New Kid on the block

Perhaps I should simply begin by saying thank you and hello. Thank you and hello!

Like so many on this site, I too have been moved, motivated, edified etc. There are stories that I relate so well to that I might as well have been writing them myself. More important than those that I relate to though are the time consuming explanations of situations, experiences, references and so on posted by members with the only intention of helping another, like me, to succeed. I am very grateful for this resource.

I have read many of the diaries, personal accounts, and testimonials and believe that there must be some catharsis in putting to words where we come from and where we intend to go. Many, it appears, state here what they are not yet prepared to share with even their spouses/family/friends. I somewhat fall into that category.

I want to be a Doctor! I said it.

I am 39 year old husband, father (3 y/o and one in the oven), airline pilot and occasional beer and wine tester. My undergraduate work is in general aviation studies and is mostly incomplete. I began college in 89’ and managed to fail out of three Universities. I have all A s in my aviation related studies, however, nearly every other subject I have F s and W s. Despite this, I managed to matriculate through the airlines and have flown several different airliners around the world.

I have enjoyed my career immensely and over the years gained what I lacked in college i.e. discipline, determination, mental fortitude, humility and so on. I respect those that make aviation a career until retirement but I do not wish to do so.

I have enrolled in an online introductory algebra class this fall. I would like to continue flying for a year or so and pursuits online would be perfect. Believe it or not, much of my time is not spent up in the air but rather in hotels with internet. I have read some of the debates on this site regarding online university and realize it is not the best method of getting the medical school nod. That said, it is my intention to get through my AS in Biology via CCD online and with the help of guaranteed transfer credit and degree, quit flying and attend the traditional brick and mortar University of Colorado Denver to finish my BS in Biology .

As an aside, my wife recently finished her residency as an OB GYN and as such is a wonderful resource for both the good and not so good. I would like her to have a minute of time though between her career fruition and my ambition. OB GYN residency was a bi%#h.

Lofty goal eh? Ok now pile on the crap people.


LEt me be the first to say welcome and that you are among kindred spirits here.

I encourage you to read up on the diaries and some of the FAQs because many times you will have a question and you will think that you have a unique problem. A lot of times you will see that you questions will be answered because of “been there done that”. There usually is no question that you have that has not already been asked and answered.

Read up on the presentations from the conference and the best way you get the maximum out of the organization is to be an active participant.

We hope to hear from you as you start your journey and once again, welcome.

Welcome, Ben! Good to “meet” you here on OPM.

I’ve got tons of family in the Denver/Boulder area (I’m originally from there, years back), and I’m jealous that you have mountains to look at every day. Here in Chicago I’ve got … well … buildings. I love Chicago, but the view is not so nice.

Anyway, I digress.

Congratulations on beginning your journey. I’m in the early stages myself (starting post-bac pre-med program this fall), so I’m not the most knowledgable about this process. I do have a couple of comments for you, though. As you said yourself, online classes are not ideal. And with your past grades – several F’s and W’s – you really need to prove to the ADCOMS that you can hack it in a regular classroom (and lab) at a 4-year university. Not online, and not community college either. Perhaps someone with decent grades could get away with online/comm college classes, but you need to make up for those past grades with a stellar performance (in the most challenging environment possible) now. That’s my perspective, at least.

In addition (and I’m sure you are aware of this), DO schools replace old grades with new ones when you retake a course. So if you took Bio 101 and got an F, retake Bio 101 and get an A and a DO school will factor a 4.0 into your GPA for that course. An MD school will average the grades. Something to consider when it comes to applying to schools – DO schools are more forgiving in terms of old grades when you retake the classes and get a better grade. Either way, though, you need to show a serious upward trend. Which it sounds like you plan on doing.

Remember, too, to make time for volunteer work, clinical experiences, shadowing, etc. ADCOMS want to see a dedication to the field, and a compassion for people.

One question: You mention you fall into the category of people who aren’t ready to share this dream with family/friends etc. I’m assuming your wife knows, however. How does she feel about this goal? You’ll need her support here, especially with having kids. My husband was extremely reticent about my going to med school at first, and still has his doubtful days (especially when he thinks about how much debt we’ll be accumulating over the next 7 or so years). In fact, we’re still having disagreements about different things related to med school, things I thought we had worked out (but apparently had not). Point is, I recommend getting things really straight with your spouse. It’ll make things a lot easier in the short AND long term.

Keep us up to date on your progress. Hope to see you around the board!

Thank you Gabriel and Terra.

I do indeed plan to continue to use this site shamelessly…perhaps even contribute every now and again!

Regarding online and CC courses, I will to talk to the medical schools that I intend to apply to and ask them directly how they feel about either of the two. As I mentioned I will follow up with a BS from a brick and mortar respectable institution. Colorado Universities appear to have a progressive attitude towards either or both of these options if you do in fact finish traditionally. I admit this is only with a cursory glance but it seems to be an opinion shared by many on this site including OldManDave. Either way though it is a question I will pose to those that actually make those decisions.


welcome ben…enjoy the journey!!

i remember well me telling my husband i want to be a doctor…we were sitting in fagolis at the time…that seems like eons ago.

and now the dream becomes reality in the fall…

it CAN happen!!! (even if you have failing grades )

Hi Becky,

This sort of encouragement goes a long way! I too remember those early days with my wife when she was just beginning her pursuit as a physician. She was initially very uncomfortable even being known as Dr. That was a long time ago.


Oh and congratulations!!! You must be on cloud nine.


Ok, so today I had the opportunity to speak directly with the Health Sciences (Medical) Advisor. Among some of the items we talked about is the idea of course work being completed at the community college level while finishing at a four year institution. I also mentioned my previous bad grades some 20 years ago. While he reminded me of the work ahead, he was very much in support of the idea as long as several upper level science courses were completed at the four year institution. I suspect he even believed that it was responsible with regard to tuition etc.

Colorado may be unique in that Colorado University Schools guarantee transfer of several degree programs from selected community colleges including AS Biology, either online or traditional.



illinois used to have a similar program where they would transfer your credits from a community college into their degree program and have it meet all of their prereq requirements. of course this was eons ago and it may have changed by now.

i took my prereqs ata comminity college but all my advanced level coursework at the 4 yr university. funnily i have never had a problem with my prereqs…my problem was wit the way my undergrad structured ochem. we had a separate lab course that was 16wks and offered as a separate class apart from lab, before this started becoming more “popular” i had a dickens of a time explaining to schools that i did indeed do every experiment i would do over the course of 32 wks in merely 16

and thanks on the congrats…we are indeed on cloud nine and VERY excited over here!!!


It was my original plan to continue flying until mid December while taking an online algebra class, however, plans have changed. My wife and I went through our budget and decided that I should quit my airline pilot career now and start full time at the community college. This will afford me the opportunity to focus solely on studies, err studies coupled with wife and kids. In approximately one year I will transfer to the four year institute and complete a BS in biology.

Couple of questions. Is it too soon to start reading MCAT prep books? I realize that I need to “hit the cover off the ball” with regard to the MCAT and want to best prepare myself. Any thoughts? The actual test is still a couple of years away. Second, do residency programs look at age when considering applicants? This forum is proof that med schools etc will take on much older students, however, I have yet to read (this is probably because I have not done much research) about older (read: 45+) med students getting into competitive residencies. I like the idea of Anesthesia and Interventional Radiology.




Your plan makes sense, Ben. Focusing on your studies rather than dividing your attention sounds like a better idea to me, at least.

So you are starting this fall full time at your local CC? What courses are you taking? Just curious.

I wish you the best!

P.S. OldManDave (was that what your “OMD” stood for? I wasn’t sure) did anesthesiology as a residency, plus a critical care fellowship, if memory serves. Take a look at his diary and posts for more info.

Thank you Terra. Yeah, if I look at my early college experience in earnest, I see a kid that tried to take on too much at once. I was working full time and taking something like 18-21 hrs per semester. All that with no real plan or tools for success.

My wife Kristin and were able to bring our household expenses down and should have no problem living well on her salary. The scary part is that I will have no excuse not to do exceptionally well.

So I am going to the CC for the first 3 semesters and then transferring to the 4 year university. Initially I am taking biology 1, his, alg, and anthropology 101. During the spring I will take bio 2, phys 1 and calc…

The “OMD ?” thing was more of a question for Old Man Dave. I realize that I did not make this very clear. It should read “OMD what do you think?”.


  • terra_incognita Said:

P.S. OldManDave (was that what your "OMD" stood for? I wasn't sure) did anesthesiology as a residency, plus a critical care fellowship, if memory serves. Take a look at his diary and posts for more info.

and is also one of the founders of this site. He is now Medical Director of an ICU in Indiana

Wow, when I read this post I knew I had to sign up and answer.

First let me introduce myself, I’m Chris and I have been reading and trolling around this site for almost a year now. For years now I’ve been toying around with the idea of become a doctor (actually since I was a kid). I screwed around in college, didn’t get the best grades, and now I find myself day in and day out trying to figure out what I should do with my life. As my username states…I’m an undecided mess. But after all my thinking and contemplating I always come back to the realization that I want to be a doc.

Anyways, enough about me I want to address MHOM. Not so much because I have great insight on how to get to Med School, but because I’ve already run the route (more like stumbled down) he’s about to take.

Ben, it’s nice to meet you buddy! I think you’re going to do great things, and just from your posts I can tell you have the enthusiasm to get it done. I actually graduated with my BS in Biology from UCD in 2006 so you’ll be in practically the same boat as I was in. Any help or assistance I can provide about the journey is all yours!

You know I’m really glad I found this site, and I’m hoping that maybe by picking a few brains here I can finally figure out whether medicine is the right thing for me. It’s nice to meet you all!


Update…sorry for the time elapse since my last “check in”. I began classes at the end of August and now that I am half way through I thought it would be appropriate to discuss my progression thus far.

First, to all you that began school a long time ago and created a train wreck, please read! It is easier as a “grown up” to get the grades and focus on what is important. Although I had been an airline pilot for several years and knew I had the hubris, I let FUD get into my plans. Now however, I am getting (knock on wood) all A’s. It can be done.

Second, while there are definitely people that are naturally smarter than others, most people believe they are not capable because of poor educational experiences early on. I am finding success in education is more a matter of hard work, discipline, and determination. I am sure that is old news to many of you but I know there are few out there like me that are just figuring this out.

Ok back to swimming.


OK - I am jumping on to this thread, as it is good to see people from Denver.

My story is different, I convinced myself as a teenager that I do not want to be a doctor. I basically used this decision to declare my independence.

I have no regrets there, as I feel there is nothing better in life than to do things that you believe in. I wish I had known about my beliefs earlier … but this is “my way” … I hear Sinatra!

Good Luck to you.