Hi guys! I need some encouragement here

I guess I could be considering a wandering nomad of sorts. I generally hate making excuses, but I dropped out of school a couple of years ago because I was emotionally not ready for any commitments, and I went through a traumatic ordeal that was debilitating to me.

When I was younger, I always wanted to be a doctor but things occurred in my life that made me question my decision. I eventually grew complacent and didn’t try. Recently, I decided to do some soul searching. I wanted to go back and pursue my academics, and have a fresh new start, but I wanted to be passionate about what I was learning. I decided to volunteer at the hospital, and that totally changed my perspective on what I wanted to do with my life. Along with that, I joined a couple of congenital heart defects groups, and I realized that I had an underlying passion stirring in my heart but it just needed a little bit of a mental push to bloom.

I am so sick of making mistakes and excuses, and I really am sick of questioning my abilities. I know I could be a doctor if I pushed myself through it. Did you guys ever have a constant mental battle with yourself? I know that if I don’t try to pursue this, I’ll be miserable. I took the first step and contacted my old school to see what my options are. Some of my friends are encouraging; others question my decision making skills. How do you push through it? How do you stay positive? I just don’t want to be held back by my past, and to move on with my future.

I apologize in advance for the long winded post. I have actively been lurking on this website for advice from others that are faced with a similar situation as mine. I just decided to post to see if I should listen to all the naysayers, or really do this.


Don’t listen to the naysayers. I can relate to your story. This is a long lonely journey at times, and you have to surround yourself with positive encouraging people. You will struggle with fear and doubt off and on through this whole process.

I found myself wanting to reach out for support but didn’t want to risk judgement either. Fear of failure and hearing “I told you so” if I’m not successful can be paralyzing.

When I told people about my plans to pursue medicine, and they gave me that funny look like I’m crazy or some sort of condescending comment that implied that I was delusional, I had to dismiss them. I would note that this person is not a source of support and not bring up the subject again. I would remind myself that usually that person is just projecting their own feelings of inadequacy on to you.

After 6 years of struggling that include 2 MCAT tests and 2 application cycles, I finally got accepted into medical school. I will be starting next year.

Write down a timeline plan of what you need to do. Then break it down into smaller bite sized goals and be prepared to make adjustments as you go. Contact schools that you might be interested in attending, this will make your goal and vision more tangible to you. If you can visit the campus, all the better. Use the visit to visualize yourself being a student there, this will also give you strength when you run across one of those naysayers because you will know they have no idea what they are talking about. You will know more about medical school than they do.

Welcome to the journey. I hope you can make it to one of the OPM conferences. I found it helpful.

Hang in there,


I’m in the same boat. I don’t know how old you are but I too was doubting myself after going through things during school. I finished school in December of 2011 but walked at graduation in May 2012 (was supposed to graduate in May 2011). I ended up a graduating a year later with a terrible GPA and really questioned my resolve to become a doctor. I am now on a long journey towards repairing the damage I did. I believe it can be done. I definitely had a constant battle with myself. I considered maybe pursuing other fields but I always found myself coming back to medicine. I still struggle with my confidence now but I’m definitely in a better place now than I was a year or two ago. I started volunteering and getting back into school.

You have to believe in yourself because no one is going to be able to accomplish your goals but you. It would also be helpful to have a doctor as a mentor. That’s what I’m trying to find right now.

Here’s an exercise that really helped me; you should give it a try. Get two pieces of paper. On the first, write out every significant failure you’ve had in your life. Everything that’s eating away at you? Get it all out. Then when you’re done, take the second piece of paper and list every accomplishment you’ve ever had. Everything that makes you feel good about yourself or confident that medicine is where you belong.

Take a look at mine!

The Bad

  • Undergrad GPA: 2.59
  • Lost half-ride scholarship at undergrad school
  • Had to transfer undergrad schools after three years
  • Lots of F's and W's on undergrad record.
  • Multiple professors told me I should give up trying to get to medical school.
  • Professors who have questioned my work ethic, abilities, and integrity.
  • No MCAT.
  • Pre-requisites not done.

Well fuck me, right? That sure as hell doesn't sound like an applicant that's getting into medical school. For that matter, that doesn't sound like an applicant that's doing anything other than mopping the floors at a medical school. But let's turn it around and see my positives list:

The Good

  • Grad GPA: 3.65
  • GRE: 99th percentile
  • IQ: ~165
  • Qualified to teach most pre-requisite courses I haven't taken.
  • T/A for multiple graduate-level science courses.
  • Accepted to an MS Biomedical Science program; degree pending thesis.
  • Accepted to a PhD program.
  • Full financial support in PhD program through Dean's Research Council Scholarship.
  • Volunteer work for 1-800-SUICIDE and other counseling/crisis intervention programs. Chief administrator of one such program for two years.
  • Elected to multiple local and state-level administrative/executive offices for various civic organizations.

Holy shit, is that even the same person? The first guy sounded like his career in medicine was going nowhere fast. This guy may not be a perfect candidate, but he definitely sounds worth calling in for an interview, right?

Take the "bad" piece of paper and get rid of it. Throw it out. Burn it. Feed it to your dog (no, don't do that). Whatever. Just get rid of it. Then take the "good" list and hang it somewhere visible. Take a new color pen and add things to it- goals that you want to accomplish. Check them off as you accomplish them.

Two things for you to realize. First, no one defines you but yourself. You either define yourself through your accomplishments or your failures. Don't have accomplishments? Go make some. Which brings me to the second point. Your only competition is yourself. If you don't get into medical school, it's not going to be because someone was better than you. It's because what you did wasn't sufficient. While that sounds negative, turn it around for the logical conclusion: you are the person who will keep you out or get you in. Period. That power is entirely in your hands.

“Did you guys ever have a constant mental battle with yourself?”

Sure…I know I do. It means you’re normal. Sometimes about once a month I have some FUD creep up but I try to stay motivated and keep focused on the real reasons I am on this road. Like you, I would be miserable doing anything else and especially now, being closer to applying than when I began.

Here is something that makes a lot of sense to me…

“You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.” - James Froude.

What does it mean to me? That I have to work like hell to get where I want. That fantasizing about it when I’m watching some doctor show on TV doesn’t get the job done (I love House MD, though). The process is painful, stressful, doubt-inducing, but I see it like burning away the impurities in a sample of gold. The impurities of laziness and procrastination (in my case) and realizing my potential. I take some comfort in knowing that if I am doing something difficult, that I’m already forging out a little bit more of where I need to be.

A lot of times, it is more about attitude than it is about aptitude. My first go-round in college, I flunked out of College Algebra…twice. I hated math, so, I quit going to class (typical immature 18yo…also never took higher than geometry in HS). When I returned to college, I only took one class, to get back in the groove. I chose Pre-Calc:Algebra. 4 months later, I had a shiny new A on my transcript. After that, I became mildly addicted to making good grades…Bs would kill me. The difference…was in my attitude.

Good luck…post often… and welcome to the family!

Thanks for the insight, guys. I really appreciate it. I’ve decided to take that step and go back to school, and explain all my mistakes and try my best to rectify them. It’s true. The biggest thing that was holding me back was my fear. I wish you all well on your journey, and I’ll post as often as I can.