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Thinking about transitioning into medicine

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nginerd

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Hello everyone and thanks for taking the time to read this. I've been reading these forums for a while to gain perspective about the idea of transitioning into medicine. I appreciate any thoughts or advice you feel compelled to share after reading my post.

I graduated in 2008 with 3.6 GPA in electrical and computer engineering. I recently took a linear algebra class from a local community college because I wanted to fill a gap in my education. I had planned to go to graduate school for engineering, but I've realized over the last few months that my path needs to change. I've enjoyed my time as an engineer and I learned an immense amount about an array of engineering disciplines and applications, but my passion for the engineering environment and workflow has subsided.

I've been an engineer for nearly 10 years as both an employee and employer. I worked at Intel for 5 years and I started my own business toward the end of my time there. I would do it all again the same way because it changed me in very significant ways. With that said, it also contributed to my burnout; working what felt like two careers was both physically and mentally taxing. I stuck with it for as long as I did because of money, which was a mistake.

I passed the Professional Engineer (PE) exam a few years ago and I have slowly taken on more responsibilities as a result, which also set the groundwork for this transition. There's not much left in this career for me because the challenge has mostly vanished. I convinced myself that I was fine staying in turn-the-crank mode, but it's just not who I am at my core. I need to be learning and improving myself to be happy, which I'm no longer able to do in a significant way.

Some brief background about my family: I have two kids, a 6 year old boy and an 8 year old girl, and a dedicated and hard-working wife. We're both 32 and we work full-time. She finished her graduate degree in Behavioral Analysis two years ago and she will be done earning her board certification in the spring. She fully supports any career path I want to pursue. We have spent a lot of time and effort cultivating real estate investments and we save like crazy, which has enabled us to be financially independent. While I appreciate that the cost of medical school is high, it's not a concern at this point. In short, financial and familial affairs are in order to enable a smooth transition to a medical career.

Now for the meat of the post:

I don't want to rush into a new career without first testing the waters, but I'd also like to make the time count as much as possible. By that I mean I would like to find a way to start learning about and gaining intuition for how medicine works while also contributing toward a stronger medical school application should that become the end game. My wife found several post-bacc programs that she would fully support, e.g. Northwestern and JHU, by either moving with me or letting me go there to do a 12 or 15 month program while she stays at our house in Colorado with the kids. I'm not crazy about being away that long, but it would be the best opportunity for me to hit the books really hard for a year before applying to medical school.

I've read dozens of threads on this forum about taking one-off classes to refresh the core concepts in biology and chemistry. I have slowly started to get the feeling that a post-bacc program will give me the best chance of success, but I can't be sure, which is why I'm asking here. Logically, I would think medical school admissions committees would look favorably on a post-bacc program from a well-known school compared to one-off classes at a community college or even a university. Is that true? I would also think a post-bacc program would give me a better chance at scoring well on the MCAT. Is that a valid assumption? I realize my effort is the key to success, so assume I'm willing to put in the effort to make all of this worthwhile. Would the extra cost and effort to do a post-bacc program provide tangible benefit over another method?

I have more questions, but I'll limit the first post here. Thanks for all of your time and effort so far. I will greatly appreciate anything you have to offer.
 
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LUCPM

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I don't think a postbac program at a well-known program will give you a big advantage as long as you take most of your prereqs at a 4 year university and, more importantly, you do well on your MCAT. You can even do DIY postbac without moving away for a specific program. At any rate, you will have a better shot getting in med school in your own home state.

Sounds like you guys have everything else all figured out. I started med school in my early 40's, I had a 7 year old with a stay-at-home wife, and we didn't even have much savings. It all worked out in the end and I already have a job lined up after residency that will pay more than enough for all the debts we accrued over the past few years. Best of all, it's been all worth while.

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nginerd

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I don't think a postbac program at a well-known program will give you a big advantage as long as you take most of your prereqs at a 4 year university and, more importantly, you do well on your MCAT. You can even do DIY postbac without moving away for a specific program. At any rate, you will have a better shot getting in med school in your own home state.

Sounds like you guys have everything else all figured out. I started med school in my early 40's, I had a 7 year old with a stay-at-home wife, and we didn't even have much savings. It all worked out in the end and I already have a job lined up after residency that will pay more than enough for all the debts we accrued over the past few years. Best of all, it's been all worth while.

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Thanks for your response and sharing your experience. Regarding specific med schools, how much impact does it have on your ability to get into a specific field? For example, say I want to be a surgeon. Would going to the University of Colorado Medical School, which isn't necessarily known for surgery like JHU or Columbia, impose a significant limitation on my ability to become a surgeon?
 

LUCPM

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I'm sure big name schools carry their own weight but med school is definitely not a limiting factor for any given specialty. Usually your board score and how well you do in your rotations will determine your specialty.

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precisiongraphic

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I don't think a postbac program at a well-known program will give you a big advantage as long as you take most of your prereqs at a 4 year university and, more importantly, you do well on your MCAT. You can even do DIY postbac without moving away for a specific program. At any rate, you will have a better shot getting in med school in your own home state.



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I agree with LUCPM that you don't need a name-brand post-bacc. Howeer, some schools (Johns Hopkins, Duke...there are others) won't take CC pre-reqs so for flexibility go to a four-year but there are certainly successful matriculants who go to CC for pre-reqs.

Of interest might be Montana State University's summer program. It's right up the road from you in Bozeman and has two summer sessions where you could take most of your prereqs in one summer.(I assume that you have the stats, math, English, and other gen ed requirements.)

Here's what they say (link here) :
  • Are you a post-baccalaureate student planning to apply to medical or dental school? MSU's Summer Session offers a series of science and mathematics courses designed to meet the special academic needs of pre-med students.
Take your beginning bio beforehand at a local college, enroll at MSU next summer. Sublease some prof's house for the 12 weeks. Afterwards, take biochem in the fall. Then study for the MCAT and apply the summer after that.
 
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nginerd

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This is great information. A follow-up question: do you think there's a long term difference, even if subtle, between a name-brand post-bacc program and a DIY program at a 4 year university? Put another way, would paying for a name-brand post-bacc program give me an advantage in an academic sense? One of my primary interests is learning, which is what drew me to the big name programs. However, I'm not married to the idea, so if there's no advantage then so be it!

The MSU program looks very interesting. It seems to be the same price as the program offered by Northwestern, only more compressed. I'm not sure if that's better or worse.

I understand the main point of all of this is to do well on the MCAT and gain a foundation in the required academic disciplines. I suppose, to be more succinct, I was assuming the name-brand post-bacc programs would go above and beyond in some way, but maybe that isn't true.
 

precisiongraphic

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Normally, the objective of a post-bacc is to increase an applicant's GPA and to show AdCom members that the applicant has the ability to handle a big chunk of prerequisites all at once and as a tertiary objective prepare for the MCAT. It is often used as a rehabilitation vehicle but it doesn't sound like you need it. Many post-baccs used to have a strong pipeline to that school's Medical school but that is largely not the case.

As far as any long-term benefit, I don't think there is. Many AdComs and faculty on this forum have stated that going to Harvard for undergrad is identical to going to State U in terms of preparation for medical school. Now that doesn't mean that any one individual AdCom or school might not give a benefit to a certain post-bacc but it's not enough benefit to do it for no other reason.

The other thing is that you haven't posted your Science/Math GPA. If your science/math GPA is and remains less than 3.5 after pre-reqs then yes, you may benefit from a post-bacc.

This is great information. A follow-up question: do you think there's a long term difference, even if subtle, between a name-brand post-bacc program and a DIY program at a 4 year university? Put another way, would paying for a name-brand post-bacc program give me an advantage in an academic sense? One of my primary interests is learning, which is what drew me to the big name programs. However, I'm not married to the idea, so if there's no advantage then so be it!

The MSU program looks very interesting. It seems to be the same price as the program offered by Northwestern, only more compressed. I'm not sure if that's better or worse.

I understand the main point of all of this is to do well on the MCAT and gain a foundation in the required academic disciplines. I suppose, to be more succinct, I was assuming the name-brand post-bacc programs would go above and beyond in some way, but maybe that isn't true.
 
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Thanks for your response and sharing your experience. Regarding specific med schools, how much impact does it have on your ability to get into a specific field? For example, say I want to be a surgeon. Would going to the University of Colorado Medical School, which isn't necessarily known for surgery like JHU or Columbia, impose a significant limitation on my ability to become a surgeon?
Too far down the road. The only real career limitations you might find are DO vs MD - DO might get you "locked out" of certain, highly competitive specialties due to bias or competition. First just try to get in to even one medical school.
 
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nginerd

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Normally, the objective of a post-bacc is to increase an applicant's GPA and to show AdCom members that the applicant has the ability to handle a big chunk of prerequisites all at once and as a tertiary objective prepare for the MCAT. It is often used as a rehabilitation vehicle but it doesn't sound like you need it. Many post-baccs used to have a strong pipeline to that school's Medical school but that is largely not the case.

As far as any long-term benefit, I don't think there is. Many AdComs and faculty on this forum have stated that going to Harvard for undergrad is identical to going to State U in terms of preparation for medical school. Now that doesn't mean that any one individual AdCom or school might not give a benefit to a certain post-bacc but it's not enough benefit to do it for no other reason.

The other thing is that you haven't posted your Science/Math GPA. If your science/math GPA is and remains less than 3.5 after pre-reqs then yes, you may benefit from a post-bacc.

Here's what I calculated after combining all grades from all colleges:
Cumulative undergraduate GPA - 3.59
BCPM GPA - 3.5
All other GPA - 3.64

A few comments: I'm a totally different person now and I care much more about school than I did 10+ years ago, so the luke-warm grades shown above aren't exactly representative of my current capabilities. The linear algebra class I took this spring helped solidify that, but I realize the only evidence I can provide is shown above. Unfortunately, several of my BCPM classes were taken at community colleges because, at the time, I didn't plan to use them for anything other than transfer credit to save money. I've seen a lot of comments about AdComs viewing community college classes as less than ideal, which is part of the reason I had started to look at Post-Bacc programs. I now realize I forgot to mention that earlier. Thoughts?

Edit: I should mention one other thought. Even though I took general chemistry 1 and 2, I don't really remember much from either class. I do well at learning and retaining concepts, which is the case here as well, but I remember very little about the details of either class. Given the fundamental nature of the material and the fact that I took both classes at a community college, attending a post-bacc program to accelerate the process seems like a way to condense the schedule. I don't think I could jump into an organic chemistry class and do well at the moment without a refresher. That's the only thing preventing me from trying something like the MSU summer program, which otherwise would be a great fit.
 
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DocJanItor

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    As a fellow former engineer (ME), you have nothing to worry about. I graduated with a 2.5 cGPA due to several disastrous early semesters, went on to get my MBA, worked in corporate for a while and I'm starting med school in a week.

    Like you, I didn't remember basic chemistry and had never had most of the pre-reqs. I enrolled at a local community college and took accelerated Chem I/II over the summer, along with Bio I and physics I. Then I took two semesters of Orgo I/II and lab, Biochem, Anatomy and Physiology I/II, Bio II, and a general sociology course. I aced it all and bumped my GPA up to a 2.8, then scored a 515 on the MCAT (C/P was perfect, P/S was my weakest score). However, a 2.8 is still never going to get looked at so I enrolled in an SMP with linkage and here I am.

    At a 3.5 GPA you have absolutely no grade issues, and I'm sure you can ace all the pre-reqs. You're clearly hard working and driven, and you've accomplished quite a bit. Going to CC for pre-reqs isn't going to hurt you as long as you do well because you've already proven that you can make good grades in tough courses. The pre-reqs are essentially just for MCAT prep, which you obviously need to do well on. I think a formal post-bacc would be a waste of money for you.

    Other than this, the two things you need to do are 1) have a compelling reason/story for wanting to go into medicine and 2) have plenty of clinical/non-clinical volunteering. Showing that you want to serve is a large part of the application process.
     
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    nginerd

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    As a fellow former engineer (ME), you have nothing to worry about. I graduated with a 2.5 cGPA due to several disastrous early semesters, went on to get my MBA, worked in corporate for a while and I'm starting med school in a week.

    Like you, I didn't remember basic chemistry and had never had most of the pre-reqs. I enrolled at a local community college and took accelerated Chem I/II over the summer, along with Bio I and physics I. Then I took two semesters of Orgo I/II and lab, Biochem, Anatomy and Physiology I/II, Bio II, and a general sociology course. I aced it all and bumped my GPA up to a 2.8, then scored a 515 on the MCAT (C/P was perfect, P/S was my weakest score). However, a 2.8 is still never going to get looked at so I enrolled in an SMP with linkage and here I am.

    At a 3.5 GPA you have absolutely no grade issues, and I'm sure you can ace all the pre-reqs. You're clearly hard working and driven, and you've accomplished quite a bit. Going to CC for pre-reqs isn't going to hurt you as long as you do well because you've already proven that you can make good grades in tough courses. The pre-reqs are essentially just for MCAT prep, which you obviously need to do well on. I think a formal post-bacc would be a waste of money for you.

    Other than this, the two things you need to do are 1) have a compelling reason/story for wanting to go into medicine and 2) have plenty of clinical/non-clinical volunteering. Showing that you want to serve is a large part of the application process.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I appreciate your comments and insight.

    Did you have to explain your decision to take classes at a CC? I am confident that my reasons would be sound (family, work, etc.), but I'm curious to know if it was even mentioned in your interview(s).

    What did you do to prepare for the MCAT and what, if anything, would you do different now that you're on the other side? How long did you study?

    Could you please tell me more about your volunteer experiences? Because of my job schedule, I don't have a lot of formal volunteer experience, but I am definitely interested in getting involved on a regular basis. There are a few hospitals near my house, but I don't know how to get started or even what to ask especially in terms of clinical experience. I want to volunteer for the sake of volunteering as well, but it would be great to hit two birds with one stone.
     

    Goro

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    Hello everyone and thanks for taking the time to read this. I've been reading these forums for a while to gain perspective about the idea of transitioning into medicine. I appreciate any thoughts or advice you feel compelled to share after reading my post.

    I graduated in 2008 with 3.6 GPA in electrical and computer engineering. I recently took a linear algebra class from a local community college because I wanted to fill a gap in my education. I had planned to go to graduate school for engineering, but I've realized over the last few months that my path needs to change. I've enjoyed my time as an engineer and I learned an immense amount about an array of engineering disciplines and applications, but my passion for the engineering environment and workflow has subsided.

    I've been an engineer for nearly 10 years as both an employee and employer. I worked at Intel for 5 years and I started my own business toward the end of my time there. I would do it all again the same way because it changed me in very significant ways. With that said, it also contributed to my burnout; working what felt like two careers was both physically and mentally taxing. I stuck with it for as long as I did because of money, which was a mistake.

    I passed the Professional Engineer (PE) exam a few years ago and I have slowly taken on more responsibilities as a result, which also set the groundwork for this transition. There's not much left in this career for me because the challenge has mostly vanished. I convinced myself that I was fine staying in turn-the-crank mode, but it's just not who I am at my core. I need to be learning and improving myself to be happy, which I'm no longer able to do in a significant way.

    Some brief background about my family: I have two kids, a 6 year old boy and an 8 year old girl, and a dedicated and hard-working wife. We're both 32 and we work full-time. She finished her graduate degree in Behavioral Analysis two years ago and she will be done earning her board certification in the spring. She fully supports any career path I want to pursue. We have spent a lot of time and effort cultivating real estate investments and we save like crazy, which has enabled us to be financially independent. While I appreciate that the cost of medical school is high, it's not a concern at this point. In short, financial and familial affairs are in order to enable a smooth transition to a medical career.

    Now for the meat of the post:

    I don't want to rush into a new career without first testing the waters, but I'd also like to make the time count as much as possible. By that I mean I would like to find a way to start learning about and gaining intuition for how medicine works while also contributing toward a stronger medical school application should that become the end game. My wife found several post-bacc programs that she would fully support, e.g. Northwestern and JHU, by either moving with me or letting me go there to do a 12 or 15 month program while she stays at our house in Colorado with the kids. I'm not crazy about being away that long, but it would be the best opportunity for me to hit the books really hard for a year before applying to medical school.

    I've read dozens of threads on this forum about taking one-off classes to refresh the core concepts in biology and chemistry. I have slowly started to get the feeling that a post-bacc program will give me the best chance of success, but I can't be sure, which is why I'm asking here. Logically, I would think medical school admissions committees would look favorably on a post-bacc program from a well-known school compared to one-off classes at a community college or even a university. Is that true? I would also think a post-bacc program would give me a better chance at scoring well on the MCAT. Is that a valid assumption? I realize my effort is the key to success, so assume I'm willing to put in the effort to make all of this worthwhile. Would the extra cost and effort to do a post-bacc program provide tangible benefit over another method?

    I have more questions, but I'll limit the first post here. Thanks for all of your time and effort so far. I will greatly appreciate anything you have to offer.
    Start by volunteering with patients and shadowing doctors before working on the academics. See if this really is for you.

    You have yet to say anything about "why Medicine?", and I think that it is telling. Do NOT do this simply because you're bored with your current profession
     
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    nginerd

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    Start by volunteering with patients and shadowing doctors before working on the academics. See if this really is for you.

    You have yet to say anything about "why Medicine?", and I think that it is telling. Do NOT do this simply because you're bored with your current profession

    Thanks for your comment. I do have many reasons for choosing this career, but I was, perhaps mistakenly, attempting to keep this thread more about logistics.

    I completely agree with you that formal exposure is a necessity before fully committing, but I'm confident in my interest level even though I haven't yet expressed that in this thread. I'm actually applying in another browser tab to multiple volunteer and shadow opportunities at a hospital a few miles from my house. My mom is a nurse at a hospital slightly further away and she's working with the coordinator at her hospital to setup more of the same.
     

    atomi

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    Stay in your current line of work. The grass is not greener. Most people would kill for your setup. You're looking at an opportunity cost well in the millions. You'll end up working for someone else, most likely a large corporation with a boss far less educated than yourself, in one of the most highly regulated and bureautic industries in the country.

    For a college with unsure career aspects who is risk adverse, it can be a good move. But you've taken the risks already and won. Why walk away from that? Grow your business, sell it, and retire early.
     
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    nginerd

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    Stay in your current line of work. The grass is not greener. Most people would kill for your setup. You're looking at an opportunity cost well in the millions. You'll end up working for someone else, most likely a large corporation with a boss far less educated than yourself, in one of the most highly regulated and bureautic industries in the country.

    For a college with unsure career aspects who is risk adverse, it can be a good move. But you've taken the risks already and won. Why walk away from that? Grow your business, sell it, and retire early.

    I appreciate your candor and point of view, which is certainly valid and worthy of consideration. I see your point about the grass not being greener and I am not trying to take my current situation for granted. I will continue to investigate a career change into medicine, mostly because I want to fully explore the idea and possibly put it to rest if it ends up not being a good fit, but your point will remain in the back of mind because I still have a family to consider.
     

    Blanky

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    I would say stay home with your family and attend a close 4 year college. Start the Chemistry sequence and volunteer or shadow to get some exposure to what medicine is all about.
     

    Blanky

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    We can all agree that staying in your field will yield the best longterm monetary value at this point in your life. Some of us can likely agree that money is not everything and medicine is best persued because you have a calling to the profession. Its certainly not sunshine and rainbows like some people make it out to be on TV, but it is isnt terrible either.
     

    Dullhead

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    Hello everyone...I will greatly appreciate anything you have to offer.
    The standard response you will receive here is that you appear to be running away from CS instead of running towards medicine - without knowing what that entails. That might be true, and if so, you need to examine your motivations very deeply. It's not going to be easy to do if you romanticize life in medicine. If @DrMidlife sees your post and decides to respond, she'll be sure to issue a very potent smackdown. You'll be advised to volunteer and shadow as much as you can to see if this career is suited to you. That is sound advice (with caveats) but I will disagree with parts of it (because I'm a non-trad myself and have opinions).

    As to the post bacc stuff, you don't need a formal program - you should be able to work it with DIY in CO. As for wanting surgery - I agree with Backside that this is premature - get into med school first - then ace all of it - then pick surg because you have options available to you.

    Edit - I agree with others that the financial aspects would suggest that you maximize your current career and retirement options, given that you have a family. Unless medicine holds some magic for you that have experienced and believe to be worth sacrificing income, family time, and other non-financial items.

    FYI, I'm single, no kids, and have no problem sacrificing current career, income, retirement, or other items. I'm 100% a free bird on this journey.
     
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    nginerd

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    We can all agree that staying in your field will yield the best longterm monetary value at this point in your life. Some of us can likely agree that money is not everything and medicine is best persued because you have a calling to the profession. Its certainly not sunshine and rainbows like some people make it out to be on TV, but it is isnt terrible either.

    Without trying to sound a certain way, I'm not making this decision at this moment in my life based on money because my business has done well enough to afford me that luxury. I am grateful for that and I'm not trying to take it for granted. Retirement funding is no longer a concern. Regarding your other comment, I'm sure it isn't sunshine and rainbows - no job is - and I expect that to be the case in virtually every career.

    The standard response you will receive here is that you appear to be running away from CS instead of running towards medicine - without knowing what that entails. That might be true, and if so, you need to examine your motivations very deeply. It's not going to be easy to do if you romanticize life in medicine. If @DrMidlife sees your post and decides to respond, she'll be sure to issue a very potent smackdown. You'll be advised to volunteer and shadow as much as you can to see if this career is suited to you. That is sound advice (with caveats) but I will disagree with parts of it (because I'm a non-trad myself and have opinions).

    I understand what you're saying. I didn't reveal the motivation for choosing medicine in my initial post, so you (and possibly others) were forced to make some assumptions, but that's fair given the lack of information and I appreciate the feedback. To address this more directly, my initial career aspirations involved med school, but I wasn't able to make that work because of money, timing, and, frankly, poor attitude as a kid. It was a passion, but in a fleeting moment of wisdom I knew I would not make the most of it, so I picked something else that was also a good fit for me. There are a lot of medical professionals in my family, which has given me some level of exposure. I also frequently travel to impoverished countries through Engineers Without Borders and I get a first hand view of how much doctors there are able to help. I don't necessarily think I'm going to become a doctor and immediately sign up to spend several months abroad as part of Doctors Without Borders, but it heavily influenced my current line of thinking because I see how much of a difference it makes. This is more of a re-ignited flame than a new idea that just came to me one day because I decided I was bored. Boredom coupled with financial security is allowing me to take this idea more seriously. I don't think I said I'm sure this is the right path - I'm actually certain I said I didn't know a few times - which is part of why I'm here. All of the feedback has been great and I really appreciate it.

    I went to two hospitals this morning to sign up for the volunteer programs. My mom works at another hospital and she's working on setting up a shadowing opportunity with one of the doctors there. I am not planning to go into this blind in any capacity. I also realize just because I feel like it's something I've wanted to do for a long time and I'm finally getting the opportunity to pursue it doesn't mean it will be a good fit. I have enough self-awareness to redirect my efforts before making a final, heavy-handed commitment if it's not a good fit. I expect over the next 6-8 months I will get a decent feel for it as I will be consistently volunteering for at least a few hours per week. If you think that's misguided, I would love to be set straight because your comments and concerns are well-received and understood on this end. I'm doing the best I can to make a good decision for myself as well as my family.

    As to the post bacc stuff, you don't need a formal program - you should be able to work it with DIY in CO.

    Fair enough.

    As for wanting surgery - I agree with Backside that this is premature - get into med school first - then ace all of it - then pick surg because you have options available to you.

    I was mostly mentioning that as an interest, not as a chosen direction. I understand that decision is several years away and I'm open to whatever feels right if it comes to fruition.

    Edit - I agree with others that the financial aspects would suggest that you maximize your current career and retirement options, given that you have a family. Unless medicine holds some magic for you that have experienced and believe to be worth sacrificing income, family time, and other non-financial items.

    FYI, I'm single, no kids, and have no problem sacrificing current career, income, retirement, or other items. I'm 100% a free bird on this journey.

    I responded to this earlier for the most part. I definitely think you make a good point, but it doesn't necessarily or, at least, completely apply to my situation. With that said, I appreciate your point of view and perspective on this issue as it is definitely important.
     
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    DocJanItor

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    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I appreciate your comments and insight.

    Did you have to explain your decision to take classes at a CC? I am confident that my reasons would be sound (family, work, etc.), but I'm curious to know if it was even mentioned in your interview(s).

    What did you do to prepare for the MCAT and what, if anything, would you do different now that you're on the other side? How long did you study?

    Could you please tell me more about your volunteer experiences? Because of my job schedule, I don't have a lot of formal volunteer experience, but I am definitely interested in getting involved on a regular basis. There are a few hospitals near my house, but I don't know how to get started or even what to ask especially in terms of clinical experience. I want to volunteer for the sake of volunteering as well, but it would be great to hit two birds with one stone.
    Sorry to take so long to reply, but I'm glad I let this thread develop a bit!

    I only had one interview at the med school associated with my SMP program, so they only really look at your SMP coursework (medical and graduate classes). Personally, I don't think the CC would come up at all as long as your MCAT is good. Based on your grades, it's very clear that you're not going to a CC because it's "easier".

    As for the MCAT, I honestly only studied consistently for about 5-6 weeks. I certainly did well enough, although I was hoping to do better. I had to be convinced not to retake it for the sake of pride! (Which would have been extremely dumb). If I could do it again, I would've taken it closer to the end of my pre-req courses (I took it 8 months after, should've been 3), and I would've had a better study schedule.

    For volunteering, I had zero clinical volunteering and about 300 hours of non-clinical volunteering, most of which was with Habitat for Humanity. It's very hard to get clinical volunteering when you're not connected, but it sounds like you have that down with your mom's connections. Just make sure you get a few hundred hours and keep it up as much as you can.

    Without trying to sound a certain way, I'm not making this decision at this moment in my life based on money because my business has done well enough to afford me that luxury. I am grateful for that and I'm not trying to take it for granted. Retirement funding is no longer a concern. Regarding your other comment, I'm sure it isn't sunshine and rainbows - no job is - and I expect that to be the case in virtually every career.



    I understand what you're saying. I didn't reveal the motivation for choosing medicine in my initial post, so you (and possibly others) are making some assumptions, but that's fair and I appreciate the feedback. To address this more directly, my initial career aspirations involved med school, but I wasn't able to make that work because of money, timing, and, frankly, poor attitude as a kid. It was a passion, but in a fleeting moment of wisdom I knew I would not make the most of it, so I picked something else that was also a good fit for me. There are a lot of medical professionals in my family, which has given me some level of exposure. I also frequently travel to impoverished countries through Engineers Without Borders and I get a first hand view of how much doctors there are able to help. I don't necessarily think I'm going to become a doctor and immediately sign up to spend several months abroad as part of Doctors Without Borders, but it heavily influenced my current line of thinking because I see how much of a difference it makes. This is more of a re-ignited flame than a new idea that just came to me one day because I decided I was bored. Boredom coupled with financial security is allowing me to take this idea more seriously. I don't think I said I'm sure this is the right path - I'm actually certain I said I didn't know a few times - which is part of why I'm here. All of the feedback has been great and I really appreciate it.

    I went to two hospitals this morning to sign up for the volunteer programs. My mom works at another hospital and she's working on setting up a shadowing opportunity with one of the doctors there. I am not planning to go into this blind in any capacity. I also realize just because I feel like it's something I've wanted to do for a long time and I'm finally getting the opportunity to pursue it doesn't mean it will be a good fit. I have enough self-awareness to redirect my efforts before making a final, heavy-handed commitment if it's not a good fit. I expect over the next 6-8 months I will get a decent feel for it as I will be consistently volunteering for at least a few hours per week. If you think that's misguided, I would love to be set straight because your comments and concerns are well-received and understood on this end. I'm doing the best I can to make a good decision for myself as well as my family.



    Fair enough.



    I was mostly mentioning that as an interest, not as a chosen direction. I understand that decision is several years away and I'm open to whatever feels right if it comes to fruition.



    I responded to this earlier for the most part. I definitely think you make a good point, but it doesn't necessarily or, at least, completely apply to my situation. With that said, I appreciate your point of view and perspective on this issue as it is definitely important.

    This is your personal statement. This is a strong reason for going into medicine where you have clearly articulated a desire to serve and a ongoing connection to medicine.

    All that being said, let me say this: Assuming your story is all true, you are not like most other people on this board, pre-med or otherwise. You have academic and professional accomplishments, financial stability, and (possibly most important) confidence. You'll have to jump through the same hoops of pre-reqs, MCAT, and hitting the right tone on your application, but I have no doubt that you'll accomplish your goals with relative ease.

    Don't listen to people who say "don't get ahead of yourself". Feel free to set goals like surgery, if that's what you're interested in. But give yourself room to grow and fail. While engineering is far and away more conceptually difficult than medical science, medicine is more work due to the time it takes to memorize the 10,000 things you need to know for each course.
     
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    Dullhead

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    @nginerd - I hope my message did not come off as berating or scolding. It was not meant to be that way. Of course, it's hard to convey tone over the intarwebz, so there's that. I was mostly "talking out loud" and it seems you have already considered several of the points I brought up.

    My story is somewhat similar to yours. But I'm from south Asia where medicine is an undergraduate degree, unlike here, and high schoolers enter a 5-yr program after 12th grade. My parents, uncles, and aunties were 100% convinced that I was going into medicine. But I had other interests too. I used to enjoy programming and building circuit boards from scratch with a Sharpie on copper clad, and a whole bunch of other stuff, etc. In 11th grade, I placed 4th in a regional electronics-related competition with my hand-crafted circuit board and slick poster board. In the end I chose ChemE because that's where my exam scores and GPA put me. But a career in medicine was always something I thought about, especially because I was constantly exposed to it due to relatives who were medical (both western and eastern) professionals.

    Anyway, looks like you've put plenty of thought into all this and have a plan going forward. That will save you from a DrMidLife smackdown (she's the non-trad forum's reality-check dish out brutal truth poster. She can make you cry if you are weak, but reading her posts will make you more informed on this journey.) Looks like you're OK though. Good luck.
     
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    nginerd

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    Sorry to take so long to reply, but I'm glad I let this thread develop a bit!

    I only had one interview at the med school associated with my SMP program, so they only really look at your SMP coursework (medical and graduate classes). Personally, I don't think the CC would come up at all as long as your MCAT is good. Based on your grades, it's very clear that you're not going to a CC because it's "easier".

    As for the MCAT, I honestly only studied consistently for about 5-6 weeks. I certainly did well enough, although I was hoping to do better. I had to be convinced not to retake it for the sake of pride! (Which would have been extremely dumb). If I could do it again, I would've taken it closer to the end of my pre-req courses (I took it 8 months after, should've been 3), and I would've had a better study schedule.

    For volunteering, I had zero clinical volunteering and about 300 hours of non-clinical volunteering, most of which was with Habitat for Humanity. It's very hard to get clinical volunteering when you're not connected, but it sounds like you have that down with your mom's connections. Just make sure you get a few hundred hours and keep it up as much as you can.

    This is great! Thank you.



    This is your personal statement. This is a strong reason for going into medicine where you have clearly articulated a desire to serve and a ongoing connection to medicine.

    I hadn't thought of it that way, but I think you're right. That really is my personal statement. Thank you for that insight.

    All that being said, let me say this: Assuming your story is all true, you are not like most other people on this board, pre-med or otherwise. You have academic and professional accomplishments, financial stability, and (possibly most important) confidence. You'll have to jump through the same hoops of pre-reqs, MCAT, and hitting the right tone on your application, but I have no doubt that you'll accomplish your goals with relative ease.

    I can appreciate your slight hesitation. All I can say in response is I came here to solicit advice from others who are further along this path and it wouldn't do me much good to ask for help that doesn't apply. My goal is to work hard, do the best I can, and respect what the profession has to offer those who chose to practice it and those who seek it out for help.

    Don't listen to people who say "don't get ahead of yourself". Feel free to set goals like surgery, if that's what you're interested in. But give yourself room to grow and fail. While engineering is far and away more conceptually difficult than medical science, medicine is more work due to the time it takes to memorize the 10,000 things you need to know for each course.

    Having a plan full of aspirations with no realistic expectations is a setup for failure, but not aspiring to attain or achieve something often limits motivation and creativity. I've found, at least in engineering, the answer is often somewhere in the middle. I've learned far more from my failures than my successes, so I've learned to embrace them. I'm looking forward to a different type of challenge regardless of what it turns out to be.
     
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    nginerd

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    @nginerd - I hope my message did not come off as berating or scolding. It was not meant to be that way. Of course, it's hard to convey tone over the intarwebz, so there's that. I was mostly "talking out loud" and it seems you have already considered several of the points I brought up.

    When I was 18 years old, I saw a box in Walmart that said "TEAM LIFT" on the side because it was heavy. While I'm certain that wasn't meant to be a motivational poster, it truly changed my worldview as crazy as that may sound. Up until that point, I wouldn't have described myself as selfish, but I was certainly a typical teenager with no awareness of the world around me. Ever since that moment, I've treated most experiences in my life as "TEAM LIFT" and this is no different. Differing and even dissenting opinions and perspectives are where the real meat of the discussion is. You don't learn things from people who agree with you or have the exact same opinions. In short, I thought your post was fantastic and very helpful. Thank you.

    My story is somewhat similar to yours. But I'm from south Asia where medicine is an undergraduate degree, unlike here, and high schoolers enter a 5-yr program after 12th grade. My parents, uncles, and aunties were 100% convinced that I was going into medicine. But I had other interests too. I used to enjoy programming and building circuit boards from scratch with a Sharpie on copper clad, and a whole bunch of other stuff, etc. In 11th grade, I placed 4th in a regional electronics-related competition with my hand-crafted circuit board and slick poster board. In the end I chose ChemE because that's where my exam scores and GPA put me. But a career in medicine was always something I thought about, especially because I was constantly exposed to it due to relatives who were medical (both western and eastern) professionals.

    Anyway, looks like you've put plenty of thought into all this and have a plan going forward. That will save you from a DrMidLife smackdown (she's the non-trad forum's reality-check dish out brutal truth poster. She can make you cry if you are weak, but reading her posts will make you more informed on this journey.) Looks like you're OK though. Good luck.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It does sound similar to mine in ways you don't realize.

    I look forward to a smackdown if @DrMidlife deems me worthy to receive such a blessing. Seriously, the only thing I know for sure is that I don't know anything for sure and her input will be appreciated regardless.
     
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    Dullhead

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    When I was 18 years old, I saw a box in Walmart that said "TEAM LIFT" on the side because it was heavy.
    Seriously, this sounds like a great opening for your PS. I'm not an adcom who goes through 1000s of applications, but as a layperson, this opening statement would get my attention.

    If DrMidLife smackdown happens, I'll be here to enjoy it. I'm sure it'll deflate your ego, but you will gain more knowledge points than you lose in ego points.
     
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