Published Sept 22, 2014
I was no where near prepared to begin an AACOMAS/AMCAS application, let alone be a medical student, when I completed undergrad a few years ago. Due to declaring a new major at the beginning of my sophomore year in college (Biology to Psychology) to ensure that I completed all of my Psychology core requirements for graduation I had to forgo the traditional pre-med route. I had two options: A) complete all of my premed pre-reqs and finish undergrad in 5 years or B) graduate in 4 years with a Psychology Degree and complete my Physics and Organic Chemistry pre-reqs later. I attended a Private Liberal Arts College and tuition was extremely high so I opted for option B.
If you have ever been to an amusement park than you are more than likely familiar with roller coasters and for me my undergrad experience was analogous to the hilly, looped filled, unpredictable roller coasters at your local amusement park, which would need an entire blog post on its own.
After graduating from college with it a GPA that was anything but stellar, I was still hopeful that medical school was somewhere within my horizon. Unfortunately, I was not able to enroll in school to complete my post bacc program immediately after graduating because of limited availability due to my work schedule and home obligations. But not to despair about 6months after graduating I was enrolled in a non-traditional post bacc program. I was enrolled for a total of 17 consecutive months because I took classes during the summer as well and for the most part my course load consisted of between 6-10 credits per semester. I completed both sets of Organic Chemistry including labs, both set of Physics w/integrated lab components, Biochemistry and a few other non medical school related courses. For me taking a limited amount of classes was the best option because it fit my budget and my times constraints (work and home life). And it proved beneficial because I was able to perform very well in all of the classes.
Performing well in my "Post Bacc" classes was just the motivation I needed to spark added flame to my medical school dreams. Yet, I wanted to participate in a more rigorous academic program, so I enrolled in a masters program. Fast forward to present day, almost 2 years after completing my M.S program, hundreds of volunteer and shadowing hours, a couple of MCATs and medical applications later, Here I am! Even though my journey has been very rocky and slightly extended, I have learned a lot along the way such as: what study methods work for me, how to overcome test anxiety, I gained a vast amount of medical shadowing experience, learning how to balance school work/parenthood and perform well in class, what factors are important to me in an academic program and I even had the chance to interview with medical schools.
As you can tell by reading thus far, my journey was not swift or effortless. At times I felt like Dorothy, her trek towards Oz was not as carefree as she may have hoped and the yellow brick road had several pot holes and unwanted travelers along the way. But with perseverance and the help of a few supportive mates she made it. I can too and God willing I will!