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throwawaymd

Another "what are my chances" thread, though maybe slightly different?

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(Not sure if this belongs here or in general premed discussion, figured I'd post it here since I would be a non-trad if I went forward)

Here is my situation: I have a physical disability, Spina Bifida. Its not crippling, and I'd say it did more of a number on my mental health than anything physical, if that makes sense. I grew up in an extremely sheltered life, was shoehorned into taking applied level courses in high school because I was diagnosed with ADHD. (I was a decent student in hindsight, classic case of student who just didn't apply himself.) (Also diagnosed with depression and anxiety.)

After graduating from high school, didn't have any sense of direction or purpose, went into college for Web Design, grew bored and dropped out. Went to school again a few years later for culinary arts, actually graduated with flying colors, (scholarship and leadership awards), but only stayed in the industry for about 2 years afterwards, went back to wandering and not really doing anything with my life. I'm now 26, still nothing to really show for my 20s, no stable record of working. The weight of not doing anything is growing very heavy.

The only consistent "dream" I've ever had is that of being a doctor, of helping other people who've struggled with the same things I had. Very romantic sentiment, and maybe a pipe dream, I know. But its the only thought that's lingered consistently in my head since childhood. I never acted on it because I just... never thought of myself as competent enough, especially after my situation in high school. At this point, I obviously have very low self-esteem. The issue now is, my track record is clearly less than stellar. I'd have to start from ground up, taking u-level high school credits (which I've recently started working on) to even be able to apply for undergraduate programs, only after that point would I have to even worry about the STANDARD worries of an MD hopeful. The only solace I have is a short talk/interview I had last year with the neurosurgeon who treated me when I was a child. I told them of my vision of becoming a doctor, and in short they basically told me that if I truly believed that this was the only thing I could see myself doing, then that I should work hard and go for it. (But to be fair, I hadn't told them the full extent of the history of my 20s, or lack thereof.)

I AM willing to work as hard as it takes to succeed. I think one of my only real saving graces is that I become obsessively hard working if I ever find something that I truly care about, that truly gives me a sense of purpose. My question now is this: HYPOTHETICALLY, say I took these u-level high school credits, got into university, completed a 4 year bachelors with flying colors, did well on MCAT, did all the ECs that are normally necessary for consideration, etc. Would I have any chance of getting in, given I have very little to show for my 20s? Would the fact that I pulled myself together and got through undergrad with flying colors be enough to make up for the fact that I haven't done a fucking thing of note in my 20s? (To reiterate, I haven't held down a long term job ever in my life.) In terms of admission, I feel that the only thing that could actually make me stand out is my experience with physical illness, the fact that I practically grew up in a hospital, that its an environment I'm intimately familiar with.

To be clear, I am very aware of how daunting of a task it would be to set off down this path. I'm aware that I'd be at least 31 by the time I'm even applying to med school, and the difficulty, length and financial implication of the entire process in and of itself. I've been lurking on this forum and various other subreddits, talking to other people in the field, reading books on the subject, etc. for a while now as I've been grappling with the idea. I just have nothing else that comes to mind anytime I'm thinking about what the hell the point of my life is. So I'm coming to the point where feel like I just have to try, or else it'll be scratching at the back of my mind for the rest of my life. I just want to know what my chances would be, hypothetically. Maybe this isn't something that can really be quantified... so I guess I'm just looking for personal opinions.

Sincerely appreciate any replies and advice. And please, if the response you'd give is cold reality, don't hold back. I want to hear your honest thoughts.

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On 12/4/2019 at 12:01 PM, throwawaymd said:

I AM willing to work as hard as it takes to succeed. I think one of my only real saving graces is that I become obsessively hard working if I ever find something that I truly care about, that truly gives me a sense of purpose. My question now is this: HYPOTHETICALLY, say I took these u-level high school credits, got into university, completed a 4 year bachelors with flying colors, did well on MCAT, did all the ECs that are normally necessary for consideration, etc. Would I have any chance of getting in, given I have very little to show for my 20s? Would the fact that I pulled myself together and got through undergrad with flying colors be enough to make up for the fact that I haven't done a fucking thing of note in my 20s? (To reiterate, I haven't held down a long term job ever in my life.) In terms of admission, I feel that the only thing that could actually make me stand out is my experience with physical illness, the fact that I practically grew up in a hospital, that its an environment I'm intimately familiar with.

To be clear, I am very aware of how daunting of a task it would be to set off down this path. I'm aware that I'd be at least 31 by the time I'm even applying to med school, and the difficulty, length and financial implication of the entire process in and of itself. I've been lurking on this forum and various other subreddits, talking to other people in the field, reading books on the subject, etc. for a while now as I've been grappling with the idea. I just have nothing else that comes to mind anytime I'm thinking about what the hell the point of my life is. So I'm coming to the point where feel like I just have to try, or else it'll be scratching at the back of my mind for the rest of my life. I just want to know what my chances would be, hypothetically. Maybe this isn't something that can really be quantified... so I guess I'm just looking for personal opinions

Hi,

I'm sorry, i am not a med student so for the whole process of admission, i'm clearly not the best to answer (and also for my english, not my first language). But from what I understand, what is important is not exactly what you did when you were 20, and 21, 22, etc. It's more how you present the situation, that you had obstacles, you overcame them, you worked hard, and now you have grown from your experiences and you have the maturity, the experiences and you truly know how the patients would feel in a given situation. And even if it's something that seems meaningless for you, can always be presented like an experience that made you grow as a person (interacting with people, finding solutions to problems, leadership, etc.). So from my point of view, the question is not what happened before that counts, it is more what you will make out of it in the future. If you are willing to take all the classes, the degree, the volunteering, etc. why not? And in the meantime, maybe you will discover something else during your studies that you will love to pursue as a plan B!

It is just my honest and humble opinion, wish you the best of luck!

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If you get good undergrad marks and ace the MCAT you will be fine. It’s no different than anyone else who is in high school. You are 26 - you could be in med school in your early 30s. Its certainly possible if you do well

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Yes, those "lost years" would be irrelevant. Med school applicants aren't judged based on the years of life they've lived, but on the things they've achieved. If you do an undergrad like everyone else, and have accomplishments that are better than the other applicants (at whatever age they are) then you'll get in. But getting a near-perfect GPA, doing well on the MCAT, and strategizing ECs is no easy task. It will take time and hard work. It's your decision whether it's worth the sacrifice! But it's definitely possible - your past will not hinder you in any way.

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