Hey there, here’s a little about me.
I’m currently a stay at home homeschooling mom of 3 and a military spouse. I have a degree in Journalism, circa 2005, and I didn’t take very many sciences back then. My husband has about 12 or so more years before retirement, and my kids will all be through high school in the same amount of time. So, what am I going to do with all my freedom and newfound flexibility?? Well, I don’t have a crystal ball, but my plan is to put myself in a position to apply to medical schools at that point in my life. Perhaps I’ll go a different direction in the end, but I will take pre-reqs as we move around and prepare for the MCAT. I don’t want to get to that point and regret not being available to medicine.
Since I don’t have any science classes to speak of, I know that any career in medicine will require a lot of school. Initially, and as a catalyst to this newfound ambition, I was interested in becoming a psychiatrist. So I looked into becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner. That would require a BSN to MSN to DPN, for example. I could rattle through a few others, and it seems they all require a lot of things that I don’t currently have. Time in one location longer than 2 years, clinical hours, pre-reqs, kids in school instead of at home, etc. So my best plan is to just get ready, prepare and aim high. I feel like whatever I do choose to pursue will need to be really worth all the effort, financially and personally.
Why do I want this? Does anyone else watch The Walking Dead? Such a good show Last week’s episode had a “good guy” captive in the Negan camp. Negan requires his followers to identify themselves as Negan. It’s a loyalty test. Who are you? --I’m Negan. (Your actual name would be the WRONG answer.) So I’ve been learning quite a lot about these premed, med school, residency and beyond paths. The more I absorb, the more right it feels. The more natural…like a series of aha moments and the realization that maybe a physician is who I’ve been trying to be all along, every time I completely immersed myself in learning about things that have faced my family, from childbirth, to hereditary spherocytosis, to autism and more. So back to the show… Negan starts to ask the prisoner who he is. “I’m Negan,” Eugene replies before he can even finish. “I’m utterly, completely, stone-cold Negan. I was Negan before I even met you; I just needed to meet you properly to know.” (I have my own fan theory about this interaction, but I won’t digress.) Maybe that’s me and medicine. Maybe I’ve been on this path since before I even met it. I just needed to meet it properly. And probably–no definitely-- I wasn’t ready during my undergrad years. But I honestly hardly know that girl anymore. I’m glad she didn’t try to go to medical school. This lady, though, this lady is looking forward to where this leads.
I have a couple of questions. How far in advance can I start taking pre-requisites? I plan to do a DIY version of a post-bacc via local universities or community colleges in the places we will be stationed. With homeschooling, I can’t do it full time. Homeschooling is an important part of our continuity of life and a way I help my autistic son. We plan to stay the course as long as it’s mutually beneficial.
Med school is difficult. Drinking from a fire hydrant, they say. So, what about learning ahead of time? What if I leisurely, for enjoyment, started learning now? We do classical education(Classical Conversations) for our homeschool, and part of the methodology is that there is grammar in every subject. The fundamental facts. If you memorize the facts first, thinking with those facts will be easier down the road. You don’t have to do it all at once all of the time. Do people do this? Are there resources for the “grammar” of medicine? Is that totally crazy? or totally genius… I know people in or right out of college might not have the time to do that, but I’ve got like 10 years. Could it hurt?
Hey there, here’s a little about me.
Welcome! As someone from South Louisiana, I dig the username.
It sounds like you have some time on your hands, which is good. The first thing I normally suggest to someone considering this path is to be sure you really want to do it. Consider going out and shadowing some doctors in a variety of fields right now. Get an idea of what the day-to-day life of being a physician is like. If you do that, and you’re still committed, then you can move on to other steps.
Regarding timing of the prereqs, this will vary somewhat from school to school. I was able to use some of the courses I took in undergrad (some 15+ years ago) as part of my prereq package. There are other schools who will state that they want prereqs no older than 5 years (though I think they are in the minority). Bear in mind that these courses will be useful prep for the MCAT, so the further you string them out, the more review of that content you’ll have to do when it’s time to take the MCAT.
So far as learning content ahead of time, I wouldn’t put a whole lot of effort into it. I came in with just the bare minimum prereqs, with degrees in other fields and I was able to pick it up and run with it fairly quickly. There’s so much information to learn that it would be difficult to prepare well ahead of time, and there’s not a single good resource to point to for learning all of this.
One thing I might suggest would be to check out some medical podcasts. This will get you some exposure to clinical aspects of medicine, and the language of medicine. If you hear something interesting, or that you don’t fully understand, go pull up some information on that topic. Some shows I would suggest are:
- Bedside Rounds
- This Week in Virology
- The Art of Medicine
- UpToDate Talk
- NEJM This Week
- JAMA Clinical Reviews
- My First Cadaver
- The OldPremeds Podcast (of course)
Those shows above are a mix of entertainment and general medicine type shows. If you're interested in a specific field, there's likely podcasts related to that field that you can find as well.
Hope this helps some. Feel free to reach out if you want some more info. Good luck on your journey!
Bennard, your name sounds very south Louisiana Long story, I’m adopted. Even though I was born and raised in Louisiana, my biological family is rooted in South Dakota, and further back I have Norwegian and Swedish heritage. (Thx AncestryDNA) I don’t know why I love crawfish so much. My husband makes the best. And he actually does have a cajun family history.
Thanks for those podcasts suggestions. I have recently discovered quite a few targeted at premeds (love the ones by Medical School HQ). I’ll definitely look into the the others you mentioned.
My husband is actually a healthcare administrator in the military, so hopefully I can start volunteering and shadowing there at some point. That’s all tricky with my kids still being little, unless I do it on the weekends. I also feel like it’s necessary, so it is for sure a priority before I take the MCAT or something.
Thanks for your response.