Want to be a doctor- but worry I can't do it/not smart/feeling overwhelmed

posted 1 year ago in College
Post # 46
Hostess
9630 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

blueberrycupcake28 :  How are you getting clinical experience at the free clinic/soup place? Are you shadowing a doctor? What all does it entail?

I don’t know bee, intro to bio and chem courses at a community college are much, much different than rigorous biology/chemistry courses at accredited universities that include a 0 credit 4 hour lab once a week. Until you transfer to an accredited 4 year university and declare your major as something approproate for premed (chemistry, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, nursing) then I don’t think you have any clue what you’re in for. 

When can you transfer to an accredited university? Why keep wasting time at a community college? Why not transfer ASAP and get on the road to at least a decent bachelor’s degree? 

Post # 47
Member
285 posts
Helper bee

anonymousbee63 :  Yeah you’re right… I meant that I thought the OP is *focusing* mostly on shadowing instead of using it as a tool to decide if she wants to commit a decade (!!!) to this path.  I just felt like it had undue weight in her decision.  Specifically that she was unsure about being a doctor because she wasn’t in university to take advantage of one of the programs.  I just wanted to emphasize that this is really a multifactorial process and you can’t jump to the end (ie I want to work in a clinic so I should go to med school) before you build a foundation (I am capable of performing academically in difficult subjects such as biology, chemistry, etc + I can perform academically while working in a clinic + I actually love working in a clinic and all it entails).  Personally, I couldn’t handle the stress of being a doctor, after talking at length to one of my MD-PhD friends in the lab.  I think for me, the weight of mentally wouldn’t be bearable.  But I performed well academically and had lots of experience… so I think all these pieces should be taken as equals before embarking on a path like this.  I have seen a lot of people go premed and then get a degree in biology or something and get to the end and realize that they don’t want to go to school for that long/don’t want that kind of life and have to go get a master’s degree to get a high-paying job.  One of my best friends from HS did that; degree in genetics, went to grad school to get a master’s in genetic counseling.  I think it’s all about making sure your options stay open.

Also, if you want any advice about research, hit me up.  I’ve been doing it for 6 years now (oh god I feel old) and at 4 different institutions.  I’m about to *hopefully* qualify for my candidacy to get a PhD and have 3-4 years left (at the end of my 2nd).  Another long hard road that should only be undertaken if you KNOW this is what you want.

Post # 48
Member
5113 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

When I was teaching the Bio 1 Lab (mostly freshmen) while I was in grad school, I would sometimes ask who was premed and literally 90% of the class always raised their hand. When I taught microbiology and genetics (mostly juniors and seniors), I asked the same question and maybe got a couple hands. There’s a reason for that. I think it’s easy to have this wonderful idea about helping people and treating patients, but the reality is that it takes a lot more than that to get there. I know perfectly qualified people with tons of clinical experience who still spend years after undergrad just trying to get into medical school.

You can’t know if you’re going to perform well academically until you actually take hard courses. And honestly, Bio/Chem 1 and 2 aren’t what I would consider rigorous. They should be pretty easy, they’re still introductory courses and if they aren’t easy then the upper levels are going to be a struggle. I know another poster earlier said to space out your hard science courses so that you never take more than one per semester, but seriously, if you can’t handle taking more than one science course at a time, then you can’t handle medical school. I would try to transfer and get into these sciences courses as soon as possible and see if you can even handle it.

 

Post # 49
Member
746 posts
Busy bee

anonymousbee63 :  You’re lucky that finances are not a concern for you. Good luck on your path!

SithLady :  I agree with you. 90% of premeds definitely change their minds once they are immersed in the coursework and see how difficult it actually is to make it to medical school. These are bright people, but the fact that they decide to pursue another path says a lot about how hardworking, intelligent, and dedicated people have to be to make it into medical school.

I think that spacing out the prerequisites is “smart” in the admissions “game” in that people may be able to have a higher GPA in the end and have an advantage in that way, but it might leave people less academically prepared for medical school or nursing school or if they want to pursue a healthcare profession in the end.

Then again, there’s the other side of the coin. People with non-science majors do make it to medical school and other health profession schools. It may be harder to do extremely well compared to classmates who did well in hard science majors, but the once you get into a health professions school you only have to pass your classes to become a doctor or dentist or PA or nurse. And I know that many health professions schools have many resources for students who are on the edge/at risk of failing. No school wants to see their students failing out.

All to say that I can see why there are multiple perspectives on this.

Post # 50
Member
2813 posts
Sugar bee

In our area, even nursing programs are extremely hard/competitive to get into. Certain (and pretty high) gpa is required, and anyone with gpa below that number gets automatically disqualified. They don’t care for personal circumstances, if it’s below the threshold, application is automatically denied. I️ would imagine medical schools are intensely competitive. No med school wants a reputation of accepting future doctors with sub par credentials. 

Post # 52
Hostess
9630 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL

blueberrycupcake28 :  That doesn’t really make sense to me, TBH. People get into 4 year universities straight from high school. Are you sure about that info?

Post # 54
Member
1030 posts
Bumble bee

anabee323 :  I see where you are coming from with your suggestion.  But I think spreading out your “hard” lab courses one per semester would not only make your undergraduate degree span a decade to obtain by itself, it would leave you poorly equipped to handle the stress of an advanced degree.  You cannot “only take one hard class at a time” as a medical student.  So her undergraduate program needs to help her set and meet expectations and learn to balance those stressors well before she enters a medical program.  I think it is really important to give this Bee a harsh, honest evaluation of her situation and the ways in which she needs to step up in order to make this a viable career path for herself.  Sugar coating, dismissing her indecisiveness and lack of experience, suggesting softening techniques for completing her coursework, etc will only leave her all the less prepared to handle medical school.  Which will leave a Bee with potential debt, unrealistic expectations, and no plan for a life path if things don’t go as anticipated.  At every level, there will always be someone smarter, faster, better than her and advisors and instructors will lay down harsh constructive criticism.  

SithLady :  Retweet.   If Chem 1/2 or Bio are difficult for her at a community college or she cannot handle several upper level courses at an accredited 4-year undergraduate program taken at the same time in the same semester/quarter, medical school likely will not be the right path for her.

blueberrycupcake28 :  I can’t scroll back without losing my comments, but it sounded like you had 3 years of community college coursework under your belt?  Now you think you need two additional years before transferring to a 4 year university? Disregarding the first semester when you dropped out and received 0’s, do you have two full years of courses?  Do you have the ability to “test out” of lower level math courses so that you can begin in Calc or were precalc/trig not classes that you took in HS so that those are now classes that you have to take in order to achieve the calc prereq?  I’m worried that you will be spending quite a bit of time at a community college without receiving ANY type of degree (even an AA).  Ideally you should be spending at most 2 years there to cover your prerequisites and boost your GPA.  Is this because you would be classified as a transfer student?  If so, have you evaluated the time you would have to remain in a community college gathering prerequisite transfer classes for OTHER programs at 4-year universities and considered ones that were suited to your skills/enjoyment that required less additional time at another community college?  How many credit hours do you have in total that qualify for transfer?  How many credits do you typically take a semester?

Post # 55
Member
5113 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

notmeeither :  I was also going to suggest trying to test out of some of the Calc prereqs. Taking another 2 years in CC just to complete Calculus is a lot. My husband just did this. He had to take calculus to transfer to the university, but didn’t have the prereq, he didn’t want to waste another semester taking the prereq, so he just taught himself over winter break and CLEPed out of the prereq so he could take calculus. It can save a lot of time and money.

Post # 56
Member
746 posts
Busy bee

blueberrycupcake28 :  I think that the best thing to keep in mind is that this is such a long road getting into the healthcare field. If you keep looking down the line and feeling bad that you can’t take part in the shadowing until 2 years down the line or that you won’t get to medical school until a few years down the line, that is just wasted energy. You could be using that to enjoy the moment, volunteer, have hobbies, and relax! All are much more valuable than the pressure that you are putting on yourself and the stress that you are experiencing from looking too far forward. Getting into this career is a marathon, not a sprint. Always keep that in mind. Do things when they are appropriate for you.

I have no idea what your academic or financial situation is like, and I agree that you will want to transfer as soon as you can but if you have to take extra time for whatever reason (can’t take many classes in one semester, need to fulfill prerequisites before transferring), then it is what it is. You just have to try to be happy in the moment and enjoy the process of the journey! 

notmeeither :  I did not suggest this, a PP did. However, I will say as someone who has a large portion of her family in the medical field and personally works with and knows doctors, I know several people personally who did do a humanities major and spread out their science classes. None of them failed out of medical school. 

Just from a quick google search, though, there are 8-9 science classes required for the MCAT? Take Intro to Bio 1 and 2 freshman year, take Intro to Chem 1 and 2 sophomore year, Take Organic 1 and 2 junior year, and take Physics 1 and 2 as well as Biochem senior year. There you go–you can take all the premed prerequisites in 4 years. Not to mention that summer classes can speed this up (ex. taking any science classes in summer sessions, which yes do move faster but you also have 1 class to focus on per session). At many universities it is possible to take two summer sessions, so one could do a two course sequence (ex. Chem 1 and Chem 2) over the summer.

Post # 58
Member
9173 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i was a bio/premed major.  organic chemistry killed me.  i didn’t want to take a 2nd semester of it. i still have a bio minor (if that means anything).  but i am in software development now. i gradauted with a BS in information technology.  then got my masters in information systems.

so if you want to be premed, you need to focus ASAP and not be all over the place.

you can overcome poor GPA, look at Dr. Carson.  read his book Gifted Hands.

Post # 59
Member
1030 posts
Bumble bee

anabee323 :  Sorry, I tagged the wrong Bee.  That wasn’t tagged to challenge you.  Listing the basic course requirements and the way they can be broken down to maintain a GPA while obtaining a different degree type should be helpful to Bee though.

Post # 60
Member
6657 posts
Bee Keeper

blueberrycupcake28 :  Have you actually met with a UC academic counselor? If you haven’t it seems a good idea–it’s possible there may be another route for you. 

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