sarin

10+ Year Member
Jun 7, 2007
4
0
O-Town
Status
Pre-Medical
Hi everyone,

I am currently in the midst of a situation, and I would like some feedback...not necessarily what you think I should do, but what you would do if you were in the same situation...

I am a 24 year old non-trad, and I attend UCF. I work 50+ hours per week at a local hospital to pay my tuition and all of my living expenses, on top of taking 15 credits per semester. The upside is, I have very close working relationships with several physicians (including the chief medical officer of the hospital.) I am on several physician-led committes, and I have no doubt several of these docs would write me amazing letters of rec. when the time comes. Downside-I am bloody exhausted. I don't know that I can keep working this much, and still maintain a good enough GPA to get into med school. But I cant cut back on hours, or I wont be able to pay my rent and other living expenses. Catch-22.

My father, who lives down south, has offered to let me move home rent-free and bill-free until I graduate. I would attend FAU, and only work one or two days a week to pay for insurance and such. It would seriously decrease the stress factor, but I am also worried about losing the relationships with these wonderful docs who have been such great mentors to me. I work in a teaching hospital...and with the amount of new faces who come through here every month, I can't guarantee they would remember me in two years time to write me a strong rec. letter (I would hope I have made a strong impression, but I am being realistic here). I would also miss out on a research opportunity that I have been asked to participate in, which I know would be really interesting to talk about during interviews.

I know for some people this is a no-brainer, and I welcome any comments...even if they are "Stop whining you big baby, and just move home." :) Just looking for some advice from my peers. Thanks guys!
 

gman33

Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Aug 18, 2007
2,188
495
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Attending Physician
Priority #1 is to keep your grades up.
All the LORs in the world won't matter if that doesn't happen.

If you feel strongly about staying put, maybe reduce your work hours and reduce the number of credits each semester. Another year won't make any difference in the long run.

If you move home, you could always ask for the LORs now and have them sent to your file at your new school.
 

Luxian

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2006
405
1
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Medical Student
I'm so sorry!

I know there's a current loan crisis for student loans, but personally I would do everything I could to get some financial aid NOW. NO student should be required to work full-time to get through school, much less more than full time as you are. Getting good grades is important to the process, cause they may not read further to see WHY you didn't get top grades.

Things I would do:

Go to financial aid and get an emergency loan for now. Do the financial aid paperwork for next year and get some loans for next year.

I know you like the hospital, but campuses often have a tuition reimbursement system where if you work 10 hrs a week on campus you can half your tuition cut in half. If you can cut your hospital hours in half and work on campus, you could have just as much money and fewer costs.

Save money. Get a roommate. Get three roommates if need be. Live on ramen. Don't buy lattes.
 

nu2004

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2008
861
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Los Angecagoveland
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Medical Student
how long have you maintained these relationships that you hope to turn into letters? if it has been for a substantial period of time (> a year) i don't see why you couldn't ask them for the letters NOW and then move to keep working on your coursework. that's what i would do -- or i would try to keep up some small degree of contact with them and then ask for the letters a little later, maybe in a few months. you can't let so much time pass that they forget you, however.

i was in a similar situation back when i was running my own business and taking "a year of general chemistry in 8 weeks." it was impossible, even splitting 20 hours a day between both left me disappointing my clients and getting B's in chemistry. something's gotta give, and it shouldn't be your grades.

good luck.
 

sunny1

10+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2007
602
1
Status
Pre-Medical
I only work 40 hours a week and I limit myself to 7-8 credits a semester of the prereqs so I have time to study and maintain a semblance of a life.

I would either cut back on the credits or cut back on the work hours and take out a small educational loan to cover tuition + some of the living expenses you can't afford by working reduced hours.

If I only had the prereqs left to finish, I'd just cut back on the classload during the spring and fall semesters. Over the summer, if your workplace is flexible, I'd see if they'd be willing to let you work part-time for the 2 months while you take 1-2 summer classes.

BUT - it sounds like you are finishing your bachelor degree on top of the prereqs. In that case, I'd cut back on work hours and take out loans to pay for tuition plus some living expenses.
 

nontrdgsbuiucmd

10+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2008
998
3
my own little world
Status
Medical Student
Moving "home" depends on your relationship with your parents, I'd most likely suggest against that because

1) Changing school and where you work and where you live sum up to a pretty major change, for the short term, stress may well increase

2) You've got the relationships with physicians, staff, and the opportunity to do research where you are, it will take some time to rebuild those opportunities.

Which in my opinion leaves the options mentioned above, take out loans, cut back work hours, or cut back school hours, depends which is most important to you; I've met a number of non-trads in their 30s and beyond, my suggestion if this is possible is to cut back to 30 hrs work, take out loans, cut back to 9 hrs school. If not possible, I'd cut back even more on school hours to keep those grades As; that's got to be priority #1.
 

Lacheln

Cavorting in the Hills
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Mar 31, 2005
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It sounds like you could get the LORs now, so I'd do that, move home and finish up school. Maybe the docs you've got a relationship with now can help you get set up at a hospital near your Dad so that you can continue getting that experience?

Grades have got to be top priority, and burning yourself out completely isn't very compatible with that. A lot of people move home these days for various reasons, and it'd be time-limited. I wouldn't go the loan route for living expenses mostly because you're going to be in a lot of debt after medical school - is it worth it to add more unnecessarily? But that's just me. Good luck, whatever you decide to do, something's clearly got to give!
 

nu2004

10+ Year Member
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Mar 7, 2008
861
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Los Angecagoveland
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I would also add that if you continue down your current path, you'll be in really bad shape if anything unexpected happens. God forbid you get sick or injured while working/schooling. It happens, though, and maybe being at home would help to guard against this to a certain degree. The above point about your relationship with your parents and the stress associated with a new living and school environment is valid, though.
 

contemplate

10+ Year Member
Dec 9, 2006
9
0
Status
Assuming that you just have another 1-2 years of school left:

1) Borrow money from family. Ask your dad to loan you $5-6K a semester.
2) Use that money to pay for rent (move to a cheaper place nearby if you have to but don't change schools), and living expenses. Cut unnecessary spending.
3) Reduce your work hours. As a full-time student, you shouldn't work more than 20 hours/week.
4) Use the time you freed up for improving your grades and ECs in healthcare.
5) Whatever free time you have left, use it to balance your school, work, long-term goals and happiness.

Good luck! :)
 

drimpossible

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Apr 25, 2008
229
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Brick City
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Medical Student
I would second breeak's suggestion and ask for the LOR's now, then move home and finish up your coursework.
 

Lacheln

Cavorting in the Hills
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Mar 31, 2005
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:laugh: nu, as you well should.