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merci

Career change at 27 -- chances and worth it?

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Hi all, 

I've been playing around with the idea of medical school for years and think I will apply next cycle. 

Looking for any thoughts on my chances and where I should improve.

Highschool: took AP Bio, Chem and English and scored 5s on all. Won multiple awards in bio and chemistry. Won student of the year in grade 12. Sang in choir, played rugby and softball, worked part time at Tim Hortons, and owned my horse.

Undegrad: BSc in Forest Sciences with 87.7% graduating average. continued choir and horses, not much volunteering. worked at a horse show venue every summer and during the school year at some points. did an undergrad thesis and a forestry competition in 4th year. Have pre reqs in bio, chem, biochem, genetics, microbio, etc

Grad: Master of Natural Resource Management with 4.11/4.33 GPA. Worked closely with a first nation on multiple projects including housing and fisheries negotiation as part of treaty. Not many ECs during this time as I was working a lot.

Work experience at varying levels of government (provincial policy/indigenous relations/agriculture) and with first nations ( projects related to housing, treaty, stewardship, and port development and traditional use) and in rural areas (forest technician in northern BC). Currently a community planner with focus on agriculture for a municipality. I sing in choir still, run, ride horses, and backpack/hike/camp. 

I have applied to volunteer at a local hospital to gain some more exposure and enhance my application. I have a passion for youth in need and the elderly, particularly those in undeserved rural areas. I have been particularly inspired by my experience working with First Nations elders and hearing stories of how their health needs have not been met and personal experience with Indigenous youth in care who are no longer with us.

I still need to write the MCAT. 

I am 26, female, in a serious relationship but not yet married/no kids. I plan to only apply to UBC and would like to be in one of the rural programs (IMP or SMP). I am concerned with being in med school while potentially wanting to start a family, get married, and buy a house.

Any tips on how to strengthen my application/chances and ability to enter med school while in prime family starting age (lol).

Thank you!!

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5 hours ago, merci said:

Hi all, 

I've been playing around with the idea of medical school for years and think I will apply next cycle. 

Looking for any thoughts on my chances and where I should improve.

Highschool: took AP Bio, Chem and English and scored 5s on all. Won multiple awards in bio and chemistry. Won student of the year in grade 12. Sang in choir, played rugby and softball, worked part time at Tim Hortons, and owned my horse.

Undegrad: BSc in Forest Sciences with 87.7% graduating average. continued choir and horses, not much volunteering. worked at a horse show venue every summer and during the school year at some points. did an undergrad thesis and a forestry competition in 4th year. Have pre reqs in bio, chem, biochem, genetics, microbio, etc

Grad: Master of Natural Resource Management with 4.11/4.33 GPA. Worked closely with a first nation on multiple projects including housing and fisheries negotiation as part of treaty. Not many ECs during this time as I was working a lot.

Work experience at varying levels of government (provincial policy/indigenous relations/agriculture) and with first nations ( projects related to housing, treaty, stewardship, and port development and traditional use) and in rural areas (forest technician in northern BC). Currently a community planner with focus on agriculture for a municipality. I sing in choir still, run, ride horses, and backpack/hike/camp. 

I have applied to volunteer at a local hospital to gain some more exposure and enhance my application. I have a passion for youth in need and the elderly, particularly those in undeserved rural areas. I have been particularly inspired by my experience working with First Nations elders and hearing stories of how their health needs have not been met and personal experience with Indigenous youth in care who are no longer with us.

I still need to write the MCAT. 

I am 26, female, in a serious relationship but not yet married/no kids. I plan to only apply to UBC and would like to be in one of the rural programs (IMP or SMP). I am concerned with being in med school while potentially wanting to start a family, get married, and buy a house.

Any tips on how to strengthen my application/chances and ability to enter med school while in prime family starting age (lol).

Thank you!!

Your application is fine. I don’t know that you’ll actually get a tonne out of hospital volunteering, depending on the role  - once you’ve had a real job and had real responsibility, you may find many of the common types of positions a bit boring and I don’t know that it will add much to your application. If you’ve never spent much time in a hospital, certainly it can give you some exposure, but you may not see much medicine. Any volunteering you do in your community will strengthen your application, the more responsibility you have the better.  Work experience counts for a lot at UBC as well. 

Write the MCAT. See how it goes.

26 is not old for Med school, certainly not at UBC. There are people who are married, and a few people having kids. You just make it work if it’s important to you. People will tell you all kinds of things about the ‘best time to have kids’ (before Med school, during Med school, during residency, waiting until your staff - I’ve heard it all, several times unsolicited), but really, the best way is whatever works for you and your partner. 

That said, what are your goals and reasons for going to medical school? It’s a big commitment and a lot of work and sacrifice, and you just aren't going to have as much time for family as someone working a 9-5. It’s not worth it for everyone

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On 9/18/2019 at 9:01 PM, frenchpress said:

Your application is fine. I don’t know that you’ll actually get a tonne out of hospital volunteering, depending on the role  - once you’ve had a real job and had real responsibility, you may find many of the common types of positions a bit boring and I don’t know that it will add much to your application. If you’ve never spent much time in a hospital, certainly it can give you some exposure, but you may not see much medicine. Any volunteering you do in your community will strengthen your application, the more responsibility you have the better.  Work experience counts for a lot at UBC as well. 

Write the MCAT. See how it goes.

26 is not old for Med school, certainly not at UBC. There are people who are married, and a few people having kids. You just make it work if it’s important to you. People will tell you all kinds of things about the ‘best time to have kids’ (before Med school, during Med school, during residency, waiting until your staff - I’ve heard it all, several times unsolicited), but really, the best way is whatever works for you and your partner. 

That said, what are your goals and reasons for going to medical school? It’s a big commitment and a lot of work and sacrifice, and you just aren't going to have as much time for family as someone working a 9-5. It’s not worth it for everyone

Thanks for that feedback! I always thought I would need more volunteering experience to have a shot, but if a good MCAT score means I have a chance, I will be applying next cycle!

My partner is supportive, although understandably worried about the time and financial impact and how it would affect our ability to purchase a home. I'm not too worried, although I would like to have kids around age 30, which would be during clerkship/residency..

My reasons for going to medical school include my desire to help people and improve the lives of those in need, my interest in continued learning and rural services and communities, and on a personal level, the flexibility within the career and ability to make a good living so that I can accomplish some of my own lifestyle goals (I want to live on property and own horses.. which is expensive in BC haha). My current career is very interesting, but its incredibly frustrating and bureaucratic and there is very little sense of satisfaction when a project is completed. It's also very sedentary and desk-oriented, which is not something I really enjoy. I would rather practice as a family physician and be able to choose where I live and how much I would like to work. 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, merci said:

Thanks for that feedback! I always thought I would need more volunteering experience to have a shot, but if a good MCAT score means I have a chance, I will be applying next cycle!

My partner is supportive, although understandably worried about the time and financial impact and how it would affect our ability to purchase a home. I'm not too worried, although I would like to have kids around age 30, which would be during clerkship/residency..

My reasons for going to medical school include my desire to help people and improve the lives of those in need, my interest in continued learning and rural services and communities, and on a personal level, the flexibility within the career and ability to make a good living so that I can accomplish some of my own lifestyle goals (I want to live on property and own horses.. which is expensive in BC haha). My current career is very interesting, but its incredibly frustrating and bureaucratic and there is very little sense of satisfaction when a project is completed. It's also very sedentary and desk-oriented, which is not something I really enjoy. I would rather practice as a family physician and be able to choose where I live and how much I would like to work. 

 

 

 

A good MCAT is part of the picture, but that’s the academic side of things. UBC looks at volunteering as part of the non-academic part of the application, which is assessed together with all your extra curriculars and your employment history. Community involvement and volunteering is certainly helpful to strengthen your application, and I would encourage you to do things you’re interested in. The point I was trying to make was that it doesn’t necessarily have to be hospital volunteering and you can demonstrate many of the same qualities that admissions looks for through employment experiences.

You won’t be able to escape bureaucracy in medical school, at least not in training - it’s some of the worst I’ve experienced in my life. But a family doctor working outside of the hospital definitely has a lot more control over when / where they work and the administrative crap not nearly as bad as inside the hospital.

Edit: IMP isn’t really rural (only 2 rural seats), but SMP has at least 10 rural seats I think. If you fill out the rural suitability part of the application that will make you eligible for those seats and will increase your chances. If you’re willing to go NMP that will also open up a lot of possible rural seats.

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I think you should apply to as many schools as you can to maximize your chances, aka risk diversification.
Applying to just UBC = throwing all your eggs in one basket and you may end up wasting lots of time. 
The admissions process can be a crap shoot and often times people don't get their first choice no matter how qualified they are. 

At the end of the day, if your goal is to be a doctor, it doesn't matter where within Canada you study. 
After med school you can always apply to UBC for residency. And even if you don't get into UBC residency, you can still practice in BC after you obtain your license in some other province. 
Also, you have to be prepared to make sacrifices. You may very well need to delay starting a family or may have to live away from your partner if he/she does not choose to move with you.
Weigh your opportunity costs. What do you value the most?

Always prepare for the worse and hope for the best.

Good luck.

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Hi Folks, 

Still contemplating this idea. I think I will commit to writing the MCAT this spring, but I am still not sure whether a switch to medicine is something that is in mine or my family's best interest. 

Do you have any suggestions on what to consider when making the change? I am going to have a conversation with my partner. I am also thinking about reaching out to an old classmate that went into med and perhaps ask a doctor I see often if they would be willing to talk to me about their experience. 

Things I am worried about:

- Debt from med school and the trade off -- I currently make $65,000 a year and have 4 weeks vacation, a pension, and great benefits. To go to med school I would be giving that up and taking on $100k in debt. However upon graduation I would be making the same or more than I am now and substantially more after a 2 year FM residency.

- How will my debt and loss of income impact our ability to buy a home? And what if I don't get a residency within commuting distance?

- What if I hate the job? I like my current job and I don't have much experience in a health care setting. That said, I love a challenge and feeling like I am making a difference and helping people.

- How do I manage wanting to start a family while in medical school? If I do wait until residency, I will be 32 by the time I think about having my first child, IF I get in first round. 

 

Am I worrying too much or are these valid questions? Any further advice?

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4 hours ago, merci said:

Hi Folks, 

Still contemplating this idea. I think I will commit to writing the MCAT this spring, but I am still not sure whether a switch to medicine is something that is in mine or my family's best interest. 

Do you have any suggestions on what to consider when making the change? I am going to have a conversation with my partner. I am also thinking about reaching out to an old classmate that went into med and perhaps ask a doctor I see often if they would be willing to talk to me about their experience. 

Things I am worried about:

- Debt from med school and the trade off -- I currently make $65,000 a year and have 4 weeks vacation, a pension, and great benefits. To go to med school I would be giving that up and taking on $100k in debt. However upon graduation I would be making the same or more than I am now and substantially more after a 2 year FM residency.

The debt and income trade off can be depressing. Do the math if you want. I did before I started my first year, and it initially the number seemed staggering, but I quickly realized it was a straw man argument for me and tried to forget about it. What’s the point of staying in a job I don’t want to do, just for money?

Quote

- How will my debt and loss of income impact our ability to buy a home? And what if I don't get a residency within commuting distance?

Depends where you live. It might impact it a lot or a little. Also depends how much you work and what kind of doctor you become. And you very realistically might not get a residency within commuting distance, or even in the province. What WILL you do if that happens? I’m not you, I can’t tell you. Personally, my partner and I have had a lot of conversations about where we’re willing to live and which programs to rank, and it’s an ongoing one. We are hoping to make it work.

Quote

- What if I hate the job? I like my current job and I don't have much experience in a health care setting. That said, I love a challenge and feeling like I am making a difference and helping people.

You might hate it. Would you be satisfied to do something you hate? Could you be flexible and find some facet you like? Would you be ok with having enjoyed the experience of going to Med school (even if you drop out part way through) before deciding to do something else with your life? 

Quote

- How do I manage wanting to start a family while in medical school? If I do wait until residency, I will be 32 by the time I think about having my first child, IF I get in first round. 

Lots of people have kids in Med school and residency, and there’s no one right way to do it. I know several people who have. If it’s important to you, you can find a way to make it work. Or you can have them at 32. Or adopt. Or maybe you’ll change your mind. Only you can decide what will work for you. 

Quote

Am I worrying too much or are these valid questions? Any further advice?

They are valid questions, but they don’t have to be questions to ‘worry’ about. You’ve presented many of these questions in such a way that answering ‘yes’ to them implies that there is some underlying problem. These are only problems if you make them problems. 
 

I think you might find it more effective to reassess the values that are motivating you to think of these questions and try to understand where they’re coming from. And then try to evaluate how bought into these ideas you actually are, how flexible you might be about them, and which should be priorities when weighing the pros and cons of deciding to go to medical school. Personally, I found counselling for anxiety really helpful in learning to let go of some similar concerns I had in the past.

For example, do you really truly value things like home ownership (which is totally fine) or does it just seem like a thing you SHOULD worry about because in Canadian society so many families push it as the ‘adult thing to do’. In my city, lots of people rent for life. Maybe you’d actually be just as happy to rent for 30 years. Or maybe you’d be happy with a very modest house in a cheaper city, and with a little math you realize you could afford what you want. Etc. 

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