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I was debating for a long time now regarding whether or not to post here...sadly my dream of becoming a physician has not, and will not ever be realized. However I would still like to share my story,

This thread inspired me and gave me hope to pursue my medical school dream. Thank you to all that have posted on here before. You have all truly touched my heart. It is because of your stories, that

It’s going to be a long one. I wrote all of this before I got in, because there is something wonderfully raw and vulnerable about documenting my reflections while I’m still on the outside looking in.

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This is all very inspiring!! Congrats to everyone who had been accepted so far!! The rest of us just need to keep persevering and sooner or later we will be posting our success stories too!

 

Any other nurses out there applying this year? It will be my second time writing the MCAT and applying!!

 

Good luck to everyone else applying this year!

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I'll add my story, in abbreviated fashion. For more of the details you can see my original thread on these forums here: http://premed101.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38486

 

I had always dreamed of becoming a doctor from the time I was very young. I pursued this dream all the way until I completed my first year of university and had to meet with my academic adviser to declare my major. She informed me that she saw hundreds of students just like me and that admission to medical school wouldn't be possible with my grades (As and Bs). I was a naive kid and took her at her word. From there my inspiration and drive dipped, had a rough time in some summer courses, and my GPA declined.

 

I finished my B.Sc. with a 3.33 GPA, and thought I had found a new calling in research after doing a summer of being a research assistant for one of my profs. I was accepted to graduate school to pursue an M.Sc. and enjoyed it early on but quickly came to realize that I couldn't see myself being in the field, in the lab, and in the office without ever really interacting with people for the rest of my life. After a year of my M.Sc. I knew I needed a change, and started looking at medicine again. I found these forums, researched every school and every requirement and determined I was going to go for it with everything I had.

 

I prepared for the MCAT for an entire summer, all material that I hadn't looked at for several years, and was able to score a 32R (11/11/R/10 PS/VR/WS/BS), which met my goals as I knew Queen's would be one of my better shots (Grad degree lowered the GPA requirement as long as I could hit the MCAT cutoffs). I immersed myself in volunteering at a crisis centre, got back into coaching soccer, and doing most things that I had volunteered at previously. I completed my M.Sc. and began a second undergrad.

 

My first round of applications yielded absolutely nothing. I was rejected outright pre-interview by all schools. I got this news at the end of my first semester back of a second undergrad. This was quite deflating and I wondered what I was doing for a few days. The second undergrad was part of my plan to gain the pre-reqs I didn't have for certain schools and show that I had what it takes through a higher GPA this go around. I kept going with volunteering, immersed myself even more in the organizations I was with and prepared for another round of applications. I also had my first child :). When being a non-trad its best to go as non-trad as you can, haha!

 

Turned out having a child only inspired me even more. This time around I reached out to anyone who would help me. A family friend who was also a non-traditional med applicant once upon a time helped me out with my application. I sent copies of my ABS to my referees this time, so they knew exactly what and how much I was doing (they were impressed). The rejection emails started coming in again and I was losing hope until one Friday morning when I checked my blackberry in bed and saw an interview invite from Queen's. As a non-trad, that's when you know you're capable of realizing your dream. That just affirmed everything, a school was interested in me.

 

I prepared as much as I could for the interview during a very busy school schedule and having a young child. I made the long, and expensive (for someone with a small family) journey to the interview. Fell in love with the campus, the people, and the city of Kingston. I had no idea how to feel about the interview, I just did what I felt was natural and would be important in whatever the given situation was. However, I rarely filled up the time, and the first station I only used up probably 2 minutes before having to repeat myself. The panel I felt went quite well but when thinking about the first station that I thought I bombed, and given 6 weeks to think it over... I went from feeling pretty good to being sure I bombed the whole thing. Its an emotional roller coaster for sure.

 

May 14th, I started looking at SOLUS (Queen's student online portal), as results were released at midnight the year before. Not this time around, sooo I didn't sleep. At 6am pacific, I got up, kissed my little family, and went to look. Heart beating out of my chest, SOLUS said "View status Accept/Decline". I clicked the link and it said that I had been offered admission to the program. I accepted immediately (this was my one and only interview) and took my laptop back to the bedroom. I don't know how to describe the laugh/cry hybrid that I had going on as I showed the results to my wife, but it was an amazing moment.

 

Non-trads who have been successful have said it before and I'll say it again- the whole process is truly humbling. I am so grateful to be offered this opportunity and the difficult journey here has only made it that much sweeter. I drew inspiration from stories like this when I was in the depths of some serious doubts along the way, and I hope my story can do the same for someone.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought it about time for me to lay down my story. There are of course bits and pieces of my story strewn across the board as I have been a relatively active member the last year or two.

 

My road to an acceptance letter from NOSM was not a direct route and by no means accidental. Lets begin …

 

I had never considered medicine seriously in high school. I was an average high school student getting mid-70s, really struggled with math and chemistry, eventually finishing high school physics with a 50% average. So perhaps even below average really. My friends weren’t overly motivated individuals but did about the same. Several of them did an extra year of high school just to figure things out. So I went to the local college and did some university equivalency science courses. Again mediocrity followed me as I hit mostly 70s. Having been in martial arts since the age of 8 and been weight lifting/amateur body building since 16 I decided to go into a Bsc in Kinesiology. So I applied with my mediocre mid-70s from high school and 1 year of mid-70s in college. I was waitlist for the program and while working at a door factory during the summer in general misery wondering what to do with my life I found out I was accepted off of the waiting list! Most of my friends went to another nearby university so if afforded time to hang out, meet new friends. I continued to train heavily in karate, weight trained, stay up late and miss a lot of morning classes. Unsurprisingly, after first year I got put on academic probation, GPA 1.8 …. Yikes. I felt pretty ashamed, knowing that I could do more … had the capability to and discipline to if applied correctly. By the age of 16 I had competed at the Worlds in karate and competed at the national level as a teen and as an adult, training 6, sometimes 7 days a week so I knew if I could just learn to apply that level of dedication to academics I could succeed.

 

So I developed significant knee pain during first year in Kines and had to go to a specialist. He examined my knee, did some tests, dictated and was quite impressive as to how confidently he dealt with the whole situation. I didn’t exactly know what he did. I was impressed and thought I wanted to do what he did. Being quite uninformed I looked him up and found out that he was an orthopedic surgeon … oh no that meant medical school. He sent me to a physiotherapist and I became enamoured with that profession briefly. The next year in my Kines degree I hunkered down and was able to raise my GPA to a 3.3, later a 3.7 and ended with a 3.6 for my best two years which was pretty good given my high school years and lacklustre start to post-secondary education. What I didn’t have academically I made up for in Ecs, volunteering ++, working in the hospital part-time, making connections and really making an impression with my go-getter attitude. I eventually applied to Dalhousie Med and was placed on the waiting list …. The story of my life! It didn’t move enough and didn’t end up getting in. I felt so close yet defeated.

 

I took a year off, travelled and sadly didn’t improve my application. I applied again the following year thinking, like others so close, that the next year I would be a shoe in …. flat out rejection. I was shocked, had no idea what to do with my life now that I had a relatively useless degree, no future plans. I decided to pursue a second degree, a plan B, if you will in case medicine never happened … so I pursued dietetics with the intention of getting into medicine before ever practicing as a dietitian. I had a post-rejection meeting with Dal med and they told me I was a decent applicant but I could use to have some more community involvement since all my Ecs were hospital based … so I did that, volunteered in the community, while I continued to add further health care experience. So after a year of good grades and taking their advice as well as seeking the assistance of a career counsellor to prep for my 3rd med school application I was rejected a 3rd time. I was quite devastated and decided to give up on Dal Med and concentrate on being a dietitian.

 

Met my girlfriend in my second undergrad degree (dietetics) in Nova Scotia, finished our dietetic internships out east as well and was preparing to get jobs together in the same place. I had heard of a new medical school in the North opening soon and campaigned for us to move up to Northern Ontario. She was agreeable because her parents were only 5.5 hrs from there so we moved to Northern Ontario. I started practicing as an RD and began doing a MPH after a year in to improve my odds of med school (NOSM 0.2 grad bonus). I figured I would work 2 years in the North and then apply and be a shoe in for NOSM. I was mistaken. I applied in 2007 with a UG GPA of 3.69, only 2 years health care practice, MPH half done, and no real substantial context score in the North. I was rejected pre-interview. I spoke with a NOSM rep who reviewed my application. He stated it was strong except for my context score. I asked him when we my context score be considered stronger and he stated after 5 years. So I said ok we’ll see you in 5 years. During that 5 years I continued to work in the Aboriginal communities, got married, got divorced, lost everything-house/dogs/furniture, finished my MPH (+0.2), did research in Aboriginal communities, became a NOSM faculty member (lecturer), met my current girlfriend, bought a house, furnished it etc, etc. So in Oct 2011 after pursuing this dream for 11 years and this being my 5th application I applied with high hopes though expected nothing. May 15th came and I was possibly the happiest person in the universe when I was given a telephone call by NOSM admissions (because they mis-sent my email acceptance letter to an unutilised email address) that they wished to offer me a spot in the incoming class!!! Finally I wasn’t waitlisted … someone wanted me right in there.

 

So I ran into a LOT of red lights along the way but eventually found a way to get noticed and get in. By all accounts above I was a normal person, not gifted academically or genius but kept trying new and different things to gain admission. Others can do it to …. Most don’t because they give up … that is what separates some of us from getting into medicine to never getting in.

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I am sure over the coming years, I'll be revisiting this thread regularly. Thank you to everyone who has shared their story.

 

Dr Henderson, Real Beef, you guys in particular are awesome and I'm sure you will both be assets to your schools.

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"I was a normal person, not gifted academically or genius but kept trying new and different things to gain admission."

 

This really stood out to me. I don't think im academically gifted or a genius either. I usually struggle with math and hard science. But this has given me a lot of hope. Congratulations and good luck in medical school, Real Beef and the other non-trads who got in! You give hope to the rest of us silently pushing forth and often wondering if we're crazy to be trying this at all....

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"I was a normal person, not gifted academically or genius but kept trying new and different things to gain admission."

 

This really stood out to me. I don't think im academically gifted or a genius either......

 

This probably is true for most of us. Being relentless in pursuit of the goal is the only way to go. Persistence definitely pays in the end.

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  • 5 weeks later...

i think this philosophy to life rings true in most things, with most people. nice job :)

 

By all accounts above I was a normal person, not gifted academically or genius but kept trying new and different things to gain admission. Others can do it to …. Most don’t because they give up … that is what separates some of us from getting into medicine to never getting in.
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  • 2 weeks later...

In my humble opinion, "trying new and different things" is simply premed code word for building your character, cultivating life experiences so you can draw on them later, and maturing as a human being who cares about society.

 

I used to do things that I thought would get me into this magical place called medical school. Didn't get me anywhere. Went into a genetics phd but felt like I'm always too far removed from the patient. I decided I really wanted to be a doctor so I started to do things that would make me a good physician.

 

This year I found out I became UT 2016.

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  • 2 months later...

These are great stories, and really make me believe that one day I can become a doctor in Canada as well.

 

I think the key with all these stories are that people continued to:

 

A) Move forward

 

B) Never Gave up

 

C) Did more research on how to accomplish their goal

 

D) Worked as hard as they could

 

Now they will all truly value the position they are in and will become great physicians. I'm absolutely awe-struck!

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  • 1 month later...
I have waited for the past two years to be able to write this post under this thread and I'm so happy to be able to share my story with all you fellow dreamers out there!

 

I've wanted to be a doctor since the age of three when I first got my Fisher Price doctor's kit. From that point on, any other career would never measure up. While in high school I did co-op placements in the radiology department and with the nursing staff to learn about the healthcare system and decide whether it was the right place for me.

 

I applied to nursing school as a stepping stone to med school; knowing very well the hardships many had experienced trying to get into medical school and the small chance I'd have to be able to get in. I thought nursing sounded like the most optimal career for me if I couldn't be a doctor.

 

I discovered when I got to nursing school that I wasn't as great of a student as I thought that I was in high school. I struggled throughout my education with school work, but my intelligence and motivation to be a physician always was enough to get me through with good grades...until university. My first two years of university, my grades were no longer what they used to be and I was what I had never been before: an average student. It took me two years to figure out where I was struggling and be able to admit I couldn't improve on my own. I sought assistance through any outlet I could find, and was able to pull my grades up for the last two years of my degree, but as many of us know, the damage was done. I applied to medical school gripping at the statistics I had read about of the 1 or 2 candidates that managed to be accepted to med schools with a GPA of 3.2 and hoped just maybe, I could be one of those people. I managed to be reserve waitlisted at NOSM, but knew that I couldn't have a chance of succeeding without doing something differently.

 

I met with the admissions department at NOSM the same day I wrote my nursing certification exam, where I was told after showing my transcript and discussing my situation, that I was likely unsuccessful because of my grades. NOSM's policy on second degrees is that they will take the GPA of the best degree. They told me of a new program they were just about to begin for a Physician Assistant degree partnered with the University of Toronto and the Michener Institute. It would allow me to gain an undergraduate degree to replace my nursing science degree's grades. After some thought, I realized the profession of Physician Assistant would allow me to do almost everything that I wished I had been doing as a physician while working as a nurse and thought to myself, why not give it one last, determined try. I applied to the program and was accepted.

 

In the first month of my PA degree my troubles with learning resurfaced because the program was much more fast-paced and intense than my nursing degree. I was referred to Accessibility Services at the University of Toronto and the next thing I knew, my life was forever changed. I was diagnosed with a learning disability and ADHD and began the process of learning about how I learn and received the accommodations I always needed to be capable of succeeding. I was also referred for psychological therapy and to a psychiatrist for medication. In the next year, I learned things about myself I would have never taken the time to learn. I began treatment for an anxiety disorder and depression, which I developed subsequent to years of bullying and struggling with learning in school, as well as the years of frustration I had experienced from knowing what I was fully capable of accomplishing, but being unable to prove it. Over that first year of my degree, I improved my grades considerably and my last year of university, I am proud to say, I completed with a 4.0 GPA, which is what I knew I was capable of achieving.

 

I applied to medical school one more time hoping that my lived experience, new medical knowledge and improved grades would make me an ideal candidate. Yesterday, I became a member of the class of 2016 at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and will graduate with from Lakehead University four years from now.

 

My success did not come without years of struggle, regret and frustration, but it did come! Whenever I was having a rough day and felt defeated and that my dream was not possible, I turned to this forum and read the stories of others who were like me, non-traditional applicants, who succeeded. My hope is that this story is able to help some of you like the ones before me helped me :)

 

I felt obligated to post this, but I'm going to Learner Services tomorrow, because I have similar symptoms (lack of motivation to study, for example). Indeed, I achieved a 3.5 GPA in my first year of undergrad, but this year I am getting marks in the mid to low 70s, and I don't know what's changed!

 

Thank you. :)

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Wow, congratulations... you're experience mirrors my k-12, i'd get 50 average, then 90 next term... i was really fortunate in undergrad... since i'm pretty socially irreverant, i'd walk around and study, all these techniques that i evnetually learned you're supposed to use when you have adhd... i just did it because i couldn't study in any other way... it's almost like i serendipitously adapted my life to adhd in undergrad unknowingly, when i got a comp diagnoses, it was like someone was following me and knew all my habits... seriously that creepy how similar compensatory behaviours were to my everyday routine

 

i also picked up a lot of other things with planning, organization, exercise... the meds are a huge help... after diagnoses... i remember getting called stupid by like 5 high school teachers, lol... i guess my saving grace was my oppositionality... but it's good to hear adhd is actually being recognized and people are realizing their potential after diagnoses, congrats!

 

I have waited for the past two years to be able to write this post under this thread and I'm so happy to be able to share my story with all you fellow dreamers out there!

 

I've wanted to be a doctor since the age of three when I first got my Fisher Price doctor's kit. From that point on, any other career would never measure up. While in high school I did co-op placements in the radiology department and with the nursing staff to learn about the healthcare system and decide whether it was the right place for me.

 

I applied to nursing school as a stepping stone to med school; knowing very well the hardships many had experienced trying to get into medical school and the small chance I'd have to be able to get in. I thought nursing sounded like the most optimal career for me if I couldn't be a doctor.

 

I discovered when I got to nursing school that I wasn't as great of a student as I thought that I was in high school. I struggled throughout my education with school work, but my intelligence and motivation to be a physician always was enough to get me through with good grades...until university. My first two years of university, my grades were no longer what they used to be and I was what I had never been before: an average student. It took me two years to figure out where I was struggling and be able to admit I couldn't improve on my own. I sought assistance through any outlet I could find, and was able to pull my grades up for the last two years of my degree, but as many of us know, the damage was done. I applied to medical school gripping at the statistics I had read about of the 1 or 2 candidates that managed to be accepted to med schools with a GPA of 3.2 and hoped just maybe, I could be one of those people. I managed to be reserve waitlisted at NOSM, but knew that I couldn't have a chance of succeeding without doing something differently.

 

I met with the admissions department at NOSM the same day I wrote my nursing certification exam, where I was told after showing my transcript and discussing my situation, that I was likely unsuccessful because of my grades. NOSM's policy on second degrees is that they will take the GPA of the best degree. They told me of a new program they were just about to begin for a Physician Assistant degree partnered with the University of Toronto and the Michener Institute. It would allow me to gain an undergraduate degree to replace my nursing science degree's grades. After some thought, I realized the profession of Physician Assistant would allow me to do almost everything that I wished I had been doing as a physician while working as a nurse and thought to myself, why not give it one last, determined try. I applied to the program and was accepted.

 

In the first month of my PA degree my troubles with learning resurfaced because the program was much more fast-paced and intense than my nursing degree. I was referred to Accessibility Services at the University of Toronto and the next thing I knew, my life was forever changed. I was diagnosed with a learning disability and ADHD and began the process of learning about how I learn and received the accommodations I always needed to be capable of succeeding. I was also referred for psychological therapy and to a psychiatrist for medication. In the next year, I learned things about myself I would have never taken the time to learn. I began treatment for an anxiety disorder and depression, which I developed subsequent to years of bullying and struggling with learning in school, as well as the years of frustration I had experienced from knowing what I was fully capable of accomplishing, but being unable to prove it. Over that first year of my degree, I improved my grades considerably and my last year of university, I am proud to say, I completed with a 4.0 GPA, which is what I knew I was capable of achieving.

 

I applied to medical school one more time hoping that my lived experience, new medical knowledge and improved grades would make me an ideal candidate. Yesterday, I became a member of the class of 2016 at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and will graduate with from Lakehead University four years from now.

 

My success did not come without years of struggle, regret and frustration, but it did come! Whenever I was having a rough day and felt defeated and that my dream was not possible, I turned to this forum and read the stories of others who were like me, non-traditional applicants, who succeeded. My hope is that this story is able to help some of you like the ones before me helped me :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

This success story is for those who struggle with the MCAT.

 

I always wanted to do med, but was unsure if I could get the grades I needed in all the hardcore sciences classes (especially competing against all the other premeds). So I did a degree in the Arts, while doing all the pre-requisites needed for medschool. I planned ahead and played the game--moving to a new province where after a few years I became a resident in order to improve my chances of getting in. This meant I was a resident in 2 provinces--one because I graduated high school there, and the other because I had done a few years of my undergrad there. THIS HELPED ME CONSIDERABLY.

 

Academically, I did pretty well (2 year average of 3.9), but I took the MCAT at a bad time: I hadn't yet taken the second O-Chem or the second Gen-chem, this severely hurt my PS and BS and I ended up with a 22M. However, I felt my ECs were above average, and my interviewing skills were pretty good. So I applied early (before having my degree) to every school I was able to (that didn't require a degree, that didn't have a minimum MCAT score, and that I had all prereq's for), this happened to only be 2 schools. I should point out that these 2 schools didn't weigh the MCAT too heavily (i.e. didn't require it, or only looked at verbal). I put a huge amount of time into writing my applications, making sure all my ECs were represented in good light, and provided evidence for all the stated qualities the schools were looking for in applicants. I also practiced the MMI in true fashion consistently from Oct until March. In the end I was offered interviews at both schools, and scored in the upper end for each interview and was accepted to both schools.

 

I came from an Arts background, after only 3.5 years of university, with a 22M MCAT score and got interviewed/accepted to both schools I applied to. I am not saying this to brag, but to give hope.

 

You must scope out the schools and figure out which ones you have the best chance of getting into, and play by their rules. Make yourself competitive by:

1) doing the best you can academically

2) in your ECs

3) interviewing ability.

 

The last 2 are the most important in my eyes. Depending on the school, this is where the bulk of your acceptance score comes from. And if you are reading this (non-trad), this is likely your best asset.

 

Press on!

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This success story is for those who struggle with the MCAT.

 

I always wanted to do med, but was unsure if I could get the grades I needed in all the hardcore sciences classes (especially competing against all the other premeds). So I did a degree in the Arts, while doing all the pre-requisites needed for medschool. I planned ahead and played the game--moving to a new province where after a few years I became a resident in order to improve my chances of getting in. This meant I was a resident in 2 provinces--one because I graduated high school there, and the other because I had done a few years of my undergrad there. THIS HELPED ME CONSIDERABLY.

 

Academically, I did pretty well (2 year average of 3.9), but I took the MCAT at a bad time: I hadn't yet taken the second O-Chem or the second Gen-chem, this severely hurt my PS and BS and I ended up with a 22M. However, I felt my ECs were above average, and my interviewing skills were pretty good. So I applied early (before having my degree) to every school I was able to (that didn't require a degree, that didn't have a minimum MCAT score, and that I had all prereq's for), this happened to only be 2 schools. I should point out that these 2 schools didn't weigh the MCAT too heavily (i.e. didn't require it, or only looked at verbal). I put a huge amount of time into writing my applications, making sure all my ECs were represented in good light, and provided evidence for all the stated qualities the schools were looking for in applicants. I also practiced the MMI in true fashion consistently from Oct until March. In the end I was offered interviews at both schools, and scored in the upper end for each interview and was accepted to both schools.

 

I came from an Arts background, after only 3.5 years of university, with a 22M MCAT score and got interviewed/accepted to both schools I applied to. I am not saying this to brag, but to give hope.

 

You must scope out the schools and figure out which ones you have the best chance of getting into, and play by their rules. Make yourself competitive by:

1) doing the best you can academically

2) in your ECs

3) interviewing ability.

 

The last 2 are the most important in my eyes. Depending on the school, this is where the bulk of your acceptance score comes from. And if you are reading this (non-trad), this is likely your best asset.

 

Press on!

 

Would you mind sharing which these 2 schools are?

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  • 1 month later...

Just decided to toss my story here perhaps to smoothe the anxiety of those waiting for their interview invites this year (better than studying midterms ;-)

 

I can't say that I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor. My life's motto has always been about following the path of least resistance and I am fortunate to have most things in life come easy for me. I went in university without any form of maturity, I skipped midterms or only study the night before. The icing on the cake may have been showing up to my physic exam on the wrong day. I can't really remember much about my first two year in undergrad except I spending hours running around the track as part of the varsity team and regular attendance at Thursday pub nights and a cGPA of 1.6 after the first two years.

 

Then I saw an opportunity to do ecological field research in Mexico during my third year, so I immediately decided that I wanted to be an ecologist. A couple of professors took me under their wings spoon fed me a couple of research projects, showed me how fun research can be. Then they told me that I need to pull up my marks if I want to continue on and go to grad. school. Following my passion in my last years, I earned a cGPA of 3.97. I started volunteering at SickKids during my third year after my track season was lost to an injury. SickKids was pretty awesome and put medicine on my radar.

 

I continued on with a grad degree in geology and had an amazing time. I started looking for Grad schools in the US, visited and did some work at Stanford. Great school, great program but something was off; Mama and Papa bear weren't too thrilled with my career path as an environmental scientist/ prof.

 

Then on my way to enjoying SF's night life via the BART, the train suddenly stopped at Civic Center. I got off to check out what the stoppage was about, to find a man lying in a pool of blood. The police on the scene was waiting for a doctor and I was there but unable to help. At that point, I kinda realize that this may be a coincidence or this may be my calling. I packed my stuff left the west coast, enrolled in a MCAT program, study for six weeks and then put together my OMSAS package. I applied to only a couple of programs thinking that if it's meant to be then Ill get in regardless of the number of applications.

 

Around this time last year, I got the invite for an interview at Queen's. And the rest is history as they say. You can check out my vitals at the Queen's page but my undergrad cGPA was 3.2 and I didnt do much EC in a hospital setting. I was active in the community and I ran around the track alot. So don't lose hope ppl, if you feel like there's an urge to do medicine, there's a reason for it and you should pursue it regardless of your GPA / background. Good Luck!

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