oldpremed post-graduation anxiety

Well, I’ve recently finished up my bachelor’s degree in general studies. Yay! Now what?

My ultimate goal has always been to go to medical school. I am downright terrified about the process though, and although I’ve got a good GPA and lots of volunteer and research experience, I’m worried about some past mistakes I’ve made affecting my application such as multiple withdrawals in my first 2 years of undergrad.

I have to wait until 2014 to send my med application because I missed the MCAT deadline at most universities. Although going into medicine takes patience, I am getting anxious that in my late 20’s I am still under-qualified for any jobs that don’t involve making coffee.

Because of this “what am I doing with my life” anxiety, I have opted to write the LSAT (current practice scores are at 169 so I’m optimistic) and apply to law this year while I wait for the next round of med applications and the May MCAT to start, although law isn’t really what I’ve always wanted for myself. I am also planning on applying to veterinary medicine this year, and am also considering taking a masters in immunology or a second degree in biomedical lab science.

I’ve always been told not to put all your eggs in one basket.

I am posting this thread because I am hoping for an objective opinion on getting into medical school at this point in my life.

If I get into VetMed or law and decide I STILL want to pursue medicine, will medical schools frown on me if I apply while already attending a professional school? Obviously, if I leave without completing the degree, I took a spot in law/vet that could have been given to someone else. However, the job market is poor at this time for lawyers and vets, which is also why I still plan to apply to med whether I get into law/vet or not.

If I decide to go for a masters or the medlab science 2nd degree, I would get another opportunity to improve my grades even more and gain lab and research experience, which is obviously helpful to a medical school application. However, I fear that if I STILL don’t get in after a couple years of trying, I’m stuck with a degree that I can’t do much with, especially considering the huge cutbacks in education funding which means fewer jobs in the academic sciences.

If you share my anxieties, please feel free to vent on this thread. I’d love to relate to someone. Can anyone give me their opinions or advice or past experiences to help me decide which path I should take?

Looking forward to hearing your friendly opinions.

IMHO - Travel, a lot. Experience the WORLD!! Before you get tied to a mortgage or a school district ( kids). Try as many different things as you can, and see what makes your HEART sing!!! A job for the sake of a job, or a career for the sake of a career, is, in my experience, a waste. You have to get up every day feeling in you soul that THIS is what you want to do!! And there is the possibility that it may reinvent itself over time. I was an equestrian, who became a CNA, who became a CNA for the developmentally disabled, who became a single mom, who went back to school at 32 for social work, did that for 18 years and am now working on becoming a doctor. It was MANY EXPERIENCES in lots of places and cultures that led me down this path. You are well qualified with a bachelor’s to be a case manager, or even a med assistant in a community health center. Try that for a while and see if it is your cup of tea. And TRAVEL. Kurt Vonnegut said, " Everyone should live in California once, but leave before it makes them soft. Everyone should live in New York once, but leave before it makes them hard." Any experience is experience, and it will lead you in the direction of your heart…

It sounds simplistic, but here it is: follow your passion. Make a plan, even a long-term plan, and go for it.

More specific to you: please, please don’t go to law school (or become a vet or a doctor, for that matter) if you’re not passionate about it. For law specifically, the job market is horrendous, the student loans crushing and the work soul-sucking if it’s not your passion. By my count, that would have you screwed professionally, financially and emotionally.

Why would you ever consider doing that to yourself?

There’s no law that says you need one full-time job while you’re figuring things out. Test things (yes, travel, if you can), seek out new experiences, keep volunteering, find what gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning.

But don’t sink yourself possibly another $100K into debt and jump around advanced degrees just because you’re not clear on a path. Get clear, then get going.

I just turned 30 years old this August. I will have completed all my pre-req courses by the Spring and taken my MCAT. I actually plan on applying for the 2015 year, because I want to work for at least a year as a clinical research coordinator, a post-graduate certificate course I am currently completing alongside my pre-reqs. It’s interesting that you mentioned considering law school, something I would STRONGLY advise you to think very long and hard about.

My master’s is in Law and Public Policy, a degree I finished largely because I THOUGHT I wanted to be a lawyer. After speaking at length with several lawyers, as well as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and after considering the rather abysmal job market for lawyers, I quickly concluded that if I was going to 1) Go for a professional degree and 2) Borrow a frightening large sum of money to do so, I had better choose an occupation that will be both professionally satisfying and financially sound. You would probably be doing yourself a disservice by going into law, especially (ESPECIALLY!!) if it isn’t something you are not absolutely convinced about pursuing. For me, the simple truth regarding this non-traditional journey to medicine is that you must be completely and totally captivated by this journey. While doubt may linger, you must be steadfast in this commitment. Half-stepping is the surest way to failure! So keep your eyes on the prize…if you have to take one or two detours do so, but never waver from the end goal.

I’m a little confused, are you applying to Vet med and law as a plan B to med school? Or are you genuinely interested in those fields?

If you’re doing it as a plan B, that’s going to be an awful lot of debt you’re going to be in, for something you may not even like that much. Financially it’s not a good decision (unless you are independently wealthy) Plus if you do get interviews at med schools, they are going to grill you over your commitment to medicine. Medical schools take commitment pretty seriously. It’s a grueling process that takes a lot of dedication and they don’t want people to drop out.

If you are genuinely interested in Law or Vet Med really take some time to explore that,because if you’re not passionate about medicine you are going to hate medical school.I couldn’t see myself doing ANYTHING else, and I still get unmotivated at times because of the daunting schedule.

If you’re just looking at something to fill your time before you apply, do more volunteer work, take some extra classes, gain some more experiences.

I don’t mean to be discouraging, you can most definitely get into medical school at this point in your life. As you’ve probably seen in other threads, don’t let Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) distract you from your goal.

Whatever you decide, good luck in your future endeavors!