My Story

As I was importing all my old messages onto my new computer, I came across this post describing the rather odd way that I finally got around to applying to medical school. I really found similar stories of other OPMs helpful when I was going through the application process.

All those out there applying to, currently in, or graduated from medical school… post your stories as well. Maybe someone will find them helpful. At the least, we’ll have the pleasure of reading about ourselves on the internet. :)

From the OPM list, March 11, 2001:

OK, here goes. I’m 33 and married with 2 kids (3.5 years and 6 months old). I graduated (barely…2.37 GPA) from Texas A&M in 1990 with a BS in psychology. I went to paramedic school at Houston Community College concurrently with A&M and graduated with a paramedic certificate in 1988. I then worked as a paramedic to pay for my last two years of undergrad.

After graduating, I got married and moved to New York for graduate school. While there, I worked as a paramedic in Yonkers, NY and then in Greenwich, CT and Danbury, CT. After taking courses as quickly as I could, I graduated with an MS in EMS from New York Medical College in 1992. We then promptly moved back to Texas.

I then spent the next 9 years doing EMS education and educational administration. Finally, about 2 1/2 years ago, right after building a paramedic AAS degree program at Temple College (just north of Austin), Nile pestered me into writing a pharmacology chapter for a paramedic text. I agreed and then looked into the content that I was expected to write. I realized very quickly that I didn’t have the chemistry background so I started taking inorganic chemistry in order to take organic. Sometime during my first semester of organic, I realized I wanted to go to medical school. Even though I’d decided that, I was looking for every reason I could find to put it off another year. I think the MCAT was scaring the shit out of me. Fortunately, Rachel (who, at the time, was in my organic course) abused me into registering for the #### thing. I took it the next semester and did fairly well.

All in all, I took almost all of my post-bacc courses at community colleges. That added up to 8 hours of A&P, 8 of inorganic, 8 of organic, 8 of physics, 4 of calculus. Since I couldn’t take upper division courses at a CC, I swallowed my pride (remember, I’m an Aggie) and took biochem at UT in Austin.

After that, it was pretty straightforward. I applied to 10 schools, interviewed at 6 and was accepted by 4. Being a Texas resident, I went with the seriously cheap tuition. I’ll be starting at UTMB in Galveston in August.

I’m a walking example of the reason people with shitty undergraduate GPAs shouldn’t give up their dream for medical school. With a 3.8 graduate GPA (36 hours) and a 4.0 post-bacc GPA (39 hours), my overall only came up to just under 3.0. I actually got in with less than a 3.0! I promise you, at least some ad coms look at trends and life experiences.

As porky says (BTW, today is apparently the notorious pig’s birthday), that’s all folks!

Take care,

In a nut shell,
Graduated from high school in 1982.

Messed around for several years with Community Colleges in California (when I started there was no tuition) because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

I joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1986 and received an honorable discharge in 1992.

In 1987, I started working as a firefighter in a small suburban town. I earned an associate degree in Fire Science in 1988. Then in 1989, I started working as a firefighter in San Jose and moved on to San Jose State where I finally earned my BA (11 years after graduating from high school).

In 1990, I was called up to active duty and stationed at MCAS Yuma for the duration of Desert Storm.

In 1996, San Jose decided to put paramedics on all it’s fire engines so I volunteered to be in the first paramedic class. As part of my training, I had to work in the emergency department at the county hospital (which was also affiliated with Stanford so it was chaulk full of residents.) One of my responsibilities was to get initial histories on patients. I decided that a good way to get good at it was to watch some doctors do it. I asked a couple residents if they’d mind if I watched them. I was in my early 30s at the time and most of the residents were in there late 20s so something started happening that I thought was funny at the time. The doctor would ask a question and the patients would lean over, look past the resident and answer me. I thought it was hilarious that they thought I was a doctor. Then I started to think hey, there might be something to this so I started asking attendings and residents what I needed to do to become a doctor.

I didn’t really know much about post-bacc programs so I just started taking the premed classes on my own.

Hey Jeff698, congrats! I just applied to the Texas schools. No interviews, probably b/c I got the app. in on Nov 1. Ooops. Anyhow, my story is pretty similar to yours. Hopefully my ending will be as well. Rock on!