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taking years off before matriculating?

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Cmaj7th, May 4, 2012.

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  1. Cmaj7th

    Cmaj7th 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2010
    Hello all. I'm 21, due to working after highschool I started college late. I wont graduate until I'm 25. I really want to work on a fire department for a few years before matriculating to medical school for the experience. It's been a dream of mine to be a paid fire fighter on an inner city department. Volunteers do great things every day but in my area there's so many high speed career fire fighters that the vollies really are just support and don't get to do the really fun stuff.

    Is this uncommon to take years off between medical school intentionally? I'm going to graduate with my pre-reqs completed but my mom (Internist) thinks I wont want to go back to school. But I don't think I'd want to be a firefighter for life because the pay sucks, I just want to do it while I'm young and single and fit. Thanks
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  3. DrHoffy

    DrHoffy Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Not at all. the trend is having life experience before matriculation. Most importantly, do very well academically now in school, do some volunteer stuff, maybe get your EMT or something, give yourself time to really rock the MCAT will be in great shape.
    Most of us "oldpremeds" decide to apply later after having a pretty ugly past to make up for. So if you start a little later and have a great application you will be in really awesome shape!

    If this is your dream nothing is stopping you but you.
  4. DrMidlife

    DrMidlife has an opinion 10+ Year Member

    Oct 30, 2006
    I suggest finding a mentor who has the job you want. If it takes 10 years of work to get to the job you want, that might change your mind.

    I'm all in favor of having as much real world, pay-your-own-rent, learn-by-making-mistakes-that-only-you-can-fix experience as you want to have, before going to med school. It's worth "losing" some ground (in terms of med school app readiness) to have that gained perspective/resilience/experience. I suggest that you should be unafraid of the likelihood that you'd need to take a few classes plus MCAT prep, on the far end of your firefighting career, to regain the position you'll be in when you finish undergrad.

    Best of luck to you.
  5. LUCPM

    LUCPM 10+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    I have a little different perspective.

    The longer you stay out of school, the harder it is to go back to school. Although having real life experience is equally valuable, you are running the risk of not wanting to go back to school ever again.

    For example, if you want to take 2 -3 years off and decide to apply for medical school, you may not be well prepared to take the MCAT after having forgotten a lot of stuffs. This could further delay your application, you may have to take a few refresher courses, and you may not even have financial resources to do that.

    On the other hand, exploring other options is also recommended because medical school may not be something you want to do after all.

    Either way, you will eventually find what you like and you can go from there. Good luck.
  6. Ellipsis1104

    Ellipsis1104 5+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2010
    Could you spend your summer after graduation studying for and taking the MCAT?

    Paid firefighting in a big city sounds great, and it should leave you with some interesting things to discuss in interview. I don't see the gap hurting you, but then again I'm planning on a few gap years, myself :)

    :luck: to you!
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  7. DrHoffy

    DrHoffy Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    I agree that it is hard to go back to school after being out of it, but people do it all the time in medicine and other just depends on the circumstance ...but if the OP wants to do this he doesn't necc. need to stop taking classes. He could continue to take coursework as long as he does well in them.

    I must say that on the other side I had quite a few friends who had never held a real job prior to med school and their transition to clinicals and working in a hospital heirarchy was, shall we say, less than graceful as well. Being a doc is more than just getting the grades....
  8. Cmaj7th

    Cmaj7th 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2010
    Thanks for the responses you all have been incredibly helpful. I like this forum much better than pre-allo:rolleyes:
  9. galaxyx

    galaxyx 2+ Year Member

    Feb 23, 2011
    I took a "year" to do a fun/exciting/challenging young person's job and figure out what I wanted to do in the future. That turned into 8 years and I'm finally getting back into school. Having to retake some prereqs because they expired at my state school is annoying and going back to school was a mental exercise at first, but I wouldn't change anything about what I've done. I can't speak for the aspect of getting into Medical School because I haven't applied yet, but as for the life satisfaction part, I don't think you'll regret taking the Firefighting job. And, the earliest prereqs expire is 5 years for some schools, so as long as you stay within that window you won't have to retake classes you could ace in your sleep like me.

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