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Showing content with the highest reputation on 04/17/2019 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    Snowmen

    -

    Step 1: Have 6 posts to your name Step 2: Be sassy with people who've been here for years Step 3: Still expect help Step 4: Wonder why you're not getting any
  2. 4 points
    dentdent123

    DMD 2019

    Je pense que ce n'est pas une mauvaise idée, mais c'est important de faire également une préparation individuelle afin de bien se connaitre et de pouvoir réellement dresser un portrait de notre personnalité face aux intervieweurs. Par exemple, ce que je compte faire, c'est de dresser un portrait de mon parcours scolaire personnel et de vraiment faire ressortir les événements clés à chaque étape afin de voir mon évolution au point de vue scolaire, personnel et faire ressortir de réels apprentissages qui font de moi qui je suis aujourd'hui. Faire aussi une introspection, faire ressortir mes qualités et défauts (de la façon la plus objective possible) tout en établissant des liens avec la profession. Aussi, faire beaucoup de recherche sur l'Ulaval par rapport au programme, sa structure, les cours, ce qui différencie le programme des autres, ce qui m'attire, son évolution, les spécialités, les qualités indispensables, les normes de professionnalisme, gestion de conflits, gestion de stress, l'éthique, motivation, projet a long terme, travail d'équipe, leadership, etc. Bien connaitre le programme et la profession permettra de faire des liens pertinents entre ce qu'on dit sur nous et la profession. Je pense que c'est bien important aussi de savoir pourquoi on veut devenir dentiste plus qu'un autre spécialiste de la santé. C'est aussi intéressant (et bien vue je pense aussi) de réfléchir a des questions a poser aux intervieweurs. En gros, parler de soi en essayant le plus possible de rattacher nos réponses à la profession (combinaison gagnante a mon avis). En gros, c'est bien de se pratiquer en équipe mais le plus gros du travail et de la préparation se fait solo selon moi! Bon je m'étale trop là et je ne pense pas que ce soit le bon topic pour, mais good luck à tous, faites vous confiance (vous n'êtes pas rendu la par hasard) et épatez les tous!
  3. 3 points
    ChemPetE

    CaRMS 2019 Prelim Data

    Really medical school spots need to decrease... the government has proven time and time again there is no appetite to fund extra residency spots. And if there are unemployed specialists, just decrease then medical students that they train. Premeds will freak, but that is the solution to this...
  4. 2 points
    meddent2018

    DMD 2019

    Ouain... C'est sur que c'est dur de juger les aptitudes de qqn à devenir médecin/ dentiste en 5 minutes, mais en même temps, la limite de temps fait que t'es vraiment obligé de répondre de la même manière que tu répondrais en vraie vie, spontanément, donc c'est là qu'on peut vraiment juger un raisonnement. Puis si ton score est si bas, ça ne doit pas être une seule question qui fait échouer les gens, mais bien l'ensemble, malheureusement
  5. 2 points
    PhD2MD

    OSAP/NSLSC frustration

    FINAL UPDATE It's been months of back and forth between the federal and provincial departments (both scratching their heads and blaming each other), and my local OSAP reps (who were really useless). As far as I can tell, things sat untouched for months at a time, until I got on the phone and pushed each of the 3 groups to start talking to each other aggressively. In the end, they finally realized that a PhD can be done before and MD, not just after, and awarded me about half the usual amount of OSAP for this year. They also reversed the interest charges that have been accruing. There's been a lot of talk in this forum about where the best place to keep your overall debt is...I've learned a lot about this + made a calculator + there are changes coming in the new budget...so i'll make a post about this soon. Thanks for everyone's help/suggestion along this journey
  6. 2 points
    sunny_sideup

    NB Waitlist Scores

    I have a score of 67.7 so if I get an offer I promise I’ll post on here right away! I think there have been three offers off the waitlist so far :)
  7. 2 points
    TopChef

    pharmD

    Je pense qu’ils appellent les références seulement lorsque c’est louche (par exemple lorsqu’il semble qu’il y ait exagération sur les faits réalisés) ou bien de façon aléatoire chez les appliquants.
  8. 1 point
    Hey all, I heard interview invites came out a couple days ago. Feel free to post your stats and results for those who plan on applying in the future! Post any questions you have and the DDS 2022’s will try their best to answer them!
  9. 1 point
    Sarah12

    DMD 2019

    Oui, je sais justement je voulais savoir si quelqu'un s'était renseigné. Bien sur que ce sont des paramètres qui nous échappent, mais personnellement j'aime bien connaitre les statistiques et savoir à quoi m'attendre. Il est vrai que la préparation aux entrevues est plus importante, mais c'est le genre d'information qui intéresse, je pense, plus d'une personne.
  10. 1 point
    brockboeser6

    Reference Letters Guideline

    Ideally you would ask for an academic reference with whom you've built good rapport with and hopefully established a longer-term relationship with. If that describes one of the profs you've had this year go for it! The majority of the reference is a survey/questions. For the traditional reference letter portion, you could perhaps instruct your prof to talk about concrete examples in which you have demonstrated CANMeds competencies under their supervision. The curated questions also give the referees the opportunity to talk about your character and qualities I'm pretty sure.
  11. 1 point
    DoctorArts

    Reference Letters Guideline

    Hi, Reference letters are only requested from applicants who get an interview. You have to have a service, academic, and professional reference. Each one has a slightly different form that they have to fill out, and then room for comments which is analogous to the traditional reference letter. Good luck!
  12. 1 point
    GH0ST

    I really want to be a plastic surgeon..

    You should wait until you enter medical school before deciding on a specialty. - G
  13. 1 point
    Good question. If it helps, I am located in QC and haven't heard anything.
  14. 1 point
    I had the Kaplan DAT app that generates practice quizzes for PAT, BIO, CHM. I have a 2-hour bus ride to school and a 2-hour bus ride back home that I usually spend napping but while studying for the DAT I spent all my time on the bus going through different questions every day. I find that the best thing to do is not cram all your DAT studying for weekends only and school studying for weekdays, but to spread it all out throughout the week. You learn more/retain information better by spreading out your studying into little bits a day, some for school and some for DAT, instead of it all in big chunks!
  15. 1 point
  16. 1 point
    isazap

    MEM et contacts physiques

    Je ne vois pas pourquoi ça serait mal reçu surtout si ça reste dans des limites socialement acceptables. J'imagine que même si cest une bonne amie dans la mise en situation tu ne seras pas portée à enlacer l'acteur? Une main posée sur l'épaule ou autre je suis certaine que c'est ok
  17. 1 point
    RichardHammond

    CaRMS 2019 Prelim Data

    Hey! I remember you! You're the candidate we didn't rank. jk that wasn't me. That was Dr. Robert Hammond.
  18. 1 point
    SK~

    Prerequisite + DAT at the same time?

    For the General Chemistry section on the DAT, I would recommend you watch Chad’s videos on Youtube. That way you are still reviewing the material without having to expend a ton on mental energy. Good luck.
  19. 1 point
    Nope doesn't work that way at all. That would be neurotic.. We contact if we have concerns / red flags come up.
  20. 1 point
    Thunderbirds

    -

    Even as someone who just went through CaRMS and matched to Internal Medicine (my top choice program, I am very happy!), I am not going to lie and say I've never thought about the "prestigious" specialties, and whether it would be "sexier" to tell people that I am going to be a general surgeon, or dermatologist or plastic surgeon. I've also had colleagues who went into FM and they felt similarly at some point in clerkship. But at the end of the day, and this is what I would tell all incoming med students: do what you really, really like... and if that is a competitive specialty, so be it. However, please, do not think about what your specialty sounds like to other people because you have to live through it for the rest of your life, not them. It is no surprise that barely anyone wants to do FM in pre-clerkship (okay, maybe that is an exaggeration) yet for most medical schools, about 40% of the class chooses to do FM by end of 3rd year. The appeal goes out of the window when you have to wake up at 430 am and put in so many hours, and realize half of your patient list is pressure ulcers and awful-smelling debridements.
  21. 1 point
    MrMister

    DMD 2019

    y a t il des gens qui souhaitent faire une preparation aux entrevues? like creer un groupe sur google drive et discuter des senario et des question qui peuvent se poser à l'entrevue.
  22. 1 point
    dentdent123

    DMD 2019

    Apres, c'est sur que si toutes les fortes CRU ont des scores parfaits a l'entrevue, ça sera un peu difficile pour nous (les plus "basses" CRU), mais je ne pense pas que ce soit la tendance!
  23. 1 point
    dentdent123

    DMD 2019

    Je pense que du moment que t'es convoqué, l'entrevue joue une grande part dans ton admission. Il serait bête, sinon, de convoquer des gens ayant des basse CRU si leur chance n'était pas égale ou presque a ceux ayant de fortes CRU. Pourquoi convoquer une basse CRU si même avec une bonne entrevue il avait de basse chance d'entrer? (je sais pas si c'est clair ce que je dis, mais a mon avis c'est le raisonnement appliqué même s'ils disent que l'entrevue vaut que 20% de l'admission)
  24. 1 point
    DMDOneDay

    DMD 2019

    Tout se joue sur l'entrevue. Si cette personne a 100% à l'entrevue elle est quasiment garantie d'être admise.
  25. 1 point
    I completely agree with what xiphoid and Egg_McMuffin said as well as everyone before me. I haven’t gotten into med school yet, but I was rejected post interviews last year. I took a year off to work (service/tutoring) and also spent 2 weeks to backpack on my own (in Europe). Meanwhile, spent lots of time with fam&friends, tried many new activities (made a bucket list), read (books/finance articles/news). I really cannot stress how important it is to forget about the med process for a while and really take some time for yourself. You will look back and see how much you have grown as a person, the breadth of opportunities outside, and how vast the world is. You gain a lot of understanding of both the world and more importantly yourself. It is definitely a personal investment and you get to do something you enjoy. At the same time, these experiences are exactly what is going to get you into med, because they truly make you who you are and that’s what the adcoms want to see. Just take it easy on yourself and do whatever you’ve been wanting to do, while obv still maintaining everything you need for next cycle.
  26. 1 point
    lunart

    DMD 2019

    J’ai le même message sur synchro aussi!! Edit : j'ai appelé l'admission et ils ont dit que tout est correct, si dans une semaine c'est encore là il faudra appeler, mais pour le moment c'est normal!!
  27. 1 point
    Dalhousie23

    NS Waitlist Poll

    Pretty sure I'm like 500/2000 of the views on this post lol.
  28. 1 point
    Falstaff

    NB Waitlist Scores

    They don't publish this information. The 7 people who responded to this poll might be the closest indicator you are going to get. 2 people with scores in the 69 - 69.9 range (coinciding with the poll results) have posted that they have received an offer off the wait list. The next potential movement of the list will probably be in May when the other schools start making their offers. Good luck.
  29. 1 point
    Loulou145

    DMD 2019

    Merci DMD0145, ton message m'aide à garder espoir. Encore un long moment d'attente jusqu'en août hahahhaha
  30. 1 point
    Bcm2019

    Pratique / Practice MEM / MMFI

    J’ai réservé une salle à l’udem pour le 20 avril de 15h à 18h avec @MrMister
  31. 1 point
    Somebody's found the fountain of youth! Hope you share the location with the older med students. Non-trad is a pretty broad term- plenty of successful applicants come from having worked a job before or after undergrad. For all intents and purposes you'll apply and be considered as an undergraduate applicant. Wishing you a very good outcome- people always have a favorite location for school but often have to end up moving somewhere else.
  32. 1 point
    ChemPetE

    CaRMS 2019 Prelim Data

    Oh totally see that’s how we’ve gotten into this. I didn’t say the health minister would love it :p Having looked at the data, I would hate to be the person doing up 101 applications to match 25 down. But that might be success for them. Ooph. not positive trends here. But rad onc is getting more in demand. All filled, somewhat competitive, and there are more and more jobs opening up. Good for that field at least. And holy hell are people applying to emerge in droves still. I didnt look look specifically at this but looks DI apps were down, and vascular too.
  33. 1 point
    1D7

    -

    In my experience students choose specialties based on factors in this order: 1. Interest 2. Perceived prestige (and/or lifestyle, depending on the type of student) 3. Perceived job availability 4. Pay Interest is driven by the day-to-day work (patient population, procedures, work culture, etc.), prior exposure, and strong mentors. Perceived prestige is influenced by the CaRMS competitiveness and correlates with pay. The students who don't care about prestige generally value lifestyle instead. Job availability is self-explanatory. Money itself, separated from prestige, is usually not a deciding factor. To answer your question, with regards to CaRMS statistics you have to first understand that there is a lot of variability because of how small many of these fields are: 10 more people applying one year can almost double competitiveness in ophthal for example. There are 1000+ students applying to FM each year; it only takes a small trickle to rock the boat. IMO plastic surgery's competitiveness is driven largely by the first 2 factors I listed. There is a lot of potential interest in it from day 1 since it's a well-known specialty and procedural. Its competitiveness has reached a point where it draws in more students than pushes away since it adds to its exposure and perceived prestige. Students applying to competitive specialties put less emphasis on job availability in the first place (unless it's known to be exceedingly horrible for some reason, like cardiac surg). With regards to pay, most students categorize it into something like "really good, good, not great" and both specialties you mentioned fall into the "really good" range. Reported specific numbers often do not capture many important details, like differences between practice location & setting, patient population, private billings, etc.
  34. 1 point
    In theory, they could do all the things they did pre-interview. However, I haven’t heard of anyone having verifiers/references contacted post-interview. It seems like NAQs aren’t assessed as rigorously as they are pre-interview.
  35. 1 point
    cleanup

    incorporation still worth it?

    You can use it for corporate expenses, including buying a practice and paying for anything else related to your practice of dentistry (let's just say there's a reason why health professionals like taking CE while on vacation). You can also invest with it, but those investments are taxed very heavily and there's a lot of gray area around what can be done: http://www.kellysantini.com/articles/professional-corporations-investment-restrictions-guidelines-and-options-delivering-healthy To be frank, at the end of the day, the gist of it is "Do whatever you want, but when the CRA comes knocking, you better be able to justify it."
  36. 1 point
    Would also second what @Egg_McMuffin said - something very very un-related to medicine. If money isn't a concern, I'd travel as much as possible. If it is, then I'd get a part-time/contract job (or perhaps a few jobs) in something service-related/touristy. I worked at a really popular tourist attraction (not an amusement park) for a while before starting med, and that job honestly taught me so much about myself, about people in this world, and just about the non-medicine working world in general. As much as it was kind of awful at times during it (I lost a little bit of faith in humanity while working there and seeing the way people acted), I'm really glad I had that experience and I wouldn't give up that time in my life for med-related experiences. Once you start med, it really can be quite all-consuming and if you aren't consciously aware of it, you'll one day realize that the only people you interact with and are friends with on a daily basis are all in medicine or healthcare.
  37. 1 point
    hiyayosup

    May 14 Countdown

    Time's been passing oddly slowly for me. I wonder if it'll speed up now...
  38. 1 point
    courrtt

    UofA OT Waitlist 2019

    yea i did yesterday afternoon, im in the top (1-49) half!
  39. 1 point
    la marzocco

    CaRMS 2019 Prelim Data

    It is probably going to be as good as it is gonna get. Bear in mind that there were 53 additional spots Ontario created last year after 2nd iteration to clear the unmatched backlog. This meant less unmatched CMG from prior years applying to the 2019 match - i.e., less snowballing. Also, Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba kept the streaming in the 2nd iteration so this is also + since stats have shown that in 2nd iteration many IMGs match to previously CMG-designated spots. My guess is that for the 2020 match, the unmatched numbers will go up again unless something meaningful is done - *COUGH* increase residency spots.
  40. 1 point
    Edict

    -

    Theres more to a career than just money...
  41. 1 point
    anonymouspls

    Patiently Waiting for May 15th

    I've been going to the gym twice a day to pass the time. A 30 minute fasted cardio session in the morning and a 60 minute lifting session in the evening. Been getting stronger while losing weight so hopefully I get in September looking like doctor Mike xd
  42. 1 point
    DentalExplorer

    End date

    I would contact the admissions committee, looks more proactive/ they'll likely be more lenient if you let them know in advance
  43. 1 point
    GrouchoMarx

    CaRMS 2019 Prelim Data

    This is still not a good result. Carms is restrictive. it is a government run lottery that often forces you to take a career you dont want all while telling you to be grateful for them giving you the opportunity. screw that. USMLE
  44. 1 point
    hero147

    CaRMS 2019 Prelim Data

    https://www.carms.ca/pdfs/2019-CaRMS-Forum-data.pdf Fewer unmatched CMGs but less and less CMGs are matching to their top 3.
  45. 1 point
    If I had that option I'd pick something that helps me grow as a person and most importantly as un-related to medicine as possible. Once you get in you'll see how valuable that time away from the premed and med bubble is.
  46. 1 point
    The reasons for generalist training in medical school should be self evident. Not only can broad exposure promote interest and inform decisions to specialize in a certain area, but specialties themselves don't exist in complete isolation, and it's important to have a sense of what others do, their scope, and how they work together. A single rotation in medical school may be your only meaningful experience with something, and that's actually important, especially if you never see it again. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it's not. A one year rotating internship may have been enough to start general practice 40 years ago, when even insulin was new, and truly modern medicine was still in its relative infancy, but today one year is insufficient despite what some people may say. The CCFP is two years, and in the U.S Family Medicine residencies are three years, and the extra time does matter.
  47. 1 point
    I'll give you my perspective as a current, intermediate-level neurosurgery resident, by addressing both your questions and other relevant topics. 1) how important is research in pursuing a neurosurgery residency? - Canadian medical students applying for neurosurgery (and most surgical residencies) have a lot of anxiety when it comes to productivity in research. To be honest, the "amount" of research you've done accounts for little, nor is the subject matter important. It's my opinion that showing an interest in research is important, and this can be accomplished by finding a mentor and getting involved in a project, be it basic or clinical science. Demonstrating willingness to pursue and follow-through with a project is more important than number of abstracts/papers published, as different people are exposed to different opportunities. Do not fret that neurosurgery research is not available at your institution, find something else interesting and pursue that. Skills such as performing a literature review, statistics and writing are transferable. In previous years, we've interviewed candidates with as few as none and as high as almost 20 publications; this matters very little compared to how you come across during your elective and interview. The caveat to this statement is that research is very important for an academic job, and likely necessary to secure a job at most Canadian institutions. As such, those who are exposed earlier and have a greater familiarity will be more likely to publish. Most institutions are very supportive of projects during residency; however, the leg work will be up to you, and you have to balance this with the demands of your residency training. 2) does it all really come down to 4th year electives? - To put it bluntly, yes. Even if you've worked with a single neurosurgeon since MS1, or gotten to know one or two residents, it's a panel decision made by every staff and (for most institutions) all the residents. Thus, the elective is important to have face-time with as many faculty and residents as possible. And really, it's very simple to be an elective student: show up on time, do the work that's asked of you, don't be an asshole. That's it. Major red flags that are all too common include arrogance and call-hogging. No one cares that you're doing 1-in-2 call, and it comes across as petty and try-hard. Your level of knowledge is not crucial, as we know you're here because you're interested and in the process of learning. You should know very basic concepts, such as accurately identifying gross brain regions on CT/MRI, or knowing the GCS score. Basic neurosurgical concepts include trauma and ICP management, which is a good set of core knowledge that will help you understand more during rounds and on-call. If I push you a bit more and ask what the branches of the external carotid are, or what the diagnostic criteria of NF1 are, I'd be impressed if you knew, but I don't care if you don't. However, if I ask you two days later and you still don't know, well, that's another issue. 3) would spending a good deal of time in the OR in observerships during second year be helpful to these applications? - The only role of an observership is to help you make a decision whether or not the procedural work is interesting. In no way are these helpful for applications, because they don't represent the surgical lifestyle or day-to-day management. I've had MS1 and MS2s ask to shadow me on-call, and some MS3s during off-weekends. Often, this is more interesting to the student because they see a lot of scut, trauma, EVDs, etc. Again, the benefit is adding to your perspective of the specialty. At worst, doing numerous observerships may be counter-productive. However, if doing an observership leads to a productive relationship with a surgeon, and perhaps a research project or letter of recommendation, then that is a useful endeavor. 4) would writing STEP 1 be a good decision? I would say writing all the USMLEs is essential, for different reasons. If you want to keep the doors open for residency in the USA, then you'll need a 240 minimum, likely higher. That will take time and effort, and is something you need to consider in the summer of MS1 or MS2. Otherwise, having all your USMLEs is essential for fellowship and employment opportunities in the USA. For these, you only need to pass (which still requires money, time and effort). There are certain ways in certain states to get around this requirement, but save yourself the headache and plan to write them. Finally, I'll be blunt and say that you need to consider other career paths. Numerous MS1s become interested because of the procedures, but the reality is long hours, lots of call, incredibly poor patient outcomes, and poor work-life balance. As a non-traditional grad (which I'll take to mean a mature student), you'll spend 6-7 years in residency, 1-2 years in fellowship and perhaps 1-5 years obtaining an advanced degree for very poor job prospects in Canada. That's a long time for a lot of uncertainty. Jobs are more numerous in the USA, but you are no longer eligible to be board-certified (mostly removes private practice opportunities). There's an extraordinarily high drop-out rate across all years, relative to other programs. Finally, Canadian spots are in the process of being reduced due to the high supply and low demand. Quebec has been hit hardest, and other provinces will follow. Despite these warnings, Neurosurgery is having a boom year for applicants; the 2014 and 2015 numbers were a bit skewed, but this year, next year, and it looks like the year after as well were and will be quite competitive.
  48. 1 point
    This is just an anecdotal experience, but the neurosurgeon I did research with did his residency and two fellowships in Canada, but got his graduate degree from an Ivy League university. He wasn't a staff surgeon then and I don't believe he's one yet, but I heard he completed another fellowship. Perhaps working on a fourth? He's also a professor and graduate supervisor, but I'm not sure what role that plays. If that's any reflection of the Canadian job market for staff neurosurgeons, that's pretty terrible.
  49. 1 point
    I promised myself that one day when I was successful in getting accepted to medical school I would post here so that my journey could give hope to others and motivate you all to never give up on your dream. I consider myself an non-traditional applicant due to my age, 35 and the varied journey I had to reach this goal. Life is so often defined by life altering events sometimes positive and others negative. I truly believe how we navigate these events and the moments between is where the meaning of life exists. Can we overcome the hardships and build a narrative to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. I believe we all have the potential to do so and I hope my story gives you some of the strength to do just that. Now let me begin by saying that I was lucky to not grow up underprivileged or having to strive through economic challenges like many people do. So I won’t pretend to compare my challenges to those of that nature. My parents provided me a safe a stable home where they nurtured and encouraged my goals, even after their divorce when I was 13. Having a support network like that is truly amazing in the development of a child or any individual. It allows us to dream and believe we can succeed much easier than if we do not have that environment. I am truly in their debt as well as that of my siblings and many friends and colleagues who never let me forget that I am capable of anything I put my mind to. I would argue that is the same for all of you still struggling to reach your goal. Search out those in your life and lean on them when times are tough or even turn to this forum as I have and read the stories of those who have come before you. It will make the days easier. I remember being in grade 2 at the age of 7 knowing I wanted to be physician. It was a career discussion day and I can clearly recall telling my teacher and class that I wanted to be a doctor, specifically at the time a plastic surgeon. Looking back I am uncertain as to why I gravitated to that specialty, but the desire to help others as a healthcare practitioner was there. In my youth I was an overachiever and excelled in school. However this changed to some extent when I entered high school. This isn’t to say that I did not do well anymore at this level of education, but I was going through changes that I could not quite understand or explain until I was much older. I believe not understanding my identity at this time prevented me from truly excelling. This identity I will discuss later. Although I graduated from my Catholic high school’s academic program, I ended up dropping senior level chemistry. As a consequence of this decision I was unable to take many of the prerequisites for medical school. Being frustrated by this fact I chose to enter a Bachelor of Arts program and gear up to apply to law school. I took my first two years of my BA at the local college in the small northern Alberta city I grew up in. I seemed to excel at the social sciences. During this time I also became interested in theatre and drama and began acting in productions at both the college and city local theatre. I found this to be quite fulfilling as it allowed me to become someone else. Something that I now realize I was trying to do since I was young because I was not being completely honest with my own identity. Nonetheless I enjoyed this time in my life. This joy however was interrupted by a life event that would change me like none before. I had chosen to take a break from my BA program to decide what I wanted to do going forward. Partially because I was uncertain about law school and recognized I still had a yearning for the study of medicine. During this year my mother passed away unexpectedly, I was 21. This event shattered my world. I had reached a point in my life like so many of us where I had finally saw my parents as human beings and more importantly friends. My mother had become my closest confidante and friend as well as the woman who gave me life and guidance as a child/youth. I fell into a depression and asked my father to help me seek out professional counsel to help me overcome this. My father rose to the occasion and helped me at home and found me suitable counsel. It helped me put things into perspective at the time so that I could climb out of my stupor. This year was also filled with other momentous events. My step-mother who had returned to school to complete her RN was graduating from the University of Alberta. I went with my family to attend her convocation at the Northern Alberta Jubilation theatre. During this event I watched as nurses received their graduation papers and I realized that I still had the desire to pursue medicine. My mother had always been a big supporter of this dream as had my father, so now more than ever in light of her recent passing I wanted to make her proud by shifting my educational focus back towards medicine. I returned to college that fall and took senior level high school chemistry and over the next two years completed two years of my Bachelor of Science. I did quite well in these courses, most of which being prerequisites. Upon completion of these two years I was now required to move to Edmonton to finish my degree, I was 23. I was scared and nervous to move still missing my mother so much, still struggling with an identity issue that had not been fully addressed as I was focused more on school and grieving for my mother’s absence. I began the last two years of my BSc program at the UofA when I was 23. This year was immensely challenging as it was a bit of a culture shock going from a small city and college where you felt like you knew everyone to a large city and University where you felt like a number rather than an individual. During this year I struggled with course work. I was missing my family, missing my mother and I had begun to recognize the identity issue I was struggling with, my sexuality. As a result I had a poor GPA by MD admission standards ~3.1. I was certain that after this year my hopes of gaining acceptance to medical school were dashed, but I still pressed on. I joined a research lab for a summer studentship between my third and fourth year as well as following the completion of my fourth year. I enjoyed research and realized the significance it played in human health. Upon graduating from my BSc I was at a crossroads again. Uncertain as to what I should do. Wanting to be a physician so much but at the same time so fearful of rejection due to my poor academic standing during my third year so fear won out and I chose not to write the MCAT or apply, I was 25. I was left with no options, until my research supervisor for my summer studentships offered to take me on as a graduate student. An act that I am immensely grateful for. I did well in graduate school. Acing my course work and performing a substantial amount of research in the field of immunology and cell biology. I thought that perhaps obtaining a PhD wouldn’t be that bad of an alternative to my dreams of being a physician. During my graduate program I began to truly accept my identity as a homosexual man as well, I was 27. This did not come easily as I feared that my family and friends would not accept me, but I realized I could no longer hide the truth of about my identity as I knew it had crippled me in the past. Through counselling and support of my family, especially my father who was more understanding than I could have ever imagined I became a proud gay man. I still remember my father’s first words when I told him, “I wish I had done more to make you feel like you could have told me sooner”. Those words are etched in my mind forever, as the love this man had for me his child was boundless. I also realized at this time that if I was going to be true to my sexual identity that I would need to be true to my deep desire to still be a physician. With this in mind I chose to complete my graduate degree with a MSc rather than pursue the PhD. I wrote a first author peer reviewed publication for a scientific journal and wrote up and defended my thesis, I was 29. Upon graduation I knew I would need to work now to support myself as I no longer had the income that came from being a graduate student. I found two technical positions that I worked in. It was during this time that I promised myself that I would give it my all to pursue medicine. I worked for a few years and at 32 after re-teaching myself all the material covered in my pre-requisites for medical school I wrote the MCAT. I obtained a score of 28S. I knew that it was a bit lower than the average accepted score, but was still happy that I was able to achieve this after not looking at the tested material in over 10 years. I then began the application process. Highlighting the things I had done in my life that I felt made me suited to the practice of medicine. I spoke about the crisis management skills I learned from working on a sexual assault centre crisis line, where I advocated for callers and helped them through moments of hardship. I spoke of my involvement in both provincial and federal politics, where I met with members of my community sharing with them insight into the elections and information about the party I represented. I took on leadership roles in my provincial political party as well as with my condo board where I purchased my first home. I spoke about my strong participation in advocating for those affected by HIV/AIDS with HIV Edmonton, where I also became a leader and helped organize the citywide walk event for numerous years. During this time I also became involved in a romantic relationship that nurtured my heart and made me feel loved in a way I had never experienced before. I felt more ready than ever. The process wasn’t over though. Like many applicants I was met with rejection. Although I was interviewed every year by at least one school, many others rejected me pre-interview due to my overall UG GPA of 3.47 as calculated by the University of Alberta. My 3.85 GPA in my masters did not offset this that much. I faced uncertainty and questioned myself. In my first year applying I was only interviewed at the UofA, but was rejected post interview. In my second year of applying I was interviewed at only the UofC and the UofA. Post interviews I was rejected at the UofC and waitlisted at the UofA, but later ultimately rejected. I felt I had made some improvement and decided to push on! In my third application cycle that being the 2013/2014 application year I applied to only the Alberta schools as I did not want to endure rejection from the OOP schools again. I was met with defeat when UofC rejected me for an interview. I was shocked and confused not understanding how this happened as I had worked hard to improve myself from the previous cycle. Strengthening my ECs and even using a new MCAT score that had a higher VR score. I was scared and nervous that the same result would occur with the UofA. I was fortunate to have friends and family who reminded me to stay focused and not worry about things I have no control over anymore. I waited and waited for interview notification day. I was so afraid to check my email for fear it would be a rejection like that from the UofC. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that UofA had not given up on me! I was ecstatic! I called all those who mattered most. I went into full preparation mode for the interview hoping I could wow those MMI interviewers and really change my fortunes this time around! I went into interview day prepared and confident, more so than ever before. I felt I did amazing. As the day passed I went into waiting mode again like everyone else. Feeling great about my interview and my life experiences addressed in my application, but a little uncertain as to how my GPA would affect my chances again…. May 15 rolled around. The night before I drove around Edmonton reflecting on places that played a significant role in my journey and life here. I felt like my life was about to change the next day. I was nervous to open my email, but knew I had to do so eventually. I opened it and found that I was waitlisted again. It was not the answer I was hoping for as that had not played out so well for me last year. I tried to remain hopeful but struggled wondering if I had plateaued and that this might be as high as I climb. I began to accept this result and realized that I would likely have to gear up to apply again next year. On June 10, 2014 I was out for dinner with my sister and I told her I had finally come to terms with the result of this application cycle and had accepted that I would be having to reapply. It was actually quite cathartic. Then came June 11, 2014. I was driving into work at the UofA, when my phone rang and a number displayed on my car console, It was a 780-492-XXXX number. Being an employee at the UofA I knew it was a university number. I assumed it was one of my colleagues or supervisors calling me from a different university phone. As I answered I was greeted by a woman’s voice that proceeded to ask if she was speaking with me. I confirmed my identity. The next few moments were shock… She informed me that I had been accepted off the waitlist. I must have thanked her over 20 times! Telling her she changed my life, I could barely park my car. As soon as the call ended I called my father and tears of happiness flowed as I was overwhelmed with emotion. My Father was overjoyed and everything I had gone through up until that moment finally came into focus. I had achieved what I had wanted for so long and worked for so hard. I proceeded to notify my partner, brother and sister and all those close to me. It is now June 14, 2014 as I write this and I am still in disbelief, not because I don’t feel I deserve it but because it feels like a wonderful dream. I keep pinching myself making sure that I am not asleep. Guess what I’m not!! I am 35 years old and I want to let you all know that don’t ever give up if this is your dream!! Don’t let fear immobilize you!! So much of this process makes you question yourself even doubt yourself, but also you discover who you are and the strength you may not have known you had or the support network around you. The process is filled with a large amount of luck. Luck that you resonate with the reviewers who hold your application or the interviewers who sit across from you. It also requires diligence and perseverance. But if you keep on trying I believe eventually it will happen. Look at me and take hope that all is possible. Thank you to everyone on this forum who has provided me with hope and insight. You have all truly been a great deal of support in my journey. I hope that I can be that for many of you still trying. I know this process and the struggles I went through will make me that much better of a physician as I will never forget how hard I had to work to be given this privilege.
  50. 1 point
    Hello all. Long time lurker (for years, naturally), first time I've been able to post to a thread called 'success stories'. It's not something I'd usually do, but it seems like this is the place to offer up personal truth and (hopefully) offer some support and inspiration to those in need of it. And this is a story I don't really tell anyone, so it's good to be able to share it. Just a head's up: this is going to be a little long. I, like many of you, did pretty poorly in my first undergraduate degree. My average was a 2.8, I think, in a Bachelor of Arts. I had no desire at the time to be in medicine; upon graduating at 21 I took a job in the financial industry, started dating and eventually married a girl from the US, and generally lived my life. Here are some things to know about my life at that point: my American wife was unable to work due to Canada's policy around immigrants and employment statuses, so I was paying all the bills. She was also very sick, which wasn't an issue initially but really started to snowball later in our relationship. Her illness, her doctor's visits, and her prescriptions were all paid for by me. Since I was the only one working. I started to go into debt. Stupid, right? I was young, in love, and pretty naive. It helped that she was a fairly excellent liar, and was very good at having men believe what she wanted them to. Which included me. I digress. Anyway, I left the bank I was working for in late 2008, when I was 26, due to stress. By this point I had accrued tens of thousands of dollars in debt, was completely running our household affairs, and was the only one of the two of us that was working full time and at a job he (I) hated. Imagine why I was stressed, right? To make things worse, we were fighting more and more regularly. In order to make ends meet, I took a low-paying job at a call centre and started working upwards of 55 hours a week. During this time, I began exploring what a return to school would look like. I knew I had botched my first degree pretty badly, and knew I didn't want a subsistence job any more. You know? I felt as though I was floating, stalled, just getting through each day rather than working at something I was really passionate about. So I started planning a return to university. I enacted my plan in the summer of 2009, returning to university for my second undergraduate degree while I continued my bonkers work schedule. I should mention as well that when I voiced this plan to my wife, she was in complete support. During this time as well, she struck up a friendship with a guy who she had met online through a social website she used. She found odd jobs that paid cash and contributed a little to our household finances. It wasn't a bad place to be. I loved what I was taking in school, an introduction to Psychology. I've always been interested in Psychology, particularly the nitty-gritty of where consciousness and biology intersect. The more I learned about it, the more I learned that what really interested me was the biology. That led to my changing my degree to sciences, and for the first time in nearly a decade since high school really devoted myself to learning the introductory science disciplines. Mind you, this is still the summer of 2009. I'm taking a full course load of online classes offered through my university while I'm working at a call centre from approximately 11am to midnight each day. My wife is sick, prone to headaches and blackouts. She's struck up a friendship with a local guy, and though I disapprove of the amount of time she spends with him I'm not in much of a position to judge, given that I'm never around. She assures me it's non-sexual, that he's gay and they've really bonded. I'm reassured. In September of 2009, I accept that I cannot continue to service my debts, pay rent, care for my wife, work full time, and be a full-time student. I move my wife and myself back to my family's home. There is considerable tension: they are happy to help us, but my wife is moody and unpredictable despite agreeing to the plan when it was discussed in previous months. Her application to be a permanent resident is finally accepted, and things start to look up. Don't get me wrong, we were broke. BROKE. Like, 10 bucks was a carefully calculated expense. But we made it work. I'm wildly successful in my new classes and absolutely loving them despite the heavy workload. For the first time, I consider what life might look like if I were to pursue psychiatry, or some other discipline of medicine. My wife is thrilled at the idea. My parents are more restrained in their enthusiasm, but still quite pleased with the idea if it will make me happy. Months pass. February of 2010 comes around. My wife is behaving strangely, and when we have time to be together it usually devolves into fighting. A normal day for us is her coming to school with me during the day, being dropped off at a job or her friend's house in the morning, and being picked up again after classes are done and she's done work. During this time I'm doing some of the things that undergrads have to do; I'm working part-time jobs, volunteering, maintaining my GPA. Looking into what the MCAT might require, which was pretty intimidating. Valentine's Day is approaching. I splurged and bought tickets to the theatre (it was a pretty big splurge for us, almost a hundred bucks: the Cultural Olympiad was happening at the time of the Vancouver Olympics, so a really big circus act was coming to town). On Valentine's Day, she stayed home. I called her that day to remind her to dress up, because we were going to the theatre after classes were done. She said she would remember, and that she loved me. When I got home that day to pick her up, all of her things were gone. My parent's house was damaged, as though people had been careless while moving heavy objects. There was a letter on my desk which told me that she was sorry, but she couldn't be supportive in the stressful environment of my parents' house, and that it was deeply difficult for her to be in the situation she was in. It said she was staying with some friends, and that she loved me. She wrote that she didn't know what was going to happen to the two of us, but that she wanted to keep trying to be together. (As an aside: my parents are lovely people, not quick to anger, not particularly demanding, and extremely accommodating). I was oscillating between heartbreak and furious anger, given all the stress I was carrying on my shoulders, and I wrote her an email saying that she needed to call me to tell me where she was and what was going on or I would be revoking my sponsorship of her as a permanent resident (new residents need a sponsor who agrees to financially support the new resident for 3 years after they become a resident). At 1 am, 15 February 2010, the police arrived at my family's home. My wife, with the assistance of her new boyfriend (her 'gay' best friend, with whom she'd been sleeping for months as I came to learn), had gone to the police and alleged that I'd raped her in my family home. Her new boyfriend supported her statement. I was now being investigated for rape and spousal abuse. If I was mad before, I was now terrified. It was a false allegation, but if her allegation was brought to trial and received legitimacy through the court system then my future medical career would be over before it had begun. Understand, this is WHILE I was a full-time student in the winter semester of 2010, attending classes during the day and then dealing with this during the evenings and weekends. Following my family's advice, I sought legal counsel. I won't get into a lot of details here except to say that, as the police investigated further, many of the details of her story began contradicting each other. Finally, the investigation was closed during May of 2010 and a charge of public mischief was leveled at my wife for swearing out a false statement to police. I was still in deep financial difficulty, I was succeeding academically, but I was in that place where so many others have described better than I. The 'Oh, you're doing what?' place. That place where people give you a funny look when you tell them that you're an undergrad at 27. Which is how old I was when this happened. My friends were in their careers, in relationships, having children, buying houses... in other words, doing what it seemed like people did to progress their lives. I was still living in the house I'd grown up in with mum and dad and my young brother at 27, desperately heartsick and sad. I shut down personally for a while, focusing on school and athletics. How can you trust other people, get into a relationship with a person, after you've been betrayed by someone you trusted so much? And I did trust her. After all, we were married. Had been together for 5 years, and married for 3 of them. I worked out a LOT during those times. I went through with a divorce against her. Last time I heard, she was living off of another mid-20s guy, now in her early 30s, somewhere in northern Ontario and that the government is after her for overstaying her visa. I found that out because they called me to ask if I knew where she was. Academically, I acquitted myself quite well. I'm not going to bore you with the numbers, but I had a nearly flawless gpa my 2nd year back, 2010-2011. I wrote the MCAT for the first time in late 2010, getting a 29T. Sciences were really shaky for me, but verbal was always my strong suit. My first scores were 11V/9P/9B. I wrote it again the next year, but due to the circumstances of the test I scored the same, a 29. I thought that was a pretty poor score and a great reason to wait, so I didn't apply after my first write of the test. I'd only had one year of undergraduate science after all, and high school science was 10 years ago. My first application to a med school happened during 2011, to Dal Med, after my second MCAT write. They were willing to overlook my horrifying first undergrad degree grades and consider my application holistically. I was wait listed for entry in 2012, but didn't get the nod. I wrote the MCAT once more. I busted my ass for that test. I pulled out every stop, practiced like a demon everywhere I went. I downloaded audio tapes to listen to at one of my jobs, a night janitor at a local bar. Finally, I wrote the test and when the scores came back, I got a 35. 13V/11P/11B. I was thrilled. That year, I applied to Dal for entry in 2013. I only applied to Dal, since it was where I wanted to go and the last time I applied I was wait listed with a 29. Now I had a 35 as well as a full year of new experiences and volunteering and grades to support what a good candidate I was. It wasn't to be. My application was rejected pre-interview. During the academic year, I'd taken 2 lab courses. These 2 lab courses counted as 2 credits rather than 3. As a result, for that year I'd had only 28 rather than 30 credit hours. They disallowed my application. I'm not going to lie, I drank to forget it then. I was getting pretty discouraged. I was working multiple part time jobs, lying to Student Loans about my financial situation in the hopes that they would give me enough to get by on, and barely making ends meet. I was successful academically, but still felt as though I was going nowhere. Moreover, I was going to graduate soon with an Bachelor of Science Honours in Psychology but had no realistic chance of going to a med school after graduation in 2013. What would I do? I stayed in school, taking a graduate degree in Business (which I've always considered an interesting support degree to other interests and passions) and applied again. You're goddamned right I applied again. I applied in 2013 for entry in 2014 to Dal and Mun, the only schools where I had a legitimate chance given my first degree gpas. I wanted to be a doctor. There was a part of my essay at the very end, where I wrote about my experiences working and volunteering in a hospital. I wrote that 'being part of medicine, being close to patients and being part of their care, makes me feel as though I'm standing on the edge of something great.' I wrote that I was asking them, humbly, to give me the opportunity to succeed with them. To discover what that something great was. And I meant it. And still do. The best part about writing on this forum is that the people here who read this, who read that line, will know what I mean. You, reading this now, know what that 'something great' is. Of course I'm writing this here because I got in. Dal accepted me for the graduating class of 2018. I got the email when i was, ignominiously, sitting on the toilet during a break at one of my 4 jobs (research assistant, teaching assistant I, teaching assistant II, and tutor respectively). I will never forget how badly I trembled as I opened it, or the rush of adrenaline when the first word I read was 'CONGRATULATIONS' in all caps. I'm tearing up now thinking about it. That was when my life's pursuit was validated. I was as low as I could be when I started my journey. Along the way I was betrayed by the person who I held dearest to me in this world, I was constantly stressed by finances and academics and time demands. I never got enough sleep. I barely saw my friends. I had no guarantee that I would make it, that I wouldn't another one of those discouraged types who say glumly every so often 'yeah, I wanted to be a doctor once' to their acquaintances in pubs. I am now 31 years old. Though I will likely never meet you, I want to tell you that it is never too late to start. It is never too late to believe in yourself. It is never too late to dare to do something great. Dare to do something great. Dare to dream. Dare to be wise. Dare to reach. Thank you very much for giving me a place to tell my story.
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