Any advice would be great!

Hi everyone,

I just found this forum today so I’d thought I would solicit for some advice about even trying for med school (or osteopathic school which I would also consider).

As for the stats, I’m a 40 year old married woman with one 6 year old daughter and a babe on the way (I’m 18 weeks now and don’t plan to have any more at this point). I’m no stranger to medical research as I have a history of working both in the lab and in a scientific management capacity. I earned my BS in Biotechnology way back in 1994 and finished with a 2.95 GPA. Unfortunately for me back then, I was more concerned with cheerleading, working at the university library, and boyfriends than classwork and it shows on my transcript. Since I had a focus on more cell and molecular biology related courses, I never took A and P. I did take two physics courses along with a stellar astronomy course in addition to the core of my major (gen bio, gen chem, organic chem, chem separations, immunology, tissue culture, microbiology, genetics, hybridoma techniques, genetic engineering, etc.). I did decide to move back home and commute to school my last year and that had a significant impact on my grades, along with quitting cheerleading. I also had 2 summer internships in research laboratories, where one was at the NCI.

After graduation, I went to work as a lab tech for one of the NCI labs I supported as an intern and I figured I’d gain some work experience, take my GREs and go on to get a research based PhD. That never happened since I saw the hell the postdocs went through, but instead I went on and got my MS in Biomedical Science in 2006 with a GPA of 3.73. That degree consisted of many of the same types of courses I had taken as an undergrad. I continued to work in the lab (focusing on HIV vaccine research) until after my daughter was born and then had an opportunity to work for a DOD grant funding agency. I currently serve as a Science Officer (one of only a few that hold an MS, the rest are PhDs) which mainly involves the management of the scientific and regulatory aspects of medical research projects funded by us. I’m mostly manage awards focusing on MS and several cancers including pancreatic, colon, and pediatric brain tumors. Most of what I do involves desk work and even though some of the projects I read about are exciting, I’m kinda losing my mojo and want to get back out into the wild, so to speak, and was thinking about pursuing a medical degree.

Why medicine? Well, when I was a kid, I was a serious hypochondriac. If I sneezed, I was sure I had a brain tumor, LOL. My mother had this very comprehensive medical encyclopedia so whenever I thought something was wrong with me, I’d go look up my symptoms and come up with a diagnosis. One time, I had a small boil on my stomach and after consulting the book, I was sure I had chicken pox. I was only in elementary school at the time so I was definitely digging into material well above where I was at educationally, but I still did it anyway. I ran to my mother, showed her the boil, told her my findings, and since I would do this a lot, she got mad and threatened to burn my lifeline. I freaked out, but a little while later, sure enough I developed chicken pox, followed by my brother and sister! Another time, I broke my wrist in 4th grade after some type of stupid maneuver on a swing set and went ahead and almost set it myself. The doctor I went to only had to make minor adjustments. I also got a nasty cut in high school and thought I could do a better job of stitching me up than the doctor did. After all of that I definitely wanted to become a doctor, but I ended up choosing a different path.

Back in the late 80’s when I was in high school, I started reading about how sue happy people were becoming regarding medical malpractice, so at the time I decided to do something else, which for me was molecular biology/genetic engineering, especially after listening to the advice of my AP Bio teacher. I don’t regret that path, but after some real life changing experiences within the last year or so, I’ve started thinking seriously about my future and what I really want to do with it. I did attempt a PhD in Public Health focusing on Epidemiology from an online university within the last several years (I’ve got about 2.5 years of study behind me), and I did very well in the beginning, but crashed and burned out by the end. I was foolish on how I handled the situation, as I should have just taken a LOA to get my life straightened out, but I stubbornly pushed ahead. I don’t think earning that degree was truly right for me in the end and frankly I think I want to get back to my original goal and aim for med school. I believe I’ve learned many life lessons that I can apply towards this effort and I have a better idea of how not to deal with problems so I’m at least willing to get ready and try.

Considering all of this, does anyone have any sage advice? I’m hopeful, but want to look at this from all angles. I’m willing to go back and take A and P as I think that would actually be fun, but if I have to go back and recreate my whole undergraduate degree since it’s been so long, I don’t think I’d be as enthusiastic about my prospects. Since I’ve taken coursework within the last 3-4 years, I hope I wouldn’t have to and if I have stellar grades in A and P, perhaps that would show I’m serious, that and doing well on the MCATs, which I would be willing to spend some serious time prepping for. Of course, finances are always a concern (I still have student loans), so that’s something else to think about, too.

I think I’ve rambled on enough for now. Hope to hear from folks here soon!


Kudos to you for wanting to research the best way to move forward in your life and career!

My first advice would be to take the time to find out what prereqs you’re missing in order to apply to med school. (One hint: med school application does NOT require A&P!)

You may want to consider nursing as a career. There are a bunch of forums around talking about nursing and nurse practitioner as an awesome way to serve others in the medical field. Do some research and see if that fits who you are.

Bear in mind that if you do pursue medicine, you will need to take classes (and excel at them) that will challenge every brain cell you have. You will sacrifice time spent with your children. And you will question your sanity. ONLY if you absolutely CANNOT do anything else, should you pursue medicine.

I wish you every success!