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Success Stories- Non Trad Style!

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Hi y'all,

 

I had crappy undergrad grades...like a 3.0 overall. I had a really rough first couple of years.

 

I went back to my hometown and worked hard. At one time I had three crappy jobs just to make ends meat.

 

I went back to a community college with small class sizes and lots of extra help. I retook physics, organic chem, inorganic chem and took biochem and physiology for the first time. My gpa pretty darn close to a 4.0 for that year. My gpa from my last two years of undergrad were stellar too.

 

My MCATs were a 33Q or 33R or something and pretty well balanced.

 

I was accepted on my very first try to a University of Queensland, University of Cork, none of the American schools and finally the University of Calgary. I went to the U of C of course! It was a really fantastic program and I excelled there.

 

Fast forward and now I'm a second year resident in a very competitive surgical program, which, I should mention was my top choice come CaRMS time. I'm doing really well and am even winning some awards.

 

Looking back, if I hadn't had to work hard to get into medicine I may have taken my once in a life time chance for granted. I love every minute.

 

Keep you heads up and know that anything's possible if you work for it!

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Hi y'all,

 

I had crappy undergrad grades...like a 3.0 overall. I had a really rough first couple of years.

 

I went back to my hometown and worked hard. At one time I had three crappy jobs just to make ends meat.

 

I went back to a community college with small class sizes and lots of extra help. I retook physics, organic chem, inorganic chem and took biochem and physiology for the first time. My gpa pretty darn close to a 4.0 for that year. My gpa from my last two years of undergrad were stellar too.

 

My MCATs were a 33Q or 33R or something and pretty well balanced.

 

I was accepted on my very first try to a University of Queensland, University of Cork, none of the American schools and finally the University of Calgary. I went to the U of C of course! It was a really fantastic program and I excelled there.

 

Fast forward and now I'm a second year resident in a very competitive surgical program, which, I should mention was my top choice come CaRMS time. I'm doing really well and am even winning some awards.

 

Looking back, if I hadn't had to work hard to get into medicine I may have taken my once in a life time chance for granted. I love every minute.

 

Keep you heads up and know that anything's possible if you work for it!

 

Good job! good to know the work pays off.

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Fellow non-trad who got into Mac!!

Took a year off after high school. Then moved all the way across the country for UG. Wrote and bombed my MCAT in 2007 which made me swear off med school. Did my Masters with the full intention of doing a Ph.D and continuing research/academia. I'll be defending that masters in about a month...wooop!

 

I re-wrote my MCAT in summer 2009 and did okay except for Bio. I applied to Mac to get some experience with the application process before I went full throttle the next year, with a VR=10. Wound up getting an interview and then accepted! Bonus!

 

I only applied to one school. It just goes to show that you only need one.

I also don't have the highest GPA. I went to the maritimes for my UG...they drink lots of beer there...my marks suffered but it was so worth it! You don't need a 4.0! In fact, I wouldnt want one unless I knew that my social life wouldnt suffer.

 

Congrats other non-trads!!! Well deserved!!

 

 

I love hearing stories like yours! congrats!

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I only applied to Mac. Applied 5 yrs in a row, interviewed the last 4 years and finally was accepted. I am now a specialist loving what I practice. I came into medicine with a 3.65 average and a teaching background. Well worth the wait and the proudest day of my life back then was reading my acceptance letter. Don't give up if this is your dream, look where it can take you!!

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Like so many in this thread, I really shot myself in the foot with my GPA. After a pretty mediocre first year (around 3.2), I upped my game second year... Until an unfortunate series of events led to a 54% on an advanced organic chemistry final that was worth 100% of my grade. I knew at that point my chances of entry at a Canadian medical school were non-existent. I decided to pursue other interests, but medical school was always in the back of my mind. I graduated in 2010 with a 3.43 GPA, then took a full-time "special" study year that boosted it above 3.50, which I figured was at least competitive for Ireland (where I have citizenship). I also met the 2-year cutoff for Queen's and Western, but needed to re-write the MCAT.

 

During my special study year, I interned in an amazing ALS research lab and decided to pursue a master's degree. I re-wrote the MCAT during the summer of my first year of grad school, and did well enough to at least have a shot at Queen's... Western unfortunately raised their VR cutoff to 11 the same year, making Queen's my only realistic shot (36 composite, but only 10 in VR). I applied to Ireland, Queen's, McMaster, Western, Toronto, Manitoba and McGill (in province), and was rejected by all except Ireland, Queen's and... McGill. The McGill interview was a complete surprise - although I had IP status, it's still incredibly competitive and I never thought my academic background would be strong enough.

 

I was accepted yesterday to McGill's M.D., C.M. program. I'm still at a complete loss - I was expecting to end up in Ireland in mountains of debt and with an uncertain future, but instead I might actually have a choice of Canadian medical schools. It's been 6 years of work to reach this point, and I can't believe it actually paid off. I'm fully conscious of the doubt and self-loathing that accompanies a non-traditional path to medicine. My advice to all of you on this journey: find things outside of this process that you love to do, find people that you love to be around, and try to include these two things in day-to-day life as much as you can.

 

I wish all of you the best possible luck, and I hope to one day work alongside you.

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Like so many in this thread, I really shot myself in the foot with my GPA. After a pretty mediocre first year (around 3.2), I upped my game second year... Until an unfortunate series of events led to a 54% on an advanced organic chemistry final that was worth 100% of my grade. I knew at that point my chances of entry at a Canadian medical school were non-existent. I decided to pursue other interests, but medical school was always in the back of my mind. I graduated in 2010 with a 3.43 GPA, then took a full-time "special" study year that boosted it above 3.50, which I figured was at least competitive for Ireland (where I have citizenship). I also met the 2-year cutoff for Queen's and Western, but needed to re-write the MCAT.

 

During my special study year, I interned in an amazing ALS research lab and decided to pursue a master's degree. I re-wrote the MCAT during the summer of my first year of grad school, and did well enough to at least have a shot at Queen's... Western unfortunately raised their VR cutoff to 11 the same year, making Queen's my only realistic shot (36 composite, but only 10 in VR). I applied to Ireland, Queen's, McMaster, Western, Toronto, Manitoba and McGill (in province), and was rejected by all except Ireland, Queen's and... McGill. The McGill interview was a complete surprise - although I had IP status, it's still incredibly competitive and I never thought my academic background would be strong enough.

 

I was accepted yesterday to McGill's M.D., C.M. program. I'm still at a complete loss - I was expecting to end up in Ireland in mountains of debt and with an uncertain future, but instead I might actually have a choice of Canadian medical schools. It's been 6 years of work to reach this point, and I can't believe it actually paid off. I'm fully conscious of the doubt and self-loathing that accompanies a non-traditional path to medicine. My advice to all of you on this journey: find things outside of this process that you love to do, find people that you love to be around, and try to include these two things in day-to-day life as much as you can.

 

I wish all of you the best possible luck, and I hope to one day work alongside you.

 

Awesome!!!

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This is wonderful!! Congrats!! All the best for the years ahead!

 

I did my undergrad in B.Com at McGill with a mediocre CGPA of 3.3 and went to NYC for a job in public accounting then switched to investment banking but got sick of working for just money so I quit the corporate world completely and started teaching yoga full time. I came back to Montreal 3 years ago and set up a yoga studio while becoming more and more interested in anatomy, working with injuries and caring for sick people.

 

I'm turning 28 this summer and I've decided to begin this 8+ year journey, super excited with some level of doubt while reading this thread really helps to reinforce my belief!! Thank you everyone for having posted these inspiring stories :)

 

 

Like so many in this thread, I really shot myself in the foot with my GPA. After a pretty mediocre first year (around 3.2), I upped my game second year... Until an unfortunate series of events led to a 54% on an advanced organic chemistry final that was worth 100% of my grade. I knew at that point my chances of entry at a Canadian medical school were non-existent. I decided to pursue other interests, but medical school was always in the back of my mind. I graduated in 2010 with a 3.43 GPA, then took a full-time "special" study year that boosted it above 3.50, which I figured was at least competitive for Ireland (where I have citizenship). I also met the 2-year cutoff for Queen's and Western, but needed to re-write the MCAT.

 

During my special study year, I interned in an amazing ALS research lab and decided to pursue a master's degree. I re-wrote the MCAT during the summer of my first year of grad school, and did well enough to at least have a shot at Queen's... Western unfortunately raised their VR cutoff to 11 the same year, making Queen's my only realistic shot (36 composite, but only 10 in VR). I applied to Ireland, Queen's, McMaster, Western, Toronto, Manitoba and McGill (in province), and was rejected by all except Ireland, Queen's and... McGill. The McGill interview was a complete surprise - although I had IP status, it's still incredibly competitive and I never thought my academic background would be strong enough.

 

I was accepted yesterday to McGill's M.D., C.M. program. I'm still at a complete loss - I was expecting to end up in Ireland in mountains of debt and with an uncertain future, but instead I might actually have a choice of Canadian medical schools. It's been 6 years of work to reach this point, and I can't believe it actually paid off. I'm fully conscious of the doubt and self-loathing that accompanies a non-traditional path to medicine. My advice to all of you on this journey: find things outside of this process that you love to do, find people that you love to be around, and try to include these two things in day-to-day life as much as you can.

 

I wish all of you the best possible luck, and I hope to one day work alongside you.

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As cliche as it might sound I still can't believe that I am actually posting my story here...still so surreal.

 

My journey to med began quite a long time ago during undergrad. After initially not getting into hth sci at Mac I worked hard first year and despite my not so great gpa (despite what people might say, one grade can really hurt you) I managed to get in as a 2nd year transfer. I thought that this would really help me with achieving my goal of getting into medicine. I loved the program (and contrary to what most people think its not that easy, it still requires lots of hard work, its just different than typical programs) and ended up doing well gpa-wise as well. Unfortunately my first year gpa still hurt my chances and so it wasn't until after 4th year that my gpa was competitive enough.

 

My biggest challenge was the mcat. I first wrote it in the summer after 2nd year and despite taking the course and working hard I just couldn't conquer it. I've never been great with tests and this was a whole new best. Next summer I worked really hard and took it early in June and it was honestly the toughest thing I've ever written. This was very frustrating after again working hard but now being more familiar with it as well. But I managed to regroup and decided to write it for a 3rd time at the end of that summer along with 2 summer courses (one of which I had to drop before the exam since it conflicted with the mcat). Thankfully this time I hit that 10 in vr and although my score wasn't amazing I was confident it was competitive enough.

 

Having been involved with a number of volunteer and extracurricular activities (I tried to just follow my interests but avoided research since at the time I didn't really enjoy it) throughout my undergrad I was confident I had a reasonably competitive application going into 4th year. So I applied that year not with high hopes but feeling confident. But unfortunately no interviews that year. So I applied to grad school and was fortunate enough to be accepted to Uoft for my masters (research based). That summer I took 3 courses that were required for US applications, killing the last summer I had.

 

Grad school was very scary since I didn't have any research experience up until then (which is why I wanted to pursue grad school and get some experience) but also because that is where I learned that Uoft lives up to its reputation for being tough. My grad studies were honestly the most difficult thing I have ever done. The first year was absolute chaos learning very difficult techniques and trying to work through a brand new project in my lab that had countless issues (I knew it was bad when senior students would tell me that my luck was horrible and they saw me have issues they've never seen before). It culminated with a supervisory meeting where despite working incredibly hard (10+ hrs, min 6 days), my committee member asked me due to a lack of data if I was even in the lab working every day. At this point I honestly hated my life and wondered what I got myself into. I also couldn't apply to med school at this time (one year into my studies) since there was no way I could ask my supervisor for a reference letter (she did know that I wanted to go to med though).

 

Nevertheless I kept plugging away and thankfully things began to work out. I managed to complete my project, present my data at an international conference, get my name on 3 papers and best of all present an outstanding thesis defence that impressed everyone on my committee (I knew it would go well when the first member walked in and told my that my thesis was one of the best he had read in a long time). The only downside to that second year was that I applied to medical school but I was unable to apply early to the US since the applications we due at the same time that I was away for my conference and finishing up my thesis in order to defend. But this was also the first time that I applied across Canada and received interviews and subsequently waitlisted at 2 ON schools.

 

After graduating I continued to work in my lab as a research assistant and took on new volunteer opportunities as I looked for full time work (I also learned how difficult finding a job can be, even after a masters). This time was especially hard since a number of friends got into med after grad school while I still remained in limbo. But I persevered, enjoyed being out of school for the first time and applied across Canada again. Sadly I learned that I couldn't apply to the US since they require mcat scores that are no more than 2-3 years old (by this time it had been 4 years since I last wrote). But thankfully I again got interviews at Uoft and even UBC further convincing me that I was on the right track and needed to keep trying. Sadly I was rejected from Uoft post interview and at UBC, despite being waitlisted until the very end I was once again rejected. This truly hurt since I knew I was competitive, my application had improved every year and I worked very hard in preparing both my application and for interviews. Post interview that year I was quite depressed and it took a while to get over.

 

But once again I decided I couldn't give up since I was getting interviews and being waitlisted (the biggest motivators here were my friends and family, without whom I would have never been able to continue). Remaining persistent was also becoming more difficult since many friends were now getting married, starting residency or careers while I still tried for med, which at this point sometimes felt like a pipe dream. The competition was also getting tougher and tougher and I knew my stats would not keep me competitive for much longer. Worst of all my mcat was expiring that year and so this would be the last time I could apply. I decided to apply again and start studying again for the mcat (which I scheduled for just days after results came out) in order to apply one more time if it didn't work out that year, something I never thought I'd have to do again. This year was not as promising since Uoft was the only interview I received (this was also challenging since their admission process and interview changed many times over the last 3 years making life more difficult for me every year) despite my strongest application to date but I kept telling myself that all you need is one.

 

As May 13th approached I was terrified as I tried to focus on full length mcats (which were frustrating me since I was doing well but my scores were going down not up!). But when the day finally came I somehow managed to find the courage to open the email and that moment was the greatest few seconds of my life to date. It literally felt as if the world had been lifted off my shoulders and I honestly saw flashes of all the hard work over the last few years. Ultimately, my point is that hard work does eventually pay off. This journey was so incredibly tough but it is true that the harder the journey the greater the appreciation. For those of you still trying I encourage you to stay positive and persistent. At the same time, it helps to be a realist as well and take an objective look at your stats and see if you are truly competitive. The competition these days in unbelievable and so you must realize that a lot of it comes down to luck in who looks at your application and what appeals to them. In the end, if its meant to happen it will. May the force be with you all...

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As cliche as it might sound I still can't believe that I am actually posting my story here...still so surreal.

 

My journey to med began quite a long time ago during undergrad. After initially not getting into hth sci at Mac I worked hard first year and despite my not so great gpa (despite what people might say, one grade can really hurt you) I managed to get in as a 2nd year transfer. I thought that this would really help me with achieving my goal of getting into medicine. I loved the program (and contrary to what most people think its not that easy, it still requires lots of hard work, its just different than typical programs) and ended up doing well gpa-wise as well. Unfortunately my first year gpa still hurt my chances and so it wasn't until after 4th year that my gpa was competitive enough.

 

My biggest challenge was the mcat. I first wrote it in the summer after 2nd year and despite taking the course and working hard I just couldn't conquer it. I've never been great with tests and this was a whole new best. Next summer I worked really hard and took it early in June and it was honestly the toughest thing I've ever written. This was very frustrating after again working hard but now being more familiar with it as well. But I managed to regroup and decided to write it for a 3rd time at the end of that summer along with 2 summer courses (one of which I had to drop before the exam since it conflicted with the mcat). Thankfully this time I hit that 10 in vr and although my score wasn't amazing I was confident it was competitive enough.

 

Having been involved with a number of volunteer and extracurricular activities (I tried to just follow my interests but avoided research since at the time I didn't really enjoy it) throughout my undergrad I was confident I had a reasonably competitive application going into 4th year. So I applied that year not with high hopes but feeling confident. But unfortunately no interviews that year. So I applied to grad school and was fortunate enough to be accepted to Uoft for my masters (research based). That summer I took 3 courses that were required for US applications, killing the last summer I had.

 

Grad school was very scary since I didn't have any research experience up until then (which is why I wanted to pursue grad school and get some experience) but also because that is where I learned that Uoft lives up to its reputation for being tough. My grad studies were honestly the most difficult thing I have ever done. The first year was absolute chaos learning very difficult techniques and trying to work through a brand new project in my lab that had countless issues (I knew it was bad when senior students would tell me that my luck was horrible and they saw me have issues they've never seen before). It culminated with a supervisory meeting where despite working incredibly hard (10+ hrs, min 6 days), my committee member asked me due to a lack of data if I was even in the lab working every day. At this point I honestly hated my life and wondered what I got myself into. I also couldn't apply to med school at this time (one year into my studies) since there was no way I could ask my supervisor for a reference letter (she did know that I wanted to go to med though).

 

Nevertheless I kept plugging away and thankfully things began to work out. I managed to complete my project, present my data at an international conference, get my name on 3 papers and best of all present an outstanding thesis defence that impressed everyone on my committee (I knew it would go well when the first member walked in and told my that my thesis was one of the best he had read in a long time). The only downside to that second year was that I applied to medical school but I was unable to apply early to the US since the applications we due at the same time that I was away for my conference and finishing up my thesis in order to defend. But this was also the first time that I applied across Canada and received interviews and subsequently waitlisted at 2 ON schools.

 

After graduating I continued to work in my lab as a research assistant and took on new volunteer opportunities as I looked for full time work (I also learned how difficult finding a job can be, even after a masters). This time was especially hard since a number of friends got into med after grad school while I still remained in limbo. But I persevered, enjoyed being out of school for the first time and applied across Canada again. Sadly I learned that I couldn't apply to the US since they require mcat scores that are no more than 2-3 years old (by this time it had been 4 years since I last wrote). But thankfully I again got interviews at Uoft and even UBC further convincing me that I was on the right track and needed to keep trying. Sadly I was rejected from Uoft post interview and at UBC, despite being waitlisted until the very end I was once again rejected. This truly hurt since I knew I was competitive, my application had improved every year and I worked very hard in preparing both my application and for interviews. Post interview that year I was quite depressed and it took a while to get over.

 

But once again I decided I couldn't give up since I was getting interviews and being waitlisted (the biggest motivators here were my friends and family, without whom I would have never been able to continue). Remaining persistent was also becoming more difficult since many friends were now getting married, starting residency or careers while I still tried for med, which at this point sometimes felt like a pipe dream. The competition was also getting tougher and tougher and I knew my stats would not keep me competitive for much longer. Worst of all my mcat was expiring that year and so this would be the last time I could apply. I decided to apply again and start studying again for the mcat (which I scheduled for just days after results came out) in order to apply one more time if it didn't work out that year, something I never thought I'd have to do again. This year was not as promising since Uoft was the only interview I received (this was also challenging since their admission process and interview changed many times over the last 3 years making life more difficult for me every year) despite my strongest application to date but I kept telling myself that all you need is one.

 

As May 13th approached I was terrified as I tried to focus on full length mcats (which were frustrating me since I was doing well but my scores were going down not up!). But when the day finally came I somehow managed to find the courage to open the email and that moment was the greatest few seconds of my life to date. It literally felt as if the world had been lifted off my shoulders and I honestly saw flashes of all the hard work over the last few years. Ultimately, my point is that hard work does eventually pay off. This journey was so incredibly tough but it is true that the harder the journey the greater the appreciation. For those of you still trying I encourage you to stay positive and persistent. At the same time, it helps to be a realist as well and take an objective look at your stats and see if you are truly competitive. The competition these days in unbelievable and so you must realize that a lot of it comes down to luck in who looks at your application and what appeals to them. In the end, if its meant to happen it will. May the force be with you all...

Dat amazing feeling of seeing an offer email sitting in your mailbox. Couldn't have said it better myself. Congrats and see you in O-Week :)

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Congrats! That's a great story. Thank you for sharing. It was getting a little depressing that there were no success stories posted in this so far this year. I am glad to hear that hard work does pay off. I am also a firm believer that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Enjoy every minute of it!

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Hey Guys,

 

I just thought I'd post my non-trad success story. I couple years back I decided I wanted to try and get into medical school - a dream I've always had but never tried for due to lack of confidence. I knew I didn't have the GPA to get in, nor was I considered in province anywhere at the time (I had just moved to Halifax). I was married and working to support my wife who was doing her undergrad degree. I decided to take a fulltime course load (5 courses) through Athabasca while continuing to work fulltime. It was a difficult year but I managed to get a 3.98/4.00 GPA for the year. This (along with my other years) brought me up to a 3.65 for Alberta schools. I didn't have all the prereqs, so that also limited the amounts of school I could apply to. Since I was taking classes, I was considered a student and still not considered in province in Nova Scotia. My wife decided to move to Alberta to apply to University of Calgary as it seemed like my best chances. We picked up and moved. During the summer I self-studied for my MCAT and got decent on it (not great - 11/10/9VR).

 

I submitted my application and was incredibly surprised to get an interview. As a non-trad, I believe we are given a leg-up in the MMI as our life experience and people skills can easily shine through. I did my first MMI and felt confident and loved the experience. On May 15th, the first day, I got an admission offer to the University of Calgary (my only school). I was ecstatic.

 

For all those looking ahead to more school / moving / being and older applicant keep up hope! It's worth it, and it does pay off. I'll be 31 during the majority of my first year of medical school, and that's fine by me :)

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Congratulations EngrGuy. Enjoy your studies in Calgary. Calgary seems to be a great fit for non-traditional students. Since we're older, the 3-year programme is attractive as it will get us back into the work force sooner. Secondly, the relatively healthy Alberta economy means that spouses of non-trads who have to relocate will hopefully find it a little easier to secure employment.

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Hey all,

 

I thought I should contribute to this thread as well, since I've been reading it without doing much posting for a few years now!

 

Anyway, medicine is a more recent thing for me. I graduated in 1995 with a B.Com, then again in 2004 with a B.Ed. I've been a teacher for 10 years now, but it has been ten years of frustration in terms of landing a permanent contract. Lots of bouncing around, and lots of empty promises.

 

In 2010, after the school year ended and I was faced with going back on the sub list, the idea of trying for medicine appeared on my radar after a great conversation with my younger brother (who had just finished med school).

 

After looking into it, my wife and I decided that I could try the prerequisite courses, write the MCAT, and see how things went. I ended up getting a 32, applied to both Alberta schools, and got rejected by both of them pre-interview.

 

I concluded that my so-so gpa (3.64) was dragging me down; thus, I needed an above-average MCAT to offset it. 32 wouldn't be good enough. So I wrote it again. And I got a 32. Again. And I was rejected that cycle. Again.

 

That was kind of demoralizing, so we sat down early last year to decide what to do. I believed I had it in me to do better than a 32 with a full summer of studying. So we gave it one last try. After ruining yet another summer with studying, I wrote the test, and it came back as a 36. Elation ensued.

 

This cycle I got my first interview, which was a great experience. I thought I did fairly well on it, but there never was a way to gauge it relative to the other applicants.

 

By the time May 15 rolled around, I was pretty convinced that I wouldn't get in. I booked a dentist appointment so I could take the day off. I was literally in the chair, the hygienist scraping away, when I felt the vibration of the email. Not wanting to be rude, I forced myself to wait until there was a pause in the action. 20 minutes later, she had finished scraping and was preparing the polish. I checked, and could scarcely believe the Congratulations email that I was reading. Pretty surreal.

 

I owe so much to so many people who supported and encouraged me on this difficult road. Sometimes I find myself wishing I had started this process earlier. But then I realize that the U of A didn't pick 30-year-old me. The picked 37-year old me, so that's who I need to be!

 

Looking forward to a new chapter starting this fall. I'm really glad this forum is here, so we can share experiences with each other--it's very encouraging to know that you're no the only person making their way down this very difficult path.

 

Good luck to all, and be persistent!

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Hey all,

 

I thought I should contribute to this thread as well, since I've been reading it without doing much posting for a few years now!

 

Anyway, medicine is a more recent thing for me. I graduated in 1995 with a B.Com, then again in 2004 with a B.Ed. I've been a teacher for 10 years now, but it has been ten years of frustration in terms of landing a permanent contract. Lots of bouncing around, and lots of empty promises.

 

In 2010, after the school year ended and I was faced with going back on the sub list, the idea of trying for medicine appeared on my radar after a great conversation with my younger brother (who had just finished med school).

 

After looking into it, my wife and I decided that I could try the prerequisite courses, write the MCAT, and see how things went. I ended up getting a 32, applied to both Alberta schools, and got rejected by both of them pre-interview.

 

I concluded that my so-so gpa (3.64) was dragging me down; thus, I needed an above-average MCAT to offset it. 32 wouldn't be good enough. So I wrote it again. And I got a 32. Again. And I was rejected that cycle. Again.

 

That was kind of demoralizing, so we sat down early last year to decide what to do. I believed I had it in me to do better than a 32 with a full summer of studying. So we gave it one last try. After ruining yet another summer with studying, I wrote the test, and it came back as a 36. Elation ensued.

 

This cycle I got my first interview, which was a great experience. I thought I did fairly well on it, but there never was a way to gauge it relative to the other applicants.

 

By the time May 15 rolled around, I was pretty convinced that I wouldn't get in. I booked a dentist appointment so I could take the day off. I was literally in the chair, the hygienist scraping away, when I felt the vibration of the email. Not wanting to be rude, I forced myself to wait until there was a pause in the action. 20 minutes later, she had finished scraping and was preparing the polish. I checked, and could scarcely believe the Congratulations email that I was reading. Pretty surreal.

 

I owe so much to so many people who supported and encouraged me on this difficult road. Sometimes I find myself wishing I had started this process earlier. But then I realize that the U of A didn't pick 30-year-old me. The picked 37-year old me, so that's who I need to be!

 

Looking forward to a new chapter starting this fall. I'm really glad this forum is here, so we can share experiences with each other--it's very encouraging to know that you're no the only person making their way down this very difficult path.

 

Good luck to all, and be persistent!

 

Congratulations teachertodoctor! I sometimes get hung up on being 31 and applying each year, so your story is particularly inspiring for me. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy the rewards of your hard work.

 

RR

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Your students will be called patients!! I'm sure you will find lots of ways of using your skills! Medicine will gain a lot from your experience. I was a former teacher too and it was the best career move I could ever imagine....I waited 5 yrs for my chance and feel so grateful to Mac for giving me a chance. Way to go and don't forget where you came from......and make time for fun.

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Your students will be called patients!! I'm sure you will find lots of ways of using your skills! Medicine will gain a lot from your experience. I was a former teacher too and it was the best career move I could ever imagine....I waited 5 yrs for my chance and feel so grateful to Mac for giving me a chance. Way to go and don't forget where you came from......and make time for fun.

 

hehehe doctor from the latin word of the same spelling meaning teacher (which is why you get to call yourself a doctor after you get your phd - you are finally allowed to actually teach at the highest level. I love the root mean of words, particularly latin :) )

 

Getting into medical school technically was a lateral move.

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Hello all. Long time lurker (for years, naturally), first time I've been able to post to a thread called 'success stories'. It's not something I'd usually do, but it seems like this is the place to offer up personal truth and (hopefully) offer some support and inspiration to those in need of it. And this is a story I don't really tell anyone, so it's good to be able to share it.

 

Just a head's up: this is going to be a little long.

 

I, like many of you, did pretty poorly in my first undergraduate degree. My average was a 2.8, I think, in a Bachelor of Arts. I had no desire at the time to be in medicine; upon graduating at 21 I took a job in the financial industry, started dating and eventually married a girl from the US, and generally lived my life.

 

Here are some things to know about my life at that point: my American wife was unable to work due to Canada's policy around immigrants and employment statuses, so I was paying all the bills. She was also very sick, which wasn't an issue initially but really started to snowball later in our relationship. Her illness, her doctor's visits, and her prescriptions were all paid for by me. Since I was the only one working. I started to go into debt.

 

Stupid, right? I was young, in love, and pretty naive. It helped that she was a fairly excellent liar, and was very good at having men believe what she wanted them to. Which included me. I digress. Anyway, I left the bank I was working for in late 2008, when I was 26, due to stress. By this point I had accrued tens of thousands of dollars in debt, was completely running our household affairs, and was the only one of the two of us that was working full time and at a job he (I) hated. Imagine why I was stressed, right? To make things worse, we were fighting more and more regularly.

 

In order to make ends meet, I took a low-paying job at a call centre and started working upwards of 55 hours a week. During this time, I began exploring what a return to school would look like. I knew I had botched my first degree pretty badly, and knew I didn't want a subsistence job any more. You know? I felt as though I was floating, stalled, just getting through each day rather than working at something I was really passionate about. So I started planning a return to university.

 

I enacted my plan in the summer of 2009, returning to university for my second undergraduate degree while I continued my bonkers work schedule. I should mention as well that when I voiced this plan to my wife, she was in complete support. During this time as well, she struck up a friendship with a guy who she had met online through a social website she used. She found odd jobs that paid cash and contributed a little to our household finances.

 

It wasn't a bad place to be. I loved what I was taking in school, an introduction to Psychology. I've always been interested in Psychology, particularly the nitty-gritty of where consciousness and biology intersect. The more I learned about it, the more I learned that what really interested me was the biology. That led to my changing my degree to sciences, and for the first time in nearly a decade since high school really devoted myself to learning the introductory science disciplines.

 

Mind you, this is still the summer of 2009. I'm taking a full course load of online classes offered through my university while I'm working at a call centre from approximately 11am to midnight each day. My wife is sick, prone to headaches and blackouts. She's struck up a friendship with a local guy, and though I disapprove of the amount of time she spends with him I'm not in much of a position to judge, given that I'm never around. She assures me it's non-sexual, that he's gay and they've really bonded. I'm reassured.

 

In September of 2009, I accept that I cannot continue to service my debts, pay rent, care for my wife, work full time, and be a full-time student. I move my wife and myself back to my family's home. There is considerable tension: they are happy to help us, but my wife is moody and unpredictable despite agreeing to the plan when it was discussed in previous months. Her application to be a permanent resident is finally accepted, and things start to look up. Don't get me wrong, we were broke. BROKE. Like, 10 bucks was a carefully calculated expense. But we made it work.

 

I'm wildly successful in my new classes and absolutely loving them despite the heavy workload. For the first time, I consider what life might look like if I were to pursue psychiatry, or some other discipline of medicine. My wife is thrilled at the idea. My parents are more restrained in their enthusiasm, but still quite pleased with the idea if it will make me happy. Months pass.

 

February of 2010 comes around. My wife is behaving strangely, and when we have time to be together it usually devolves into fighting. A normal day for us is her coming to school with me during the day, being dropped off at a job or her friend's house in the morning, and being picked up again after classes are done and she's done work. During this time I'm doing some of the things that undergrads have to do; I'm working part-time jobs, volunteering, maintaining my GPA. Looking into what the MCAT might require, which was pretty intimidating.

 

Valentine's Day is approaching. I splurged and bought tickets to the theatre (it was a pretty big splurge for us, almost a hundred bucks: the Cultural Olympiad was happening at the time of the Vancouver Olympics, so a really big circus act was coming to town). On Valentine's Day, she stayed home. I called her that day to remind her to dress up, because we were going to the theatre after classes were done. She said she would remember, and that she loved me.

 

When I got home that day to pick her up, all of her things were gone. My parent's house was damaged, as though people had been careless while moving heavy objects. There was a letter on my desk which told me that she was sorry, but she couldn't be supportive in the stressful environment of my parents' house, and that it was deeply difficult for her to be in the situation she was in. It said she was staying with some friends, and that she loved me. She wrote that she didn't know what was going to happen to the two of us, but that she wanted to keep trying to be together.

 

(As an aside: my parents are lovely people, not quick to anger, not particularly demanding, and extremely accommodating).

 

I was oscillating between heartbreak and furious anger, given all the stress I was carrying on my shoulders, and I wrote her an email saying that she needed to call me to tell me where she was and what was going on or I would be revoking my sponsorship of her as a permanent resident (new residents need a sponsor who agrees to financially support the new resident for 3 years after they become a resident).

 

At 1 am, 15 February 2010, the police arrived at my family's home. My wife, with the assistance of her new boyfriend (her 'gay' best friend, with whom she'd been sleeping for months as I came to learn), had gone to the police and alleged that I'd raped her in my family home. Her new boyfriend supported her statement. I was now being investigated for rape and spousal abuse.

 

If I was mad before, I was now terrified. It was a false allegation, but if her allegation was brought to trial and received legitimacy through the court system then my future medical career would be over before it had begun. Understand, this is WHILE I was a full-time student in the winter semester of 2010, attending classes during the day and then dealing with this during the evenings and weekends. Following my family's advice, I sought legal counsel.

 

I won't get into a lot of details here except to say that, as the police investigated further, many of the details of her story began contradicting each other. Finally, the investigation was closed during May of 2010 and a charge of public mischief was leveled at my wife for swearing out a false statement to police.

 

I was still in deep financial difficulty, I was succeeding academically, but I was in that place where so many others have described better than I. The 'Oh, you're doing what?' place. That place where people give you a funny look when you tell them that you're an undergrad at 27. Which is how old I was when this happened. My friends were in their careers, in relationships, having children, buying houses... in other words, doing what it seemed like people did to progress their lives. I was still living in the house I'd grown up in with mum and dad and my young brother at 27, desperately heartsick and sad.

 

I shut down personally for a while, focusing on school and athletics. How can you trust other people, get into a relationship with a person, after you've been betrayed by someone you trusted so much? And I did trust her. After all, we were married. Had been together for 5 years, and married for 3 of them.

 

I worked out a LOT during those times. I went through with a divorce against her. Last time I heard, she was living off of another mid-20s guy, now in her early 30s, somewhere in northern Ontario and that the government is after her for overstaying her visa. I found that out because they called me to ask if I knew where she was.

 

Academically, I acquitted myself quite well. I'm not going to bore you with the numbers, but I had a nearly flawless gpa my 2nd year back, 2010-2011. I wrote the MCAT for the first time in late 2010, getting a 29T. Sciences were really shaky for me, but verbal was always my strong suit. My first scores were 11V/9P/9B. I wrote it again the next year, but due to the circumstances of the test I scored the same, a 29. I thought that was a pretty poor score and a great reason to wait, so I didn't apply after my first write of the test. I'd only had one year of undergraduate science after all, and high school science was 10 years ago.

 

My first application to a med school happened during 2011, to Dal Med, after my second MCAT write. They were willing to overlook my horrifying first undergrad degree grades and consider my application holistically. I was wait listed for entry in 2012, but didn't get the nod.

 

I wrote the MCAT once more. I busted my ass for that test. I pulled out every stop, practiced like a demon everywhere I went. I downloaded audio tapes to listen to at one of my jobs, a night janitor at a local bar. Finally, I wrote the test and when the scores came back, I got a 35. 13V/11P/11B. I was thrilled. That year, I applied to Dal for entry in 2013. I only applied to Dal, since it was where I wanted to go and the last time I applied I was wait listed with a 29. Now I had a 35 as well as a full year of new experiences and volunteering and grades to support what a good candidate I was.

 

It wasn't to be. My application was rejected pre-interview. During the academic year, I'd taken 2 lab courses. These 2 lab courses counted as 2 credits rather than 3. As a result, for that year I'd had only 28 rather than 30 credit hours. They disallowed my application.

 

I'm not going to lie, I drank to forget it then. I was getting pretty discouraged. I was working multiple part time jobs, lying to Student Loans about my financial situation in the hopes that they would give me enough to get by on, and barely making ends meet. I was successful academically, but still felt as though I was going nowhere. Moreover, I was going to graduate soon with an Bachelor of Science Honours in Psychology but had no realistic chance of going to a med school after graduation in 2013. What would I do?

 

I stayed in school, taking a graduate degree in Business (which I've always considered an interesting support degree to other interests and passions) and applied again. You're goddamned right I applied again. I applied in 2013 for entry in 2014 to Dal and Mun, the only schools where I had a legitimate chance given my first degree gpas. I wanted to be a doctor.

 

There was a part of my essay at the very end, where I wrote about my experiences working and volunteering in a hospital. I wrote that 'being part of medicine, being close to patients and being part of their care, makes me feel as though I'm standing on the edge of something great.' I wrote that I was asking them, humbly, to give me the opportunity to succeed with them. To discover what that something great was. And I meant it. And still do.

 

The best part about writing on this forum is that the people here who read this, who read that line, will know what I mean. You, reading this now, know what that 'something great' is.

 

Of course I'm writing this here because I got in. Dal accepted me for the graduating class of 2018. I got the email when i was, ignominiously, sitting on the toilet during a break at one of my 4 jobs (research assistant, teaching assistant I, teaching assistant II, and tutor respectively). I will never forget how badly I trembled as I opened it, or the rush of adrenaline when the first word I read was 'CONGRATULATIONS' in all caps. I'm tearing up now thinking about it. That was when my life's pursuit was validated.

 

I was as low as I could be when I started my journey. Along the way I was betrayed by the person who I held dearest to me in this world, I was constantly stressed by finances and academics and time demands. I never got enough sleep. I barely saw my friends. I had no guarantee that I would make it, that I wouldn't another one of those discouraged types who say glumly every so often 'yeah, I wanted to be a doctor once' to their acquaintances in pubs.

 

I am now 31 years old. Though I will likely never meet you, I want to tell you that it is never too late to start. It is never too late to believe in yourself. It is never too late to dare to do something great.

 

Dare to do something great. Dare to dream. Dare to be wise. Dare to reach.

 

Thank you very much for giving me a place to tell my story.

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Hello all. Long time lurker (for years, naturally), first time I've been able to post to a thread called 'success stories'. It's not something I'd usually do, but it seems like this is the place to offer up personal truth and (hopefully) offer some support and inspiration to those in need of it. And this is a story I don't really tell anyone, so it's good to be able to share it.

 

Just a head's up: this is going to be a little long.

 

I, like many of you, did pretty poorly in my first undergraduate degree. My average was a 2.8, I think, in a Bachelor of Arts. I had no desire at the time to be in medicine; upon graduating at 21 I took a job in the financial industry, started dating and eventually married a girl from the US, and generally lived my life.

 

Here are some things to know about my life at that point: my American wife was unable to work due to Canada's policy around immigrants and employment statuses, so I was paying all the bills. She was also very sick, which wasn't an issue initially but really started to snowball later in our relationship. Her illness, her doctor's visits, and her prescriptions were all paid for by me. Since I was the only one working. I started to go into debt.

 

Stupid, right? I was young, in love, and pretty naive. It helped that she was a fairly excellent liar, and was very good at having men believe what she wanted them to. Which included me. I digress. Anyway, I left the bank I was working for in late 2008, when I was 26, due to stress. By this point I had accrued tens of thousands of dollars in debt, was completely running our household affairs, and was the only one of the two of us that was working full time and at a job he (I) hated. Imagine why I was stressed, right? To make things worse, we were fighting more and more regularly.

 

In order to make ends meet, I took a low-paying job at a call centre and started working upwards of 55 hours a week. During this time, I began exploring what a return to school would look like. I knew I had botched my first degree pretty badly, and knew I didn't want a subsistence job any more. You know? I felt as though I was floating, stalled, just getting through each day rather than working at something I was really passionate about. So I started planning a return to university.

 

I enacted my plan in the summer of 2009, returning to university for my second undergraduate degree while I continued my bonkers work schedule. I should mention as well that when I voiced this plan to my wife, she was in complete support. During this time as well, she struck up a friendship with a guy who she had met online through a social website she used. She found odd jobs that paid cash and contributed a little to our household finances.

 

It wasn't a bad place to be. I loved what I was taking in school, an introduction to Psychology. I've always been interested in Psychology, particularly the nitty-gritty of where consciousness and biology intersect. The more I learned about it, the more I learned that what really interested me was the biology. That led to my changing my degree to sciences, and for the first time in nearly a decade since high school really devoted myself to learning the introductory science disciplines.

 

Mind you, this is still the summer of 2009. I'm taking a full course load of online classes offered through my university while I'm working at a call centre from approximately 11am to midnight each day. My wife is sick, prone to headaches and blackouts. She's struck up a friendship with a local guy, and though I disapprove of the amount of time she spends with him I'm not in much of a position to judge, given that I'm never around. She assures me it's non-sexual, that he's gay and they've really bonded. I'm reassured.

 

In September of 2009, I accept that I cannot continue to service my debts, pay rent, care for my wife, work full time, and be a full-time student. I move my wife and myself back to my family's home. There is considerable tension: they are happy to help us, but my wife is moody and unpredictable despite agreeing to the plan when it was discussed in previous months. Her application to be a permanent resident is finally accepted, and things start to look up. Don't get me wrong, we were broke. BROKE. Like, 10 bucks was a carefully calculated expense. But we made it work.

 

I'm wildly successful in my new classes and absolutely loving them despite the heavy workload. For the first time, I consider what life might look like if I were to pursue psychiatry, or some other discipline of medicine. My wife is thrilled at the idea. My parents are more restrained in their enthusiasm, but still quite pleased with the idea if it will make me happy. Months pass.

 

February of 2010 comes around. My wife is behaving strangely, and when we have time to be together it usually devolves into fighting. A normal day for us is her coming to school with me during the day, being dropped off at a job or her friend's house in the morning, and being picked up again after classes are done and she's done work. During this time I'm doing some of the things that undergrads have to do; I'm working part-time jobs, volunteering, maintaining my GPA. Looking into what the MCAT might require, which was pretty intimidating.

 

Valentine's Day is approaching. I splurged and bought tickets to the theatre (it was a pretty big splurge for us, almost a hundred bucks: the Cultural Olympiad was happening at the time of the Vancouver Olympics, so a really big circus act was coming to town). On Valentine's Day, she stayed home. I called her that day to remind her to dress up, because we were going to the theatre after classes were done. She said she would remember, and that she loved me.

 

When I got home that day to pick her up, all of her things were gone. My parent's house was damaged, as though people had been careless while moving heavy objects. There was a letter on my desk which told me that she was sorry, but she couldn't be supportive in the stressful environment of my parents' house, and that it was deeply difficult for her to be in the situation she was in. It said she was staying with some friends, and that she loved me. She wrote that she didn't know what was going to happen to the two of us, but that she wanted to keep trying to be together.

 

(As an aside: my parents are lovely people, not quick to anger, not particularly demanding, and extremely accommodating).

 

I was oscillating between heartbreak and furious anger, given all the stress I was carrying on my shoulders, and I wrote her an email saying that she needed to call me to tell me where she was and what was going on or I would be revoking my sponsorship of her as a permanent resident (new residents need a sponsor who agrees to financially support the new resident for 3 years after they become a resident).

 

At 1 am, 15 February 2010, the police arrived at my family's home. My wife, with the assistance of her new boyfriend (her 'gay' best friend, with whom she'd been sleeping for months as I came to learn), had gone to the police and alleged that I'd raped her in my family home. Her new boyfriend supported her statement. I was now being investigated for rape and spousal abuse.

 

If I was mad before, I was now terrified. It was a false allegation, but if her allegation was brought to trial and received legitimacy through the court system then my future medical career would be over before it had begun. Understand, this is WHILE I was a full-time student in the winter semester of 2010, attending classes during the day and then dealing with this during the evenings and weekends. Following my family's advice, I sought legal counsel.

 

I won't get into a lot of details here except to say that, as the police investigated further, many of the details of her story began contradicting each other. Finally, the investigation was closed during May of 2010 and a charge of public mischief was leveled at my wife for swearing out a false statement to police.

 

I was still in deep financial difficulty, I was succeeding academically, but I was in that place where so many others have described better than I. The 'Oh, you're doing what?' place. That place where people give you a funny look when you tell them that you're an undergrad at 27. Which is how old I was when this happened. My friends were in their careers, in relationships, having children, buying houses... in other words, doing what it seemed like people did to progress their lives. I was still living in the house I'd grown up in with mum and dad and my young brother at 27, desperately heartsick and sad.

 

I shut down personally for a while, focusing on school and athletics. How can you trust other people, get into a relationship with a person, after you've been betrayed by someone you trusted so much? And I did trust her. After all, we were married. Had been together for 5 years, and married for 3 of them.

 

I worked out a LOT during those times. I went through with a divorce against her. Last time I heard, she was living off of another mid-20s guy, now in her early 30s, somewhere in northern Ontario and that the government is after her for overstaying her visa. I found that out because they called me to ask if I knew where she was.

 

Academically, I acquitted myself quite well. I'm not going to bore you with the numbers, but I had a nearly flawless gpa my 2nd year back, 2010-2011. I wrote the MCAT for the first time in late 2010, getting a 29T. Sciences were really shaky for me, but verbal was always my strong suit. My first scores were 11V/9P/9B. I wrote it again the next year, but due to the circumstances of the test I scored the same, a 29. I thought that was a pretty poor score and a great reason to wait, so I didn't apply after my first write of the test. I'd only had one year of undergraduate science after all, and high school science was 10 years ago.

 

My first application to a med school happened during 2011, to Dal Med, after my second MCAT write. They were willing to overlook my horrifying first undergrad degree grades and consider my application holistically. I was wait listed for entry in 2012, but didn't get the nod.

 

I wrote the MCAT once more. I busted my ass for that test. I pulled out every stop, practiced like a demon everywhere I went. I downloaded audio tapes to listen to at one of my jobs, a night janitor at a local bar. Finally, I wrote the test and when the scores came back, I got a 35. 13V/11P/11B. I was thrilled. That year, I applied to Dal for entry in 2013. I only applied to Dal, since it was where I wanted to go and the last time I applied I was wait listed with a 29. Now I had a 35 as well as a full year of new experiences and volunteering and grades to support what a good candidate I was.

 

It wasn't to be. My application was rejected pre-interview. During the academic year, I'd taken 2 lab courses. These 2 lab courses counted as 2 credits rather than 3. As a result, for that year I'd had only 28 rather than 30 credit hours. They disallowed my application.

 

I'm not going to lie, I drank to forget it then. I was getting pretty discouraged. I was working multiple part time jobs, lying to Student Loans about my financial situation in the hopes that they would give me enough to get by on, and barely making ends meet. I was successful academically, but still felt as though I was going nowhere. Moreover, I was going to graduate soon with an Bachelor of Science Honours in Psychology but had no realistic chance of going to a med school after graduation in 2013. What would I do?

 

I stayed in school, taking a graduate degree in Business (which I've always considered an interesting support degree to other interests and passions) and applied again. You're goddamned right I applied again. I applied in 2013 for entry in 2014 to Dal and Mun, the only schools where I had a legitimate chance given my first degree gpas. I wanted to be a doctor.

 

There was a part of my essay at the very end, where I wrote about my experiences working and volunteering in a hospital. I wrote that 'being part of medicine, being close to patients and being part of their care, makes me feel as though I'm standing on the edge of something great.' I wrote that I was asking them, humbly, to give me the opportunity to succeed with them. To discover what that something great was. And I meant it. And still do.

 

The best part about writing on this forum is that the people here who read this, who read that line, will know what I mean. You, reading this now, know what that 'something great' is.

 

Of course I'm writing this here because I got in. Dal accepted me for the graduating class of 2018. I got the email when i was, ignominiously, sitting on the toilet during a break at one of my 4 jobs (research assistant, teaching assistant I, teaching assistant II, and tutor respectively). I will never forget how badly I trembled as I opened it, or the rush of adrenaline when the first word I read was 'CONGRATULATIONS' in all caps. I'm tearing up now thinking about it. That was when my life's pursuit was validated.

 

I was as low as I could be when I started my journey. Along the way I was betrayed by the person who I held dearest to me in this world, I was constantly stressed by finances and academics and time demands. I never got enough sleep. I barely saw my friends. I had no guarantee that I would make it, that I wouldn't another one of those discouraged types who say glumly every so often 'yeah, I wanted to be a doctor once' to their acquaintances in pubs.

 

I am now 31 years old. Though I will likely never meet you, I want to tell you that it is never too late to start. It is never too late to believe in yourself. It is never too late to dare to do something great.

 

Dare to do something great. Dare to dream. Dare to be wise. Dare to reach.

 

Thank you very much for giving me a place to tell my story.

 

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!

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Dividebyzero, that was definitely the most compelling thing I've read on this forum. I'm in awe at your resilience and determination to never give up no matter what life threw your way :). Congrats, you REALLY deserve it!!

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