full-time night shift. To be fair, my managers didn't/don't know I was in school, especially to change my career. So basically I followed a Mon-Thurs school schedule (I physically couldn't add anything else) with work throughout the week and weekends. Sleep was minimal to none. I'd have to go to class straight after work sometimes, if I couldn't find a trade. Or save up my sick hours just in case. It all gets very risky (i.e. what if i have to drop because I miss too much class? what if i call in sick too many times? etc.). Factor in studying for tests, factor in sleep time, factor in your own limitations. I'm used to a heavy course load but sometimes I was/am downright frustrated. If work is willing to work with you, you're very lucky. If not, really consider elsewhere.
     
  4. brainnurse

    brainnurse Inquisitor, Assassin, High Summoner
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    152
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Thank you so much for the response. I, too, am stuck in a two-year contract. I'm on day shift, which frees up a lot of my time in comparison to when I worked nights. I also don't plan on telling my manager that I am switching careers. However, work will be paying for a portion of my tuition so she'll know that I'm in school. That's not really that big of a deal because most of her nurses are in ARNP or MSN programs anyway. Your experience validates my fear that FT school + FT Work might be an impossible endeavor. Depending on what happens in the next few months, I might have to add extra semesters to my plan so I can spread out my classes and prevent crappy grades.

    On a less depressing note, your response made me feel less.. I don't know.. alone? So thanks for that! I will likely be following your posts, because I need all the inspiration and realistic expectations I can get. :p

    UPDATE: I finally got an appointment with a pre-med advisor for two weeks from now, yay!
     
  5. wdwrn

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    7
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    First off...holy smokes, I had to make sure I wasn't reading my own post a couple of times. We are in a very similar situation, and you sound a lot like me just the way you 'speak'. I'm an RN, going back to school in October to start my post-bac that I'm doing piecemeal at the local 4-year university. The one in the city I just moved to in May, after moving 6 places in 9 years, I've finally found a place I love to call home and I've settled, and convinced them that I'm an in-state resident (for tuition purposes). This is all too familiar.

    After the initial shock of similarity, my first thought is "eh, you don't have a Bachelor's". Not that this should stop you at all, it just seems like an obstacle at this point. I then almost asked why you were planning on Calculus (more than once), and realized all these classes would be necessary to complete your Bachelor's.

    Your post sounds a lot like the first post I made on here with my timeline, and let me tell you, I've changed my timeline about 6 times since then. It's hard to nail this down when you're in our shoes. I really can't tell you how to go about finishing a degree. It seems very silly to get your BSN if you want to do medicine, but part of me wonders if it's easier to get that than finish another degree, which is obviously what you're pondering as well. I definitely would NOT go for the BSN for the reason of it helping further you nursing career past 2018. You're either kind of in or out at that point on the whole med school plan. I think an advisor will help you a lot with advice on finishing your degree. That said though, take what everyone says with a grain of salt. My advisor, while amazing, definitely initially recommended taking on much more than I know I could, so I've chosen to personally slow it down. I finally came up with my "own" plan.

    My second thoughts (or fortieth, eh), is that WOW, your first big semester back next Spring 2015 sounds next to impossible with FT work. People have done it, but...I think it sounds like a terrible idea. Roll around these forums for awhile and find out how much you may be underestimating the importance of getting A's and, the thing I underestimated - my third thought - nailing the MCAT and the commitment that will take. I was in a bit of denial about how serious my MCAT plan should be a first. Not at all now. These non-trad forums really helped me get an idea of things, and helped me dig deep into myself and my abilities. MCAT studying for just one semester, along with other classes, and working FT, sounds like a plan to fail (no offense). If I end up taking even ONE other class while I'm studying for MCAT, I'm dropping down to 24 hours a week at my job (I'm also FT, 36 hours, oncology nurse at major hospital).

    We sound like we have a lot in common and if you want to chat via phone or email, I'd love to buddy up. You sound like where I was when I committed to this whole plan in July, but things in my plans have changed even drastically since then. I don't think I can give you great advice, but I think we could help each other out. PM me! I'd love to hear where you're at too (geographically!), and where you've been.

    It really sounds like you know what you want and you can do it though. I think not trying to do too much is what you need to focus on right now. You're talking about going back to school soon, so you'll have to get this figured out shortly (not to freak you out).

    I remember my first meeting with my pre-med advisor too...I was as excited as you are :) It helps.

    Shout me a holler!
     
  6. brainnurse

    brainnurse Inquisitor, Assassin, High Summoner
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    152
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Oh yes, sending you a message you now!

    And I have updates. I've applied for several alternative course satisfactions and permissions to enroll in classes I had already taken, so that should eliminate a whole year from my previous plan. I am so freaking happy about that! That also gives me the wiggle room to spread my classes out in order to get those A's. I'll post an updated timeline later. Hope everyone is having a good week!
     
  7. takeonme

    5+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    Messages:
    353
    Likes Received:
    489
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    With what you're about to embarked, you need all the support you can get and I mean that in the most loving way! Initially taking the plunge and enrolling in classes, I had little support and it was stressful. I'd say throughout the pre-med journey, I've really developed a great support system that has kept me sane the last year and a half but even then it gets really hard, especially the 'unknown.' Message me if you ever need anything.

    Will work pay for your schooling if you decide to pursue a bachelors in another field? I know work will pay for school if you want to advance your degree so unfortunately for me, med school pre reqs don't cut it. Anyways, good luck and utilize all your resources (counselors, peers, etc.) to figure out what works best for you!
     
  8. brainnurse

    brainnurse Inquisitor, Assassin, High Summoner
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    152
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    Thank you so much. Work pays up to $4000/year in tuition. According to our tuition policy, if my employment ends for any reason while I'm in school, I pay back whatever they paid in the twelve months before my last day. So I have to be careful not to ask for tuition on my last year there. I'm definitely feeling the stress related to lack of support. All of the physicians within my circle became so by following the traditional route. None of them were in the nursing field. My boyfriend tries to be supportive, but he doesn't really get it. That's why I'm so glad I finally joined SDN. You guys are both a comfort and a dose of reality. :)
     
  9. midweststudent1

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2013
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    235

Share This Page