Let's be Realistic

I’m experiencing some anxiety. I just started my first pre-med course (cell biology). It’s going fine, like my instructor a lot, love the material. The anxiety is because, as I see it, it’s looking like it’s going to take me 3-4 years to complete all of my bio, chem and physics. I have a degree in Finance and did okay (GPA: 3.4) nothing spectacular. I’m not trying to set the world on fire by flying through this journey, but 4 years is a serious amount of time in order to be able to take the MCAT. I’m very willing to take it on, but it is weighing on me that I am maybe being selfish in that the pursuit of my dreams trumps many other things for my family.

The 4 years is not including Biochem and Genetics. I’ve taken all the math and other stuff…just need all the science.

The big challenge is that, currently, I must maintain my full-time job for an indeterminate amount of time.

My question is: Are there any classes that could managably be paired together in the same semester for a person on a 40 hour / week schedule (evening classes), or must I accept that it will just take as long as I think? I have the wonderful support of my wife, however, goals to start a family and continue our ‘life’ must also be factored.

Please, please share your experiences! Good, bad and otherwise!

I first suggest that you start slow and get into the needed habits and discipline to be a student. Then see if the load of a 40 hour week and family can mesh with 2 or 3 courses. Often the issue is simple time, especially with those pesky lab classes. Assuming workload and scheduling can be arranged then

  1. Chem should be take insequence, partly for knowledge and partly cause taking a general chem and organic would be a real heavy load

  2. You can take bio and chem together.

  3. if you don’t need to take any math, you can take physics with anything.

    Depending on your own skill and what seems to come easier for you, you can try to think about those ideas. My only exception to that is Organic and especially Organic II, as they are very time consuming.

    Now of course some of us would do things like take 17 credits while working full time. Sounds worse that it was. I set my own work schedule, more or less (working independently on projects), in addition to an advanced bio course and physics, and others, I had 12 full time credits so I wasn’t going to let that full time status get away without more classes. I had an online social policy of aging class and an intro to psychology. It wasn’t a difficult semester.

Yes, it’s realistic if it’s what you want. It just FEELS crazy.

I don’t have a real answer for you, so maybe more people who did this while working full-time will chime in. I would think a 40-hr week is very different from a 60-70 hr week and makes more things possible. Perhaps better to start with general chem, b/c it’s in the sequence that leads to OChem? If it takes four years…will you have lost much? You have a supportive spouse, so your family is behind you. And if you stretch it over that amt of time, that’s not too much time away from them, is it?

You can do it in 2 years (Gen Chem plus Bio, then OChem and Physics), but it would be potentially harder for you and your family. Or you could compromise and do it in three, perhaps taking a summer course (blech!).

Either way, four years from now, will you have a pang of regret, knowing that you could be taking the MCAT and applying to schools? I have ulterior motives, because I think of you as part of my support network. I’m glad that you’re enjoying your bio class, and I hope you figure it all out. But you actually don’t have to figure it all out today. Mull it over this semester and see how it goes. Walk around with the pre-med hat on, so-to-speak, and see how it feels. You’ll know what to do when the time comes. Good luck!

Hey. I did two courses at a time, while working full time, voluneteering, and training for a marathon. My grades suffered. I got a bunch of B’s. Now I am finishing my application and taking the last OChem. This time I am taking one class at a time. I think it is doable to take general chem and bio together. But, OChem is something that demands alot. If I were you I would try taking general chem and bio together for a semester and give it everything you got. Then look at your grades objectively at the end of the semester and ask yourself if you had enough time to study. Then you will know if you can take two at a time or not. Just look out for Ochem.

Also, keep in mind the MCAT while you are taking these courses. Maybe review the sections in the MCAT that correspond with the course you are in.

I wish I would have done that.

Good luck,


Keep on keepin on and you will get there.