Artist and writer, hopeful surgeon

Hello everyone!

First off, thank you so much to anyone who reads this, and thank you again if you respond.

I’ll draw you a pretty picture of your favorite animal if you give me helpful advice!

Since I can remember, I’ve created things with my hands- sculpture, drawings, paintings- you name it- I made it. I got good, but I fell in love with science at a young age as well.

Unfortunately, my family and friends only saw me as the artist, so they did not take my science-bent mind seriously.

After graduating college early and being accepted to Columbia University’s pre-med program, you’d think they’d be proud and delighted.

Most people were shocked and slightly afraid for me. It was all mute, however, because it turned out I couldn’t afford it anyways. I was crestfallen.

However, I was working as an editorial assistant, correspondent and artist. I did my work well and I enjoyed it- but not nearly as much as I enjoyed my biology labs and math classes in college.

I’ve since taken a physics course with a lab at a local university and aced it. I’m taking pre-calc right now.

What finally motivated me to make the switch was this: my best friend is dying of cystic fibrosis, one of my good friends died from an unknown disease 7 months ago and the final straw- my boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer.

I can’t sit by and watch and do nothing. I must act, and I’ve wanted this for so long.

It will take me 2.5 years to prepare for medical school and the MCAT, as I have most of my pre-req’s left. Several of my doctor friends have encouraged me.

The thing I am short on is money. I’ve clearly got the passion, perseverance will be built and I am committed to working my hardest. I’ve been combing the internet for grants. I’ve already gotten my bachelor’s degree, so I can’t use much in the way of loans.

Thank you so much for helping me search. More info on me: I’m a female from Massachusetts and I’m 24. I don’t know what is out there for people like me, but I’ll go to great lengths to make this happen.

Thank you all again.


PS I’m serious about the drawing if you actually want it.

Hi Lydia and welcome to the community. You have come to the right place.

I think you have excellent reasons for wanting to go to med school and you clearly have the mindset to do this. I’m really sorry about the challenges facing your friend and now boyfriend.

Unless there is something that I’m missing there are no reasons that you can’t take out loans to do your prerequisites for med school and loans for med school. I had loans for both undergrad and grad school What you can’t receive is a pell grant for college because you already have your undergrad. I’d say keep working if you can and take classes part to full time (I went to grad school and got my masters in biology while working full time) until you get all if the classes in that you need. I would also start thinking about the mcat for 2015 as it is going to be different and perhaps start working on some sample tests to get a feel for that. (You can likely start that step in a year)

Check out the med schools that you intend to apply to and scrutinize what the courses are so that you can tailor a plan. You can also find out if they have a policy or not regarding whether or not courses can be taken at a community college That is often a cheaper way to go as long as the med schools accepts those courses. You may need to phone the office of admissions to find out that answer.

I’m sorry that I don’t know of any ways to get med school paid for but there are many programs out there that are not as expensive as Columbia.

There are programs out there though for loan forgiveness after med school. You have to agree to practice in certain areas and in certain fields (surgery is often one) so don’t lose hope. I know Louisiana has them and I bet Massachusetts does as well.

Best of luck. By the way I love elephants if my post was helpful.

Hi Lydia!

Are you near Boston? Harvard Extension is actually MUCH cheaper than Columbia (at about $1200/class, so the 8 core prereqs will run about $10k). A couple of my med school friends did that program, so I’ve heard nice things about it.

I did a full time postbac (although not at Harvard), and received $12,500 in Federal Stafford loans per academic year. Note the emphasis – since my postbac technically spanned 2 academic years, even though it was only 12 months (I tacked a summer session on top of the regular academic year), I was able to get $25,000 in Stafford loans. What’s nice about these loans is that you don’t have to worry about paying them back until after med school/residency. Plus, if I work 10 years in public service following residency, they AND my med school federal loans will magically disappear, according to my school’s financial aid office…

As Lucy mentioned, you don’t have to be an undergrad to get these loans – I already had my bachelor’s and a master’s, and I still qualified.

Hope this is helpful! (If it was, my son really loves dragons!) :slight_smile:

To add to what Lucy and ksyhe said, don’t write off the prospect of loans. I don’t know what your aversion or issue with loans is, but more than likely it’s not as much a problem as you think. Any matriculated student can take out loans. If you’re worried because you’re pushing lifetime maximums on federal loans, realize that students matriculated in a medically-oriented program (I believe that post-baccs qualify), your limit gets bumped signficantly. If you’re worried about repayment, doctors get paid well. Not star athlete or Fortune 500 CEO well, but usually well enough to justify the expense. Personally and from a purely financial perspective, I would prefer to me an MD with $200k in loans a billion times more than an artist with $20k in loans.

Your doctor friends are about to become your best friends. Those are good sources to find shadowing and volunteer opportunities, to have people look over your application materials, and hopefully you can find a way to work with one enough to get an LoR.

If you ever need feedback on plans or situations, this is a really good place for those.

Favorite animal: ebola virus

Fedaykin -

Isn’t ebola virus your second favorite animal? I thought your fav. was Yersinia pestis…but of course you don’t need a picture of that.


(apologies in advance if I’ve misidentified your gif!) II/11…

Click the link and it will show both the animals-

Thank you so much- here are the first two animals- dragon and elephant- I’ll do the last one soon.

I will reply more later, it’s very late.

  • Kate429 Said:
Fedaykin -

Isn't ebola virus your second favorite animal? I thought your fav. was Yersinia pestis....but of course you don't need a picture of that.


(apologies in advance if I've misidentified your gif!)

My avatar is ebola. Ebola's easy to spot because it's a mickey mouse head with a loooooong tail. Marburg is similarly easy to spot- looks like a shadow puppet duck head with a long tail. I'm a viral hemorrhagic fever kinda guy.

It's a bit harder to recognize but the image is also taken with a TEM (transmission electron microscope) rather than a light microscope, suggesting its scale is more indicative of a virus than a bacterium.