Hi! Fine Art student/Flight attendant med hopeful


I would love a bit of feedback or advice from anyone who also has an educational/work background in a completely different field, but is considering medicine.

I’m in my late 20’s, and I graduated from a small fine art university with a major in Textiles/Fashion and a minor in Art History, with the plan to pursue art therapy through graduate school. I graduated two years ago, and instead of going directly into art therapy as I had planned, I took some time to work. I ended up doing a few things-I worked for a small, fast growing company as a gallery co-ordinator, catering manager, and café manager. Although I loved all three of these positions, I was doing the work of three people, and after several conversations with the company owners I gave my notice. After this experience, I was hired by an airline, went through flight attendant training, and have since been flying! During my flight attendant training, I had to go through fairly extensive first aid teaching, and I loved every minute of it. This put a medical bug in my ear, and I started looking at careers more centred on health care, as opposed to art therapy, as I had previously planned. I would like to seriously consider medical school, but my background is so different from the typical applicant-maybe like a few others here? I’m concerned my background may be too varied and far from medicine. I’m really interested in working with 3D printing, and medical textiles though. I think there are more similarities between medicine and the arts than you would expect, but convincing and admissions board of this may be a challenge.

I do not have any of the hard sciences at a university level, but my gpa was 3.67, and I’m just waiting on some immunization tests to start volunteering at the local hospital. I’ve been trying to self study for the MCAT, but reading textbooks and the kahn academy lectures are just not cutting it for chemistry and physics. Although most of the medical programs I plan on applying to do not require science classes, I’m thinking I may need them to pass the MCAT. (I’m Canadian and would like to stay here for school) This winter I’m hoping I can continue working, and take chemistry, physics, and maybe bio as a part time student. It might be too much though?

If I do get accepted someday, I’m considering joining the military as a medical officer as well-would love to hear from anyone who has similar experiences/or thoughts!

Thanks for taking the time to read!


I don’t really think there is such as a thing as “background too far from medicine”. The only real common background required is the MCAT and any prerequisites that a specific school wants you do have done. Especially for the older students that have had life outside of college, diversity is what makes a class interesting and brings differing perspectives. My class has 6 former military folks with zero background in medicine. We also have a 30-something former actress/singer, and a few others who have done work outside of the medical realm before coming to medicine. Med school isn’t about what you already know, it’s about how fast you can learn a ridiculous amount of material. Some of it is rote memorization, but a lot of it is understanding how the science behind stuff makes things happen. You need a basic background in science, but the school should teach you everything they expect you to know (some of it will be easier if you have seen underlying topics before).

Depending on how you learn, you may still need to take the “standard” science classes prior to the MCAT so you have the necessary knowledge base to roll into the test. The classes may not be required, but the core information from those classes is a definite must-have to do well on the test. More power to you if you can self-teach. The testable topics are published and generally follow the “science I, science II” curricula. You might consider a commercial prep course for more directed learning. They’re expensive, but you may be able to set one up around your work schedule (I did an on-demand, self-paced course).

Before diving too deep into your studies, I would recommend shadowing some physicians to see if this is really something you want to do based on near-first hand experience with the field. You might get some of that through volunteering at the hospital, but being “around” doctors and being “with” a doctor will give you a different perspective. It’s a lot of work and not all the glory and glamour that is necessarily portrayed in books/tv. It would really suck to spend time/money on MCAT prep if it turns out medicine isn’t actually what you want to do with yourself.

Good luck!

Thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate it. I will look in to physician shadowing as well as volunteer work. I moved to Québec a few months ago so that my partner can pursue his Masters, which is great, but I’m finding the language barrier challenging when it comes to getting involved in the community. One step at a time! Step one being language classes.

As much as I would love to be able to teach myself chemistry and physics, I think I may need to take classes. I would really like to take them online, so I could continue to work over the winter semester. My FA schedule gives me a fair bit of free time, but I cannot predict when and where I will be.

Thanks again!