I’m new to this board and was hoping I might get some advice. I’m a third year student at UC-Berkeley law school who has been wishing I had chose medicine over law basically since my first year of school. I’d thought about quitting law school through all three years here, but I’m not the type to quit something once I start it and I’ve stuck it out, only to find over the course of two summers that I hate practicing law as much as the academic side of it. Why I’m here and not in med school is largely based on my being a wimp - I got freaked out by one miserable science course I took as a freshman at a school I hated and did poorly in (a lovely D) and other than taking Intro to Bio (and doing much better - a B+ despite half assing it. I blew an A by slacking instead of studying for the final and my grade dropped to a B+) I avoided science in college. I wasn’t ready for college back then and took time off after a year and a half (with a 2.8 GPA) and then went back a year later and ultimately graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington, with much improved grades (3.67 cumulative, 3.98 after I transfered).
So here I am with none of my science requirements complete and no clue what I should do. I dislike law and the legal practic immensely, but I feel like I should work for a few years to pay off debts and distance myself from school for a while. The downside is that I’ll be doing something I already know I’ll hate. With that and the fact that I’m not getting any younger in mind, I’m considering doing a post-bac and getting my pre-med requirements done and just plowing on through. I have tremendous support for this from my family, but I am concerned med schools will think I’m a flake for the law school sojourn along the way. I can’t tell you how many times in college I thought I should be doing pre-med work and not heading into law, but I listened instead to fear over handling sciences (which prior to that one class I had always gotten A’s in… at least at the high school level) and Professor’s in my department who encouraged me to pursue law based largely on the easy money people were making in the tech boom. Well, money is nice, but but to me its not worth being miserable for. I have post-law school job options available, I’m just not sure I want them.
I have fairly well defined career goals if I do go the med school route, I’m really interested in being a family practitioner or pediatrician in a rural or semi-rural setting. With that in mind if I decide to do this I’m going to move back to my home state (MN) and re-establish residency and apply to the two state schools there and I guess to various state schools. I already have some pseudo-medical research experience as an undergrad, working on a project that among other things sought to improve the hearing ability of hearing impaired children.
I guess I just want some feedback on whether I am insane for considering this and if you think med schoolss will suspicious of me going back (I expect they will… but I can answer the why question pretty well). Also what weight will med schools assign to my law school grades. We don’t have letter grades (we are on an Honors, High Honors, Pass) or GPAs and are not “officially ranked” (unofficially I am in the top 35% but that is not something the school will actually release to anyone). I doubt med schools will care, but I do have a law publication so that’s something I guess and have done well here despite being highly involved in various activities (then again who in med school hasn’t been involved and still done well?). Suggestions, comments, etc would be welcome.
|QUOTE (pdk @ Nov 12 2002, 12:34 PM)|
|I'm a third year student at UC-Berkeley law school who has been wishing I had chose medicine over law basically since my first year of school. I'd thought about quitting law school through all three years here, but I'm not the type to quit something once I start it and I've stuck it out, only to find over the course of two summers that I hate practicing law as much as the academic side of it. |
I have fairly well defined career goals if I do go the med school route, I'm really interested in being a family practitioner or pediatrician in a rural or semi-rural setting.
I guess I just want some feedback on whether I am insane for considering this and if you think med schoolss will suspicious of me going back (I expect they will.. but I can answer the why question pretty well).
Thinking as if I were on an admissions comm, not questioning your committment ---
well, I guess one thing they might wonder about is how do you know that you will like the actual practice of medicine? Afterall, you wouldn't have started law school if you knew that you didn't enjoy the law and wouldn't enjoy practicing as a lawyer ...
how does the med sch know that your idea of a rural FP practice isn't just a utopian dream - what if you find out that you don't like working with patients in your 1st year preceptorship?
my guess is that you'll want to get some medical experience - like working with/shadowing a FP or peds physician in town or out in the country - maybe some hospital/hospice/clinic volunteer work to demonstrate that you know what medical practice IS and that you LIKE it. You might be able to articulate your desires and reasons very well, but you also have to demonstrate your interest.
I don't know how they would figure in that type of grading system, but they can handle non-graded ugrad work (e.g. UC Santa Cruz) so both AMCAS and the schools must be able to deal with it somehow.
I wonder - and I don't know - whether admission committees would think you were just trying to get double degreed in order to do high compensation malpractice law. Might be a hard sell for you.
One of my surgery faculty is a JD/MD. He does a lot of expert witness stuff on the side, but primarily practices surgery.
I concur with everything Lisa has said, although as a UCSC graduate I'm not sure medical schools do well with lack of grades… letters and your post-bac grades will mean a lot.
In the meantime you might want to consider getting into some medically-related law after school. For instance, there are some people at Boston City Hospital–advocacy lawyers who go sue landlords for people with respiratory conditions aggravated by bad living conditions, etc; and you might want to look in to some similar combination of law/medicine that would both get you closer to medical practice, firm up your commitment, and make you feel like you're doing something closer to what you want to do.
More broadly, I would strongly advise doing something altruistic (as opposed to corporate simply to pay your debts) to emphasize what you are saying about your desire to do medicine–try to find some ways to pay off your debts through loan repayment, etc., which I think they have even for lawyers? Maybe it's school-by-school, but it's something you'd want to look at while you consider your next steps.
good luck, and welcome to OPM–
Hi, welcome…I agree with much of what has already been written… what Joe said!: you’d help adcoms see that you’re serious if you volunteered (i.e. pro bono work) for some social concerns, such as working as legal advocate for children, homeless people, etc. AND/OR did some volunteer work at a hospital, nursing home, hospice, et al.
(Hint: you might not want to tell any hospital that you are a lawyer right away, although that truth will come out eventually. Keep in mind that some, just some, doctors have no use for attorneys that is humane ).
For volunteer work, just pick something you think you’d like to do and contact whatever hospital (or what have you) about helping them…
I’ve never had any place refuse free help. (Or check out www.volunteermatch.org …you enter the kinds of things you are interested in, submit it, and up comes matches for you — that you can either pursue or ignor — they have a lot of different, interesting opportunities. Some are “virtual”…work you can do from your own computer and phone).
Your previous research will also help you.
You could say that you wanted to MD/JD all along, but chose to do one degree at a time rather than get them concurrently. I’ve met several MD/JDs at medical conferences. Often they sit on the hospital’s ethics or legal boards…or their hospital’s IRB (Internal Review Board). Given your ambitions for rural medicine, getting some medical experience in that setting would help you. Shadow a doctor, volunteer, get CPR certified, etc. There’s been a lot of ‘talk’ on the site recently about getting one’s EMT license or CNA certification…there are all sorts of options to get what the med schools call “sufficient exposure to healthcare” or “high degree of community service”.
Anyhow…there’s a lot of different roads to becoming a doctor, lots of different ways and settings and specialties, etc…may you find yours.
Thanks for all the helpful replies and suggestions. I've been considering a number of the options you suggested, so its reassuring to know I'm at least on the right track. Two summers of working at law firms (both a large and a small firm) doing essentially the same thing a junior attorney would do was enough for me to know I didn't want to do that type of work. I may wind up taking a federal or state government job back home for a few years, which would allow me to spend some time volunteering at hospitals and such on weekends and in the evenings.
Overall I've heard mixed things about how my JD will be received. My mother is involved with one of the med schools in my state (she's a cardiologist) and has been trying to get a sense of how that would be viewed and a number of people have told her that the main university in my state is really trying to push people into its combined JD/MD program and that my already having a JD may be a plus in some way for admission to that school. I'm somewhat lucky in that her position should give me fairly ready access to volunteer work and shadowing opportunities with some of the doctors she works with. I'm hoping to make the most of that opportunity to get as varied an experience as I can and make sure I'm making the right choice here.
Thanks again for all the suggestions.
I am you, but 10 years later. I graduated U of M law in 91, was a trial lawyer, and have just finished retaking the pe-meds I screwed up the first time around. Did well this time. Am optimistic getting in for next fall. Bail on law as soon as you can and get your ass into med school.
One thing that both medical school and law school offers is options. You say that you hate the law but you have never practiced. You may find an area of the law that you can love so give yourself a chance. Medical school is nothing like residency and residency is very different from private practice. Something attracted you to law in the first place; try to re-visit those thoughts and see if you can find an area that works for you.
There are plenty of folks who have been practiced law and gone on to medical school. They have as many motives as there are people. If money is one of them, my hat is off to them. My cousin went in the opposite direction having practiced pediatric neurosurgery, she completed law school and now practices both Neurosurgery and law in Washington, DC. She loves both.
Go where you heart leads you. There is nothing wrong with having interests and love in both places. Good luck. With a total of seven degrees, I would be the last person to tell you that you pursuing your interests is a bad thing.
I am actually thinking about picking up an MBA once internship is done.
I'm a 1990 law grad who's spent the past 10+ years practicing as a Legal Services/poverty lawyer. I did a postbacc premed program (I'd spent 2 years in college as a Bio premed but switched my major to English) and am applying to med & osteo schools. I would recommend practicing (a friend of mine had some uncomfortable moments in med school interviews b/c of his academic choices) but finding something w/a med aspect. I specialize in social security & SSI benefits so working w/disabled clients and reading/deciphering their medical records is my life - and my personal stmt spells out my transition. If practicing isn't possible, maybe medical or medicolegal volunteering (pro bono work) might be. Good luck!