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What was your Pathway to Medical School?

This may not be common amongst many people, but if applicable, would you tell me how you got into medical school (starting from high school)? This will definitely be a long question, but I felt that it would be helpful to many students and aspiring individuals looking for motivation or a pathway to get into med school. Additionally, I do have the means and pre-requisites to apply to med school, but I do not believe that it is the right choice for me(as I've hated biology ever since freshman year). Any input from qualified individuals would be appreciated! #doctor #medicine #healthcare #premed


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Robert’s Answer

When I was in college I enjoyed theology and philosophy not so much for the subject but for the mental exercise required to understand and criticise the topics. This lead to spirited and fun discussions with my peers. But I always thought I might want to go to med school so I took the calculus chemistry biology courses just in case. They weren't nearly as much fun but were easy enough to get through. ( I almost got a D in calculus but worked hard and found favor from the professor and squeaked by with a C ). The organic chemistry course at my school was taught by Mr Bobko, a brilliant professor of chemistry who had a reputation of hating pre-med students so I took the organic course at a local college during the summer and easily aced the course. When time came to choose my profession I decided on medicine and had enough science courses passed with a B or better so I was able to gain access to a good med school but when I arrived I found I was poorly prepared to understand the complex sciences taught in professional school so I had to struggle through till graduation. I did a straight Peds internship and residency and have just completed 50 years of taking care of sick kids ( last 20 as Peds Hospitalist ). The practice has been great. It's unfortunate the government has stepped in to " regulate " the practice of medicine: they have made it more complicated and not as much fun as it used to be.

Wow, what an exemplary and inspiring response! What I appreciate about your journey are the failures you have experienced which molded you as a successful pediatrician who loves his job! Maybe your compassion for the profession comes from your struggles in your journey! In my eyes, what separates you from others is your resiliency to endure the complex sciences one has to go through in med school (which very few could accomplish), as well as even getting into med school into the first place! Your pathway was also very interesting, I love hearing these stories! All the best! Aun M.

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Haley’s Answer

Hi Aun, I just got into medical school after going back and forth while in college. My best piece of advice is to shadow physicians and/or residents because that will give you the best day-to-day idea of what the job is like. After shadowing, I knew it was for me. You don't have to like or not like a subject going into it in my opinion (organic chemistry was not for me!).

Haha, thanks a lot for the answer, Haley! Although I don't think medicine is the right fit for me, I might change down the road as it's still extremely early for me to decide. Congratulations on your acceptance to med school, and I wish you the best in your future endeavors! Aun M.

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Mallory’s Answer

Throughout high school and college I shadowed physicians and volunteered in hospitals to learn about the medical field. I majored in Biology with a minor in Sociology in college. I applied to medical school my senior year of college and was accepted but decided to take a gap year before starting school because I knew it would be very rigorous. During my gap year I traveled, worked, and relaxed!

I know a lot of students in my class that worked in the field before starting medical school. Some students take a year off to raise their MCAT score or retake courses.

Once in medical school - your first year of medical school has a lot of foundation courses - biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, microbiology, pharmacology. But after that all of your courses will be more clinical. 3rd and 4th year you will be in the clinical field working in hospitals and clinics with physicians.
It is a long road but a very rewarding one!

There are a lot of careers in healthcare so don't give up if you are passionate!
Feel free to ask any follow up questions. Hope this helps!

Mallory recommends the following next steps:

High school: focus on grades, ACT, SAT to prepare for college applications
College: focus on grades, study for MCAT
Volunteer in Hospitals, clinics
Talk to physicians, shadow physicians learn about medical field

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Richard’s Answer

3 years to get bachelor's degree in biochemistry.
4 years of medical school
5 years of residency.
1 year fellowship in interventional radiology.

Thank you for your answer Richard, that seems like quite a commitment! After a lot of brainstorming, I realized that although my mission is to serve others, I figured that medicine isn't the only route to achieving that. Regardless of which path I pursue, I will always keep in mind the sacrifices and commitments physicians have made to save lives, and help those in need. Thank you Richard, and all the best! Aun M.

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Rachel’s Answer

I grew up in a medical family, and I knew from a young age that I would like to be a physician. My path was relatively straightforward. 4 years college, 4 years medical school, followed by a 5 year general surgery residency. I am a life-long student.

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Estelle’s Answer

Great answers above! I graduated from medical school in 1990, so things have changed quite a bit. I took the direct route: 4 yrs of college majoring in biochemistry, 4 yrs of medical school, and 4 yrs of residency. My kids are considering medical professions, and they are taking more time to explore other fields first. For example, my son majored in history before completing his pre-med requirements. Another of my kids worked for a year before applying to optometry school. The key is to not feel rushed when making these decisions because the road to medicine is long and difficult, so you want to be committed and sure of your decision.

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