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  1. Hi guys, so due to a number of things that have happened this past year, my savings have been almost completely wiped out. There's no way I'll be able to pay for my second degree which I want to start this fall on my own. I'll have to rely on OSAP and that will include the costs of residence, food, etc because I applied outside of Toronto only. Originally, I was planning on paying for my degree, living (meagerly) off the rest of my savings and quitting my job so I can focus on school full-time. But now if I quit my job and take OSAP, I'll be digging myself into more debt with no income coming in - and that scares me quite a bit. I know that it is what it is, and I'll have to take a risk here either way. But I am trying to think of some other plans so that chasing my dreams doesn't make me completely broke either. The other option is doing an online degree with a full-time course load and carry on working, at least that will give me more flexibility and I'll still have income coming in. The risk with that is burn-out, having less time to focus on grades - and GPA is vital in my second degree of course. OR should I just bite the dust, take the loan and completely turn my focus towards school for the next few years? For those of you who did a second degree and had similar financial issues, what did you do? What would you recommend in this situation? thanks.
  2. wow. I really really needed to read this today. thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm so happy that your struggle and dedication paid off, it gives the rest of in a similar position much-needed hope. even if not for medical school, at least for the hope that situations can get better and life can improve with perseverance and a little bit of faith. All the best to you as you start this new chapter. Congratulations!
  3. Hi Canucks_14, I just want to say that I'm in a very similar position to yours. I failed a lot of courses in my first degree and suffered from serious setbacks because of my mental health issues. And yet I have this crazy hope that I can maybe maybe one day, with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, become a physician It's so hard to not feel like a failure every single day. It's difficult enough to be on this path even with an exceptional first undergrad GPA, let alone a really really bad one. Sometimes, I really do wonder if I've gone insane.... And yet, I know that this is what I want to pursue - whether I get there or not. And I also think that our failures and struggles with mental health and other issues will help us to become better and more compassionate physicians. It's really very comforting to come to this forum and see that there are others like me who understand this struggle. Good luck, I am rooting for you
  4. Hi guys, I'm sorry if this was already asked somewhere. I tried searching in the stickies but didn't really find an answer. So basically I'm contemplating taking courses as a non-degree student instead of enrolling in an entirely new second undergraduate degree this fall. I will still take a on full course-load as well as all the prerequisites I need. I will do this for the next 2-3 years to make myself competitive for schools that look at the last few years, which is the same amount of time it will take me to complete a new degree. The only reason I am considering this route is because it will give me more flexibility in terms of class timings. Unfortunately, I don't think I can afford to quit work as I pursue a second undergrad and I have some potential job opportunities with very good pay that are all full-time. With a degree, I'm sure there are many required courses I'll have to take that are offered mostly at fixed times and that gives me less flexibility with regards to my work schedule. By taking non-degree courses, I feel like I can go to work in the daytime and then take an evening class every day of the week, so it can still remain a full course load. I know this will be tough for me but financially speaking, I feel like I don't have much of a choice and I will have to make it work. My question is, is there any kind of disadvantage to taking non-degree courses as opposed to doing the full second degree? It still takes me the same amount of time but I worry that medical schools will wonder why I didn't just do a new degree altogether....I'm confused...
  5. Wow, thank you so much for the kind and encouraging words. They mean a lot. Although I'm not so sure about the Ron Burgundy comparison, his epic-ness was just an entirely different league altogether! Haha. But in all seriousness, thank you for that and for sharing that inspiring story about your grandfather. That is super impressive and inspiring. So is the fact that you are married with a child and are still going for what you want even with those commitments. I've been in a really dark place this past week and it really begins to impair your judgement and dampens your optimism. I'm about to face some challenges over the next few months that took me by surprise and it made me question my sanity for embarking on this right now when I know there are tough times ahead. But I know that I want this so much and I don't want to waste any more time in pursuing my goal. My track record in the past at managing stress and academics hasn't been so great but I am determined to let nothing get in the way this time around. Hopefully with the right amount of therapy and study routine, this can work. Honestly, this forum can be a Godsend sometimes. There are so many amazing people here who understand the struggles of pursuing this crazy wild dream and encourage one another to keep moving forward. It's a wonderful online community. Also I had gotten some job interviews at the University of Manitoba so I was considering going out West for second degrees as well. It does seem really cold out there but then again, Toronto hasn't fared too well either this winter. I might actually consider it depending on my finances, and getting the IP status wouldn't hurt either. Hoping for the best for all of us on this road who are coming from less mainstream paths. Have a great weekend!
  6. Hey, thanks for your input! I'm actually considering psychology as well (my first degree was in liberal arts) but my concern with that is it won't provide me a back up career to fall back on in case I don't get in to med school for a few years (or *fingers crossed* ever). I've heard good things about Western. I'm actually debating between going to school closer to home here in the GTA since it will be considerably more affordable for me, or a smaller university somewhere in Northern Ontario (Laurentian, Lakehead, etc). I hear it's a little easier to make contacts with the professors and get great reference letters because of the smaller prof-student ratio. Also having done my first degree at York, I think I prefer a smaller setting this time around. I'm torn. Also, does anyone know whether I should repeat prerequisite courses if I did very poorly on them the first time around (I'm talking Cs and Ds here:()?
  7. I've been lurking here for many years now and I finally wanted to introduce myself. At the risk of sounding a bit clichéd, I want to say that this forum has been one of my biggest sources of inspiration and motivation to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a physician. When I lose all hope and think it's just not possible and I'm in way over my head, I come here to read the success stories and the struggles some people have had to go through to achieve their aspirations, especially here in the non-trad section, and it helps me not give up on myself. Even when everyone else has. A bit about myself, I completed my undergrad a few years ago. Let's just say that I did rather poorly, the stats are embarrassing and not even worth mentioning here - I already know I have to go the second degree route. It was a bit different for me than most people, I started off my degree with a bang and got amazing grades but due to a series of unfortunate personal issues, a lack of direction, poor study habits and my deteriorating depression/anxiety, my GPA took turn for the worse once I hit my third year and went downhill from there. It was a train wreck. Anyway, I graduated and have been working since for the past 3 years. I thought all hope was lost and I'd never be able to recover from the results of my first degree and would have to give up on becoming a doctor. And I did for a few years. But I stumbled across this website and learned about the different strategies people have used to overcome a poor first degree, and that flicker of hope returned. I've been putting it off for a while but I think it's finally time to light some fire into my dreams and get my life on track again. I've been living aimlessly for far too long. The good news is I've learned where I went wrong and what I need to do approach my studies more efficiently. The bad news is that I don't really have the support system I'd like to help me start again. My first degree has sort of marred my reputation in regards to my academic abilities, and I know many people will scoff at the idea of doing a second undergraduate degree when most people my age (which is 27 by the way, feeling kind of old) are buying houses and getting married, etc. So I'm going to have to go at this solo and not reveal my plans to too many people. I'm not sure how much of a toll this will take on me, but I hope I can persist regardless. I know that I am intellectually capable of pursuing this, I just need to be hyper-focused now and have more confidence in my abilities. I don't know if I will be successful, but at least I won't be able to say that I never tried and live with regret, right? My next step is to figure out what to do my second degree in starting in September, and where to do it at (preferably in Ontario where I live). And make a plan of action for the next 2-3 years in terms of ECs, the MCAT, etc. Thank you again for sharing all your stories - it can go a long way sometimes! (sorry for the long post, I'm a writer so it's a hard habit to break). Cheers.
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