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  1. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to clever_smart_boy_like_me in Success Stories- Non Trad Style!   
    Well... this story is five years in the making so bear with me for length... It is quite the novel!!

    I wrote in the forum 2 years ago with hopes of gaining acceptance to UBC... hoping to write in this thread. Turns out it wasn't going to be that year, but finally... FINALLY .... this year. This is the year I get the honour of writing my success story!!
    For anyone struggling right now, it took me FOUR years of applications to get an acceptance! If you are continually improving yourself and your application/interview skills/grades/etc. stay focused on your goal and hang in there!

    I am 33 this year and began this journey five years ago while deciding to change careers from environmental/animal biology towards medicine. My first step was to go back to school for some prereqs for UBC during the summer. I had asked for time off from work and was so lucky to receive it.

    I completed the courses with good grades and began studying for the old MCAT. Then I saw that the MCAT was changing and got crazy stressed out so I signed up for a Princeton Review course to learn what exactly was going to be tested on this new MCAT. I found it difficult to focus my attention 100% on the MCAT as I was concurrently working fulltime. A tragedy struck my family and I had to take a month off from studying, and shortly thereafter decided to quit my safe, full-time job to float by on a part-time job and savings while dedicating myself 100% to my goal and dream: getting a good score on the MCAT and getting into medschool.
    I pushed my test date ahead once or maybe twice, can't remember, and when finally the day came for my test I arrived sleep-deprived because my cat had been sick all night and it was so hot out that I couldn't sleep... No matter! I scored decently well regardless (511) and forged onward with my first ever set of medical school applications! I applied broadly and received pre-interview rejections from all schools. I hadn't expected much because I knew it takes an average of 3 applications in Canada to get in. That fall (2015) I had gone back to school to take medically-relevant courses as I had not really done so during undergrad (just had done typical bio degree courses) so I had a lot to focus on regardless. I finished those up with awesome grades in April 2016 and began the process of reapplying. I rewrote all of my descriptions for UBC and added new activities and grades.
    I took some first aid courses and started working as a medic on construction/oil/gas sites. During the 2016-17 cycle I received one interview: UBC. I prepared extensively with the interview groups, taking time from work to focus on preparing. Interview day came and went and I felt confident but not overly hopeful so as to spare myself in case of rejection. Mid-May rolled around and the offers, rejections, and waitlist emails came out and I was gutted to find I had been rejected... No matter! Forging onward. It has only been 2 applications so far anyways... After a brief pity session I regained my composure and determination and set myself up for taking even more university courses and enrolling myself in an additional course that would eventually grant me employment as a paramedic. I felt the fire of my passion fueling me onward: “I will get in” was the feeling. I went back to school again at more than one institution and did a heavy load, full-time and got A+ in most of my classes... “This will be my year”... I got another interview with UBC for Feb 2018. Second interview, third application; this has to be my year!
    Mid-May 2018: post-interview rejection. “Ok.. I can recover.. I guess. One more try... I have all those courses I did... does that open any doors for me?? Oh, Queen's! McMaster?? Do I take the MCAT again? Ok, let's do that – I really don't want to”... I was scared I would get a worse score somehow... And to have to redo that test and work and ... “Let's just try re-applying again this year without redoing the MCAT... one last shot with this score and then I will re-evaluate”.

    I begin crafting my OMSAS applications, and re-doing my UBC application. All is well I think. I will probably get my UBC interview at least! (fingers were crossed) and maybe I would score an Ontario interview...

    December 2018 UBC interview results day comes: PRE-INTERVIEW REJECTION... My TFR dropped over 10-15 points, just like my jaw... my NAQ dropped from mid 30's to in the low 20's... What??? I was shocked... How??? I had added hours, courses, activities, my wording was excellent, I had been receiving interviews for two years in a row????? HOW!!!???

    If you look back through the UBC threads around that time you will see that I wasn't doing well with the news and I wasn't expecting much from Queen's either as I had never received an interview with them thus far (I applied during my first application round in 2015-16 also).

    After feeling low for a few weeks or so I began to slowly gather my broken dream and tried to see a way to improve, again. Fifth time will be the charm I guess, mostly ignoring that I still had apps out in Ontario... I go on vacation to the Caribbean and forget for a while that OMSAS will be releasing interview invites. I don't have much hope but I check my email the morning of the second day of my vacation there to see I had received an interview!!! I cry with happiness!! This cycle may yet provide positive news!!
    I finish my vacation and return home. I take a month off work and set to focusing on my interview. I watched Ted talks, read, practiced solo and otherwise relaxed. Planned my trip to Ontario and set off in March 2019...

    The interview felt amazing. I loved the school, the people, the curriculum design... The panel was awesome, and I felt so confident when I got back to my hotel room. I spent the rest of the night in a positive buzz and then came home reservedly hopeful...

    The wait between interviews and decision day was agonizing... I had started to think about my 'what-ifs' for the year... If I get in – do I buy/rent? Do I get a new car? What about this? What about that? If I don't get in... redo MCAT? Go up north for work? Move to Alberta? Move to Ontario? Start Australia applications? Go to the States? What about Ireland... and on and on and on... to the point where I had considered quitting this goal and beginning to brain-storm alternate careers... I reluctantly decided I would give it one last try before giving up if I didn't get in for this cycle. This process had taken so many years from me and I felt stuck in limbo and stagnant.
    Mid-May rolls around... Waitlisted... Ok I guess that's better than being outright rejected, but man... MORE WAITING!!!
    I commit to my daily activities to stay busy. I have some hope but I try not to let it get too high – the waitlist for Queen's notoriously moves a lot, according to historical trends (as noted in the Queen's threads)...
    Many on the Queen's forum think that the first wave of waitlist offers are coming out May 28, 2 weeks after initial offers... I check my email like a crazy person early in the morning on May 28... and also the forums to see if there was any news yet...
    I go to bed (in the morning cuz I am a night person) only to be woken an hour later by a gardener with power tools... Okay, well if I am going to be awake for a bit again may as well see how the forum is doing...

    The waitlist thread is hot... “oh.. jeez, it's happening... let's see – yep people are getting offers. Better rip off the bandaid and check my email...”

    Queen's School of Medicine-----
    Oh my god. I don't even have to open this email to know what it is...
    Dear Clever_Smart_Boy_Like_Me, 

    On behalf of the Admissions Committee of Queen's School of Medicine, we are pleased to provide to you a conditional offer of acceptance...

    I didn't even read any further than this, I just started sobbing...loudly... with the windows open... someone probably thought something terrible had happened... I start running around in my house sobbing and shaking!!
    All the years of hard work and determination and sacrifice I had made. All the hours I had spent working at this... Everything I had done in the past five years finally FINALLY paid off... I GOT INTO MEDICAL SCHOOL!! I feel almost moved to tears just writing this sentence.

    I called my dad and I couldn't even speak, I was just sobbing hysterically into the phone... between sobs I said “I got in” and started losing it again... he came over to my house right away with flowers and a card.

    I ran around all day telling those important to me that I finally got in. My family and I went to dinner that night to celebrate and I am planning a party to celebrate as well.. Logistics of this process have set in and I am working on all the info I have to provide for the school and getting finances in order and looking for a place to live but... the magnitude of this washes over me randomly throughout the day and I feel so elated and proud and like crying again all over.


    I am the first in my immediate family to attend university. And within my family there are not many doctors (though I have learned I have at least 2?). This was a huge goal for me. From its inception in 2014 to its realization in 2019 I have grown so much as a person and with every decision I made towards improving myself and my application I reaffirmed my passion for medicine.

    It took five years of hard, gruelling work and determination, sleepless nights working on projects and courses, sacrifice, and planning to get where I am. It took four years of applications to get an acceptance. And I am finally in. I am finally in.


    PS: for those of you who are struggling or otherwise needing guidance on your applications I am willing to provide insight and advice

  2. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to MedSomeday in Success Stories- Non Trad Style!   
    Hey there,
    I never thought I would post in this thread. As my username suggests, getting into medical school seemed like a pipe dream when I first started out. Even after being accepted last year in 2018, I wasn’t sure if I should post, as several of these ideas have already been expressed in this thread with far more compelling life stories! Nonetheless, I do hope that by posting my own story here, it will provide some assistance to those who are in a similar position that I was in, and give further proof that it is possible.
    When I began my first undergraduate, I was lazy and arrogant. I wasted most of my time and skipped classes and even exams. I never needed a job to pay for rent or food, because of the love and support my parents gave me. I didn’t have any illnesses or personal problems that detracted from my studies. In short, there were no external reasons for me to be unsuccessful. I was given every resource and support that a student could hope for, and I squandered it all. In fact, I knew what I was doing was wrong every single day and I still did nothing to change it. Three years went by in this way, until I failed a course and became quite depressed. I remember stopping on a sidewalk on the way back home because I just couldn’t see the point of taking one more step. When I began having suicidal ideation, I knew I needed help.
    I was lucky enough to find an incredible counselor who helped put me back together. Without them, I am certain this story would not be possible, and I will be forever grateful. I came to see that a major factor for my depression was a lack of purpose. I wasn’t doing something that made my existence worthwhile. For the next few months, I reflected upon what kind of person I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do with my life. From my political science courses on humanitarian crises, I knew that I wanted to address the acute suffering in the world. From my volunteering experiences, I knew I was happiest when I could help people directly and cause a positive and meaningful impact. Add in a few inspirational role models, and I eventually decided I wanted to become a doctor. I believe it is how I can gain the skills and knowledge necessary to help those in great need, by providing them with a better chance at life and happiness. This was the goal and purpose I held onto, and which made all of the ensuing hardships worthwhile. I cannot over stress how important this was for me.
    Now, I had a direction. But I was filled with doubt. Part of this doubt was because of the very high standards required to enter medical school. My grades were abysmal, and my CV was practically non-existent. It would take a lot of work and effort to achieve those standards, and I had not shown I was capable of it.
    But my greatest uncertainty came from the fear that I could not change who I was. At this time, I was reading Crime and Punishment, where there is a character called Marmeladov. He is repeatedly given jobs and opportunities, but can never hold onto them as he would quickly use any money he earned to become drunk again. He is intelligent and has the best of intentions. He loves his family very dearly and wants to provide for them, but no matter how much he wishes to change, he cannot. Then, he dies.
    I was terrified that I was Marmeladov. I wanted to change, to become something better than the lazy person who did not deserve the love of his parents. I wanted to become a force for good, and to possess the ability to heal and comfort others. But maybe I couldn’t change. Maybe this was all I would ever amount to. Maybe this was who I am.
    And so began my path to medical school. The hardest part was the beginning. I threw myself into my studies and worked harder and harder. Every now and then, I would slip back into old habits but again I would force myself to return to my work. I was driven by the hope of what I could become and do, and the fear of what I would remain as if I failed.
    My term grades came back, and the work had paid off! But I still didn’t believe myself. Maybe it was a fluke. My 4th year began, and again I worked harder than before. I also began delving into extracurricular activities that I was passionate about, to see if I had the capacity to do both. This was also when I asked around this forum, and was given advice to pursue a second undergraduate. After completing my 4th year with my highest marks yet (but still, not competitive), I went directly into a second undergraduate.
    Starting my second undergraduate was awkward at times, as I was back in introductory classes where my fellow students were 4 years younger than I. Explaining my age and why I was there often drew a few raised eyebrows, and understandably so. But again, I focused on my work and extracurriculars that I loved. I had found my groove, and had developed the discipline and work ethic to succeed academically. I dedicated a summer to rewriting the MCAT and scored very well. I applied every year, and finally, at the end of my second undergraduate, I was accepted to my first choice. It was a medical school I had been inspired to attend by one of my past teachers and mentors, who had taught me to see medicine as a vocation of social responsibility. The school’s emphasis on the human side of medical care was aligned with what I hoped to become, and I was elated to be accepted.  It is hard to describe that feeling of joy and satisfaction, when all the work and difficulties of the past few years were suddenly validated. To laugh at how this had actually worked out! And afterwards, to feel a calm happiness in knowing that I was on the next step towards my life’s purpose.
    And now, quite suddenly, I am nearly at the end of my first year of medical school. I love what we learn, and I haven’t failed an exam (yet). What I have experienced in clinical encounters and shadowing makes me eager for clerkship and beyond. I have pursued my passions by providing health workshops to asylum seekers in the community, and helped to develop a larger program that will roll out in September. In the summer, I will be heading north to an Indigenous community, where I hope to learn more about their culture, how to work in these environments, and to hopefully do some good. While challenges are ever present, the resiliency (or perhaps sheer stubbornness) I gained from my years of change and development have allowed me to push on. At this point of my life, I finally have some degree of confidence; not the confidence that everything will work out, but rather confidence that I can put my heart and soul into something, and if I do, sometimes, things will work out.
    I’ll end with a few key lessons I picked up along the way. Again, by no means original, but I hope they are useful for people coming from the same situation I was in:
    1.       Choose something meaningful to you that will make everything worth it. Seriously reflect upon what you want to do in your life. It is shorter than we’d like, and anything meaningful will likely require a great deal of effort whatever path you choose. So, what’s important is to choose something that will make all that hardship worthwhile. Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is an incredible book that describes this in great evocative detail.
    2.       Success is not a straight line. As the months went by, I came to see that my success was a series of ups and downs but which always, inexorably, went up over time. It’s okay to falter, to make mistakes, and to fall back on old habits, as that is normal and human. So long as you remember and drive yourself back up, it’s fine! Do NOT believe you have failed if you have relapsed temporarily! Get back up!
    3.       Keep a journal. Something to write down what you are feeling, and more importantly, to be aware of the present and plan for the future. It was important for me to see on a weekly basis what I was able to do, what I had failed to do, and what I needed to do next to accomplish my goals. This was very, very important for me, particularly when I was starting to change and grow.
    4.       Change happens over time. You can’t (or at least, I couldn’t) simply flip a switch and become a 4.0 student. Hard work and discipline took me months and years to ingrain in myself. Similarly, add things over time. I think that layering on work and responsibility over time was an important strategy in my development. I had a brief moment of insanity where, after failing that course in 3rd year, I wanted to take SIX courses instead of five, just to prove that I could change. Don’t do that. Instead, make sure you first succeed academically. Then, add one new thing that you want to do. When you can both succeed academically and in this new thing, add another thing if you want, and so on. And of course, learn what your limits are! The only thing worse than not doing enough, is being so burnt out that you can’t do anything at all.
    5.       Become someone worthy enough to be a doctor. I hope this part doesn’t sound too preachy because that is not my intention. To some people, being a doctor is just a job, and that’s fair. To me, it is a vocation of social responsibility. It should never be something to lord over others, but rather a duty I want to take on. Throughout my path to medical school, I came to see that I shouldn’t strive for marks purely to get into medical school. Nor did I do extracurriculars for that reason. I think there are inherent dangers to your integrity, to organizations, and to the people you serve if that is your frame of mind. Instead, whatever difficulties you face such as achieving high marks, think of it as another opportunity to improve yourself. To become more disciplined, more committed, and more compassionate. To become someone that you would trust to care for your own parents and loved ones, and someone worthy enough to be there during some of life’s greatest sorrows. Again, it was important for me to have a purpose for what I did, and I think this mindset shielded me from the potential bitterness of having to do a second undergraduate, and for taking courses that were not directly medical. In this light, a second degree is not a punishment, but rather a training ground to improve, and to prove to myself that I can become a good doctor for the people I would care for.
    6.       Forgive yourself. There were many, many nights that I could barely sleep because of how guilty I felt, and how terrified I was that I could not change or that I was not doing enough to make amends for the past. This part doesn’t come easily, and to be honest, I’m not sure if I’ve entirely accomplished it. I will always regret not applying myself from the start, and for the stress and hardships this put on my loved ones. But, without sounding too fatalistic, I know this was the only way it could have happened, and looking at the good that I am doing, and the good I will do in the future, that pain has largely subsided. I guess I don’t really know the best way to address this, other than hard work and plenty of time. I guess in my own mind, I had to deserve forgiveness before I could give it to myself.
    I am continuing on my path, and I am hopeful for the future. I also hope that these words have provided some insight, comfort, or direction for some of you, and especially those of you who have embarked on a similar venture. And of course, if you have any questions or if you’d just like someone to talk with about how things are going for you, I’d be happy to respond or Skype if you’d like   
    I wish you the best of luck in your efforts! Take care!
  3. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to clever_smart_boy_like_me in Waitlist Thread 2019   
    Story post to follow in the 'Non-trad success stories'.
  4. Thanks
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from Neurophiliac in MS1 happy to answer questions   
    It’s never a bad idea to shadow early on to get a feel of the specialty. It’s just that sometimes it might be hard to find time to shadow with all the things going on around you, but definitely doable. I know some ppl who skipped lectures to shadow, which is not a big deal considering they’re recorded
  5. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from Neurophiliac in MS1 happy to answer questions   
    our class is making a purple book to help in the transition to first year. it has information about schedules, curriculum, what to buy, etc. It should be available soon
    But generally in first year MWF 8-10am you have mandatory CBL (small group sessions) followed by lectures until 5pm. Lectures are recorded and you may have labs (histology/anatomy) in place of lectures from 2-5pm. On Mondays from 12-5pm you have designated FLEX/FOS time (lectures, small groups)
    Tuesdays and Thursdays you have alternating clinical/history skills sessions and family practice, which takes up either the whole morning or the whole afternoon and never the whole day.
  6. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from nosm_d in 122 -> 128 on CARS. Will McMaster see my previous score?   
    They might see it since you have to submit both scores but they will only use your 128 one to calculate pre interview score
  7. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from BalkanRelations in Interview Invite Breakdown   
    Hey Balkan, I don’t know if they’ll lower their cars cutoff. 
  8. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to Butterfly_ in Accepted/Rejected/Waitlisted??? (for current applicants)   
    Accepted off Waitlist to Hamilton Campus!
    Timestamp: Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 at 11:02am PST
    Can’t believe it!! Now I’m going nuts!!
  9. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from FlameGrilledChicken in Waitlist Support Thread 2018   
    Accepted off waitlist OOP 2:42pm EST. 
  10. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from FlameGrilledChicken in Waitlist Support Thread 2018   
    thank you!  this is so unexpected. im still processing the news
  11. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from anon5678 in Waitlist Support Thread 2018   
    thank you!  this is so unexpected. im still processing the news
  12. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from YoshCo in Waitlist Support Thread 2018   
    thank you!  this is so unexpected. im still processing the news
  13. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from Butterfly_ in Waitlist Support Thread 2018   
    thank you!  this is so unexpected. im still processing the news
  14. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from Lesigh2 in Waitlist Support Thread 2018   
    thank you!  this is so unexpected. im still processing the news
  15. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from Butterfly_ in Waitlist Support Thread 2018   
    Accepted off waitlist OOP 2:42pm EST. 
  16. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from Persephone in Waitlist Support Thread 2018   
    Accepted off waitlist OOP 2:42pm EST. 
  17. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to golden retriever in ..   
    A lot of times, it's not just "what" you say, but "how" you say it. How you come across to the interviewer is quite an important factor because their first impression of you determines how likely are they going to find you personable, etc.
    Feel free to PM for more interview advice! 
  18. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from Persephone in ..   
    thank you for your replies! this will be my second year out of undergrad and am planning on doing more volunteering this year. ill also be joining a toastmasters club to build better communication. i worked at a clinic full-time last year, but will probably be doing part-time this year to allow more time to do other stuff.
    my coaches helped me with response delivery (structure, content) at least in the verbal sense. but since it was online, we didn't focus on body language, and this will be something that i look to change.
  19. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to anon5678 in ..   
    Yeah, it's good to start all that stuff asap for next cycle just incase, but I have a feeling ur gonna get off the UBC waitlist . 
  20. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid got a reaction from anon5678 in ..   
    thank you for your replies! this will be my second year out of undergrad and am planning on doing more volunteering this year. ill also be joining a toastmasters club to build better communication. i worked at a clinic full-time last year, but will probably be doing part-time this year to allow more time to do other stuff.
    my coaches helped me with response delivery (structure, content) at least in the verbal sense. but since it was online, we didn't focus on body language, and this will be something that i look to change.
  21. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to excelspreadsheet in ..   
    I had a lot of trouble on my interviews this year as well (and am still not accepted anywhere). I haven't been able to get over this roadblock yet either, but I understand how you're feeling - good luck!
  22. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to Persephone in ..   
    A lot of people who did well on their interviews said their best advice for interviews came from medical students and doctors!
  23. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to Lactic Folly in ..   
    Agree that you want coaches who will give you as much constructive feedback as possible. It's one thing to provide a confidence boost to someone who needs it, but most everyone starting out this in this process will have room for improvement. Did these coaches have a background in medical admissions? Are you near a university where you can access in-person coaching? Even family/friends may be helpful to pick up on body language cues, as they will be motivated to help you succeed.
  24. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to Edict in ..   
    I think medical school interviews definitely select for the people who can really sell themselves well and are confident. There is a big part of it that is personality dependent but it can be something that is built upon life experiences. It seems like you already put in your all with preparation, but what be lacking is the execution and presentation. You might want to get a friend or someone in med to really evaluate you and see where you could improve. In your gap year (if you do end up needing one), i'm speculating here but you might want to really push yourself and your own boundaries. Those new life experiences you gain from pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, really change how you present yourself as a person in interviews.  
  25. Like
    BoardManGetsPaid reacted to GH0ST in ..   
    Unless we hear it for ourselves... hard to know exactly where to help you. 
    Are those coaches actually coaches for MMI and have experience? It's hard to come by actually good coaching in this area in the first place. 
    My personal belief is if they don't smash me with criticism then I didn't find the right coach... you're not really there to hear them praise you, you're there to get their advice on improvement. 
    In the immediate future though I do recommend taking a step back and trying to do other things... it does help with coming in with a fresh perspective after being so tense throughout the year. After you've cooled off a bit you can look to come back and keep going. 
    Good luck, 
    - G
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