I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself. I just ran into OPM while wondering if there was even a chance of going outside the “traditional” path to medical school. I just want to say that you are all an inspiration and proof that anything is possible.
A little about myself…
I graduated from undergrad with a degree in accounting, but knew right away that it wasn’t what I wanted for myself and I was not going to get the fulfillment I was looking for with a career in that field. I tried to figure out a way to combine the education I had already obtained with something that could be a little more hands on and meaningful to society so I went back to school and got a masters in international political economy. That was much better, but I still find myself constantly wondering “what if?” I had always dreamed of becoming a doctor while growing up, but when college came around I didn’t feel I was in the place to follow my dreams. I felt more pressure to quickly get a reliable job that would pay the bills, even if it was thankless, just as my father had. After some soul searching though, I’ve figured out that I can do this and it is completely attainable if I want it. Thanks to those of you who have shared your experiences because it has helped me reach that realization.
Now that I’m trying to figure out how to make this work with my current sitution, I’m wondering how people are going about the pre-med education process - namely, what kinds of jobs are people able to work full time and still have the flexibility to take classes and still afford all of life’s expenses? I’m single so unfortunately have to cover rent, student loan payments, and a car payment on my own. I fully expect to go into debt for medical school, but want to keep it limited until then. Any advice would be great!
Thanks again everyone and I look forward to interacting more as I go through this process!
Working at a university allowed me the flexibility to take a class or two during the day. I stayed at at least 80% of full time and was able to keep going, pay off my car, and even save a little bit of money until admission to med school. You can probably get away with taking the first couple of prereqs in the evening at a community college, but at some point it’s best to enroll in a university if at all possible.
Welcome, Eric! You will probably NOT have to make student loan payments while you taking classes. They generally suspend payments if you have gone back to school. You may need to check and see if there are any stipulations on how many hours you need to be enrolled in order to defer your student loan payments. Also, you are probably eligible to borrow money for your pre-reqs (again, this may depend on how many hours you enroll in per term). If you haven’t maxed out your undergraduate loan amount, you can enroll as a second degree seeking student and get loans that way, or you can enroll as a continuing ed student and be eligible for 12 months of loans to pay for courses that are required for entry into a professional degree program. If your credit is good, you can also look into private student loans.
It can be very difficult to work full time and take the necessary pre-reqs, especially at a four year institution. As had been noted many times, universities tend to only offer these classes during the day, so if your job is one that only has daytime hours . . . I personally had to quit teaching as there it was going to be difficult to get more than the occasional evening class and, with commuting times, it was going to take me forever to get the pre-reqs completed.
Good luck as you start the process.