Longest intro ever?

Well, I’ve ravaged the archives all week; I guess it’s time for an intro. I don’t usually tell people my whole story, but since I’m looking for critique and/or encouragement, I’ll throw it out there. VERY few people know that I am considering med school, so I have had little chance to talk this through, which explains why this is probably too long!

In high school, I was the kid in AP classes and voc-tech. I hated school at the time, but loved learning. (I didn’t understand the distinction). An awesome guidance counselor took interest in me and introduced me to several local chefs, and when my voc-tech teacher gave me pamphlet about a chef school (NY!? Uhh –hell yeah) I was hooked. Career choice made. Turns out, that cheffing is an awesome career choice for adrenaline junkies and type-A personalities like me, and it also turns out that matching my love of learning to the right subject matter was exactly what I needed. The whole process was like a rocket taking off- exciting, and left me fully committed to perfection and excellence within my profession. To some degree, it’s nothing like you see on TV, and to another degree it’s exactly like that. Think Gordon Ramsey but with real customers and a profit requirement. It sucks to be one of a dozen cooks, so the competition to become the chef is fierce- and for those that make it- pretty sweet. The ones who were climbed over usually come out looking for a real job, opening the door for the newbies, and so the cycle begins again. The chefs who went to culinary school come out with heavier soled shoes, perfect for stepping on people. I was working about 70 hours per week, taking on extra jobs for the “experience” of working for so and so here or there!

I met my husband (also a chef) and eventually we decided to start a family. Well, nothing like running into a brick wall! As is my personality, I wasn’t about to be a half-ass parent either, so from exclusive breastfeeding to homeschooling and making my own baby-food, I left my career and took a job teaching culinary arts at the local community college so I could start my new profession of parent. My kids (4 of them) have been front and center for 15 years. Since I don’t sit still, I have always had tons of hobbies. Teaching culinary, while ok, doesn’t really do it for me. I started a few businesses, wrote a book, taught CE classes to housewives, started a non-profit group, did volunteer labor assisting, and triathlon training. After about 10 years, the frustrations that I felt were two-fold. First, I hated the apathy that is allowed to exist in a community college setting. I had grown tired of the dance CC instructors must do between coddling, inspiring, and retention. Teaching? No, teaching is what I do with my kids- giving them resilience, a flame, and a mountain to climb…I had to be sure that our students (aka customers) were happy . Anyway, clearly teaching is not chef work-for people who want to do chef work, but it was the only compromise that made sense at the time and I have no regrets for the past- as to the future, that’s another story.

Faced with burn out, I decided to enrich my mind and earn a degree. I already had plenty of what I needed in my field, but just something non-related to what I already knew. Frankly, I was bored. My classes had to be online since I still had to teach school to my kids until 3 then college kids till 9. I jumped in and took anything that interested me! This was the first time I EVER took a class that wasn’t related to my career. Very refreshing and therapeutic – indulgent, but worthy. After a few months, I discovered CLEP exams. I developed an addiction , which was cured because I ran out of tests- I think I tested out of 51 credits that semester. After two years, I had exceeded the requirements for a degree in Social Sciences, so I grabbed that degree with a 3.8 and kept on going. I had exhausted the social sciences, so started on the natural sciences. I have taken online lab courses in chemistry, biology, AP 1, and AP 2 (www.ocean.edu) and have really enjoyed learning the material. I’m scheduled for the second semester II bios and chems, plus physics 1. This brings me to the present day.

I intentionally didn’t expound on my fascination with medicine. I left it out because I didn’t figure it was unique- I’ll assume everyone here has a passion or else they wouldn’t be here.

What has brought me here is that I have decided to change careers. I’ve played with this idea ever since I took my first college class and realized that it was possible if made the commitment. I have enjoyed the success of my 20 years, but I really truly want my reentry into the workforce to be significant and meaningful. I have played around keeping my mind busy for long enough, though I’m within 2 more years of being freed up from my homeschool obligation to my children, I’m ready to do a post-bac and go for med school. I long for the excitement and atmosphere of being around driven people. Having watched culinary-career-changers fall away left and right, I wasn’t about to make this decision without long and hard thought. It took me a year before I even said it out loud, there is an element of “targeting failure” among chefs, and remember, I’m married to one lol. I have shared this with a few people whose opinions I respect, and their reaction has been varied- but typically it’s that I’d be crazy. It’s too hard, it’s too long, and it’s too expensive. (I am old enough, however, to know the difference between opinions and advice) My dept head has suggested I enroll in our school’s nursing program. In fact, several of my colleagues tell me I’d make a wonderful nurse. I can tell all of you with certainty, I’m very familiar with nursing (and the instructors), and I certainly do not want to be a nurse. I’d consider doing it as a pass-through to becoming a DNP prepared mid-level provider, but my fear is in reaching that point and knowing that I blew my last shot. I’m only doing this once, and I want to do it right.

Whew- if you hung in there with me, I really really appreciate it!

I have a few questions. First, I want to ask about my online credits. Is it even reasonable to apply for a post bac since my BA degree was earned online? Specifically, I’m looking at Northwestern in Evanston, IL . Of course the website doesn’t specifically say anything about online courses prohibiting admission, but from what I’ve read here, I know this will be a barrier to my success. Please don’t suggest “just apply and see what happens” because even at the end of a post-bac program, and even with excellent grades, I’d still have an online undergrad degree. I guess what I’d like to know is if anyone here has first-hand knowledge of someone being accepted to med school with an online undergrad.

If one of you can say “yes” then that’s good enough for me. I’m highly motivated, and if someone else has done it, then I believe it can be done again.

Of course, nursing schools don’t care about online degrees- in fact, many offer degrees online. So, if my online degree is seriously a deal breaker- I’ll set my sights on the DNP and move forward. *I even have one picked out just in case lol.

What an absolutely fascinating story! Thank you for sharing it. I sincerely enjoyed reading it. As for your questions, I only looked into one formal post-bacc program and had contacted an advisor there because my undergrad degree was partially completed online. It also came from a school I view as somewhat of a degree mill or not a “real” school. I was very surprised to hear the advisor actually praise it as a good school and tell me that there are other alumni from my school in that post-bacc program. I ended up deciding against applying only because it would have been quite a commute for me. Instead I’m doing a DIY post-bacc at a state university.

My suggestion to you would be to contact the post-bacc programs you’re interested in and see what they say. I’ve found admissions advisors overall to be very helpful so far in my pre-med experience. Hopefully you’ll find the same. Best of luck to you!

Thank you very much. My undergrad, though online, was from a state school that’s regionally accredited… but still, it’s clearly an online college geared toward adults, which you would discover in a two minute google search. Your conversation b/t you and the advisor is very encouraging to me! I am planning a formal visit before the start of summer session registration, however, admission guys are salesmen- so I’m keeping my eyes and ears WIDE open here. Thanks for letting me know.

  • cookderosa Said:

Of course, nursing schools don’t care about online degrees- in fact, many offer degrees online. So, if my online degree is seriously a deal breaker- I’ll set my sights on the DNP and move forward. *I even have one picked out just in case lol.

First, good luck and the best in whatever you choose to do.

Second, nursing does care about online degrees. The online degrees for nursing are not open to those without actual nursing licenses and clinical experience or nursing clinical practicums, etc. They are for those with nursing school completion--say a three year hospital-based RN program or a 2 year ADN program and those that have clnical experience as a RN. They are more or less completion programs for a full four year undergrad degree, but graduates of all National League of Nursing Accredited programs regardless of university or whatever, sit for the same board-licensing exam--NCLEX-RN. And even then the online programs require clinical practicums, either offered through their clinical sites, or you must get approval thorough hospitals or related centers that are then also approved by the program--and they must meet NLN accreditation and other requirements.

When people see these online RN programs, I have to laugh my butt off;

b/c they seem to believe you can actually become a graduate professional nurse and be eligible to sit before the NCLEX-RN exam by going through an all online program. It's kind of goofy, but that is exactly what people think. LOL

They think wrong.

You can't become a professional nurse through an all online program. I think this even applies to LPN (practical nurse) programs.

I also have to add that the master programs are again partially online--but you're not going to become a NP or obtain some advanced practice degree in nursing without actually doing clinical work in approved clinical sites. LOL. It won't and doesn't happen, period.

So I just couldn't resist adding this, though it does not address your post at all. Sorry.

Again, good luck.

Thank you! And thank you for defending the nurses

Yes, I understand the RN requirement aspect. If you earn an RN through a diploma or ADN program, you can apply directly to grad school via bridge program and science completion. This is a common entry method for career changers who hold bachelor’s degrees in other fields. This must always be done in a F2F program - there is only 1 RA college in the country that has an online RN option. The online programs are certainly for experienced RNs who are continuing their education.

I didn’t mean to make light of the academic requirements or dismiss the RN process- far from it!! My point only being that my online credits wouldn’t prevent me from becoming a nurse. I’m not SEEKING online education. What’s done is done. I’m just planning for the next step

Thank you for taking time to reply!