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Everything posted by frenchpress

  1. It’s certainly safe to seek treatment for mental health issues as a medical student, and if you’re starting to feel like you’re struggling then it’s really better to do it sooner rather than later. I understand your hesitancy about using your school as a resource though. If the cost for private counselling is an issue, there are sometimes other alternatives. In BC the health ministry and doctors of BC provide the physician’s health program, which provides support to doctors (including medical students): https://www.physicianhealth.com/ If you’re not in BC, there may be an equivalent in your province. They have physicians there who act as peer support, and they can put you in touch with a doctor if you need one, and will provide access to a limited amount of counselling for free. Everything is confidential and it’s not connected to your student file. Accessing counselling through them can take a few weeks, but you get a minimum of 6 sessions for free, and sometimes more if your peer support thinks it is needed. It’s been a good resource for me.
  2. frenchpress

    Wrong Major? What am I meant to be?

    Also, medicine is a massive field, and there’s a tonne of variation in what types of things you might do and what skills you need to do it. No one is good at everything, and you don’t need to be. For example, a lot of students in my school suck at anatomy (myself included), but that’s not necessarily going to be a problem. It’s the sort of thing where if it’s important for the areas of medicine you’re interested in, you just pick up the content over time with more and more practice. And then you forget the rest because you aren’t using it.
  3. frenchpress

    Wrong Major? What am I meant to be?

    I agree with other posters that not liking some of those subjects doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t enjoy or excel in Med school. People come to medicine from all areas of study. Some topics take people longer to learn, so just because you’re not naturally as good at something does not necessarily mean it’s not worth putting in the time to get better at it. But if you’re finding that you’re really not enjoying certain types of courses or your major, it is a good idea to explore other areas you think you might like better. There’s no point in being miserable. And if you really do think you might want to go to Med school one day, then the most important thing right now is for you to excel in whatever course of study you choose. Continuing down a path where you’re getting a lot of 60s in courses you don’t enjoy is not likely to make you happy nor give you a strong enough GPA to even apply to medicine. If you switch to a path where you’re motivated by you’re interested to study things you you like and excel at, you may discover a rewarding new career you hasn’t considered (and that won’t necessarily prevent you from pursuing medicine later if you want).
  4. That’s correct. Only if you get accepted and you took classes this past year will you need to send up to date transcripts.
  5. frenchpress

    Weird EC's?

    You’ll have to use your best judgement here. Its risky to be too vague they have a specific organization, because to an extent admins need to be able to verify your claim or see that the organization exists if they wanted to. Is there an umbrella organization or website address you can refer to instead (assuming it’s more generic and doesn’t have the same wording issues)? For example, you can describe yourself as an adminstrator, etc. for 2 competitive leagues in a call of duty gaming community on <<website name>>?
  6. frenchpress

    Weird EC's?

    Agree with this as well. I would avoid using any terminology that could be associated with violence, especially words like ‘sniper’ or ‘shooter’. And I don’t think it’s necessary to use abbreviations or acronyms - you shouldn’t include any that you don’t define. The general terms like Meridian suggested are probably fine and specific enough. I really don’t think it’s that risky to include these kinds of activities, and it’s probably a good differentiator. I had some weird game hobbies on my ECs as well. I think the only time it might be an issue is if it comes across as your only hobby or work - and overly narrow experiences are an issue for any application, not just one that includes gaming experiences.
  7. I personsally found khan academy very helpful for supporting my self-study as someone without a science background.
  8. Highly individual and really depends on your strengths and weaknesses, how well you test, etc. I scored above 95th on one section related to my degree with only a week or two of studying, and 95th on CARS with no practice other than a few full length practice exams. But hours and hours over weeks and weeks of studying chem and physics barely got me above 65th in that section.
  9. frenchpress

    Writing MCAT in summer after 2nd year

    People do cancel, especially as the different cancellation deadlines approach — if you keep an eye on August dates you may see one open up, especially if you’re in a larger Center.
  10. I don’t know that it makes a huge difference in the end, and the differences tend to wash out. Outside students can be disadvantaged, but so can UBC students. If you’re always at the end of the grade range as a UBC student (e.g. 80%, 85%, 90%) you could have the exact same letter grades an an outside student (A-, A, A+) and you’d have a lower GPA for the application (85% vs 88%).
  11. UBC gives grades out of 100% edit: to clarify, I realized you must be confusing the conversion equivilency with the actual grading system at UBC. Students there get % grades. A letter grade is also assigned, but it is not used in the GPA calculation. So when you apply to UBC from an outside school, your letter grade is converted to the middle of the % range for the GPA calculation. An A+ is anything 90-100 (so converted to 95), A is 85-89 (converts to 87), and so on.
  12. frenchpress

    raising your GPA after undergrad?

    You definitely may find courses valuable for the MCAT, especially if you haven’t taken science since high school. Although as you said, there are alternative routes. Good luck!
  13. frenchpress

    raising your GPA after undergrad?

    What I was trying to say was that it is possible that the tiny GPA boost I got from taking science pre reqs made a difference — my GPA was in the low 80s, and I don’t know what formula UBC uses to rank applicants, so maybe if my GPA has been a half a percent lower I wouldn’t have made the cut? But I really don’t think that’s likely. Which is why, in my particular situation, I don’t feel like taking all those science courses was worth it for the GPA boost.
  14. frenchpress

    raising your GPA after undergrad?

    I only got a small boost (I think <1%?) because I already had a lot of credits between my undergraduate and graduate degrees, so the 18 credits I took didn’t make much of a dent. My GPA was on the lower end, so it’s possible that made the difference in acceptance, but I don’t really think it mattered. I did the courses because at the time they were required to apply to UBC, and I stopped taking them when UBC dropped their science pre requisites. It was a lot of time and money to take them, and it wasn’t really worth it. The only benefit from my perspective was decreasing the time to study for the MCAT. If you’re doing this mostly for the GPA boost, it’s worth doing the math to see if another year of courses is likely to change YOUR gpa based on your existing credits and the grades you’re likely to achieve. Otherwise you might be wasting your time.
  15. frenchpress

    raising your GPA after undergrad?

    Depends on your situation. In addition to the above point about looking at specific requirements for schools and number of years they look at, you need to look at the number of credits you’d take relative to the number you already have, as well as the GPA you think you’re likely to achieve in this subsequent year. What magnitude of GPA increase do you want and what you think you’ll realistically be able to achieve? Then calculate if that will be enough. Often the reason a second degree is suggested is because a year of extra classes just won’t do it. For example, if you’ve already done 120 credits and have an 75% average, and then you do another 30 credits and get an 85% average, your overall GPA will increase by only ~2%. Which probably still isnt high enough. Or, if you already have a have an average of 85%, it’s going to be tough to meaningfully pull up your score more than a fraction of a percent unless you’re going to be able to pull off a >90% average, and is that really realistic or worth it? In terms of MCAT prep, an extra year can definitely be helpful if you haven’t taken any/little science in university. I self-learned much of the MCAT material, but the science pre reqs that I went back to take gave me a foundation that made figuring stuff out on my own a lot easier.
  16. frenchpress

    Preparing meals in med school

    I used to love the New York Times cooking, but now it’s subscription only — I’ve been debating getting a subscription because I miss having it as a resource. Melissa Clark in particular has a lot of reasonably simple recipes that are easy for weeknights (I use one of her cookbooks a lot). Serious eats has some great articles about cooking techniques and styles of food, especially The ‘food lab’ section by Kenji Lopez Alt. His recipes are often pretty good, although sometimes a bit more complicated than I can be bothered with (so I end up simplifying the steps or number of pans used, etc.) BBC good food has a good range of recipes, but I find they’re more hit and miss — you need to be able to evaluate and adjust when things seem off. I also follow a few cooking blogs, but they have a smaller volume of content. 101 cook books, smitten kitchen, simply recipes are some of my favourites. Also, it’s hard to go wrong buying a physical copy of the Joy of Cooking. It’s usually the first place I go when I want to learn how to do something new in the kitchen.
  17. No one knows how it factors in, but UBC says that it is part of the file review. And score does seem to matter somewhat, as the average entrance score is often around 513-515 and the average score of rejected applicants is usually 510-511. (Although you could argue that stronger applicants will just tend to be stronger across all criteria on average, and you might get the same result even if the MCAT wasn’t included post interview because of that correlation). That said, it’s an average. And I certainly know a few people who had overall strong applications and a weaker MCAT in my class. So I wouldn’t worry about it too now. Too many unknowns for you to speculate on your chances!
  18. This is not strictly true. Many medical schools do not require science pre reqs any more (UBC is one such school). So you should look at the requirements for schools you actually think you might want to apply to across the country — applying broadly will increase your chances of getting into medical school, but it’s hard to meet the requirements for every school without doing a science degree. Engineering is not an uncommon path to medical school. If you focus on medical schools without science prereqs (like UBC), you will likely still need 6 credits of English. And you may still want to take some courses to help you prepare for the MCAT, which most Canadian med schools still require. Depending on the area of engineering you study you may get enough basic chemistry and physics for the MCAT, and you could take classes in other areas in the summer semesters. GPA is a concern for med applications, so you should know that engineering at UBC can be a tough program to maintain a high GPA in. The workload can be very high, and I know a lot of people who went through the program and struggled. So I recommend being careful about taking on more than you can handle early on — get a semester or two under your belt and have a good idea of what you need to do to succeed and keep the GPA up before you start worrying about taking extra classes, etc
  19. I studied computer science and had basically no science before deciding to apply to Med. I ended up taking some science courses part-time (back when UBC still had prereq courses) - I agree with other posters that much of the knowledge isn’t super helpful in medical school, but having some basic introduction to chemistry, physics, biochemistry etc. made it a lot easier for me to self study for those sections of the MCAT where I had to teach myself a lot of content. Sections like biology, psychology I found a lot easier to self study (more memorization). If you can apply to a school that doesn’t require the MCAT/only CARS then it’s a lot less important to take any science — you will get what you need to know from the curriculum or be able to pick it up as you go. All that said, I ended up finding biochemistry really interesting, and am glad I took it before starting med school. As much as you really don’t need to know that much basic science to be a good doctor, sometimes it just makes it easier/faster to learn things or dive a little deeper in to topics you’re interested in. So if there are some relevant science classes that you’re interested in, you could start there, and see how it goes. If you’re a science natural you may want to do more, or self study for the MCAT. If not, focus on schools that don’t require prereqs or the MCAT — which is limiting, but doable.
  20. frenchpress

    Poor Grades, or Drop and Extra Year

    Edit: Sorry, I just reread your post and realized you’re talking about only applying schools outside Canada. So my original response was not super relevant. But still, more information about your stats and GPA overall may be helpful. Is low GPA/competitiveness your main reason for not applying in Canada?
  21. frenchpress

    Preparing meals in med school

    Ha ha, I second this. It can be a stinky week, but it’s worth it! I sometimes soak dried and make a big batch on the weekends, but also go to cans for packing lunches or making quick dinners during the week. Lentils fill a similar niche. Canned fish (sardines, mackerel are my factories) with rice or pasta is also good for tasty, filling, convenient protein when you’re sick of beans.
  22. frenchpress

    aGPA calculation

    I am pretty sure they include all credits, because they will include all of your master’s courses with grades in the GPA calculation. Although I am not sure about thesis credits. Admissions is pretty good about responding to questions like this by email. Just ask.
  23. It’s hard to say. A lot of people get accepted to UBC with a 511, and in particular, for more mature IP students with strong applications and GPAs, it probably is good enough. We know they only look at whether you meet the cut offs when deciding to interview, and my sense is that the interview scores matters a lot more. But we don’t really know how the scoring works, and it’s possible that it could be the difference. If it were me, and that was the only about my application I could change, I’d probably rewrite it now instead of possibly having to do it later. But that’s just me. I wouldn’t think you would be making a mistake if you decided you’d rather not.
  24. Given all that, and the fact that it sounds like you really wouldn’t mind another shot at it, I certainly don’t think it would hurt you and a better score might help a bit. So go for it. UBC will take your best score. If you score similarly (and hopefully not worse), it’s still probably good enough for an IP applicant as @Neurophiliac says given the rest of your application.
  25. Even if you see yourself doing nursing as a back up career now, after doing another degree full time for several years, will you find it easy or likely that you’ll want to return to nursing? It can be difficult to go back to an area when you haven’t done it for multiple years. (I feel like I’ve forgotten everything practical about my old career after only a year and a half away). Why not study something new you could see yourself sticking with? Your ability to to get in to medical school after only 2 or 3 years in a second degree will really depend on how you perform. Just going in and getting spectacular grades first semester can be really tough — if you did poorly in the past, it may take a semester or two to learn better study habits, figure out good time management, etc, even if you do ultimately have what it takes to excel. So at this point it’s hard to say what your chances are — realistically I think you should be prepared for the likelihood that you’ll need to apply more than once, and even then, you may not get in. It’s the unfortunate path a lot of people on this forum take.