Dear Dr. Gray,
I just wanted to preface that I recently found your podcasts from a classmate’s recommendation. It was great advice because I have found the facebook community to be truly supportive to members. I also commend you on being available to so many students who are in need or advice and guidance on this route. I know for me, family and others have generally come first before my own goals. I am just recently figuring out how much I have let the priorities of others’, no matter how important they may be, overtake the need to prioritize my own goals. So Thank you for being available especially to non-traditional students.
I have compiled a few questions for you. I would really appreciate any guidance you may be able to provide. Thank you in advance!
I worked in clinical research for 6-7 years (on clinical trials). Would that count towards clinical experience or research experience? How would that be broken down? For three and an half years I approached patients in the ED for an observational study for enrollment and follow-up. We also completed Cognitive assessments on patients with potential delirium, and scored them on the CAM. I managed staff and three studies at this role as well as managing the paperwork to the IRB. I then joined another hospital where I worked for the department GI cancers and approached all new patients for consent into our sample and data collection study for GI cancers. I would see the patients and collect the samples, and transport them for storage aside from managing the administrative tasks associated with this. I also worked on a study where we approached patients for consent who have pancreatic diseases including pancreatitis, pancreas cysts and cancers. I took part in consenting, sample collection, processing, managing study documents and staff. I also took part in meeting with the sponsors and quarterly joint steering committee meetings where I had to come up with slides or present.
I started retaking chemistry this semester but I do not know if I should continue with chemistry or just take upper level biology courses. I have been listening to your podcast for old premeds and the premed podcast. I understand that it may be that I am on an upward trend since finishing college but am concerned because I took my premed courses over 10 years ago. Of the classes after college, 2 of the 5 have been at a community college. Otherwise, they have been night classes at a 4 yr institution. Now, my overall GPA is: 3.17 and a science GPA of 3.14. During college, I had difficulty deciding on English vs biology for a major. I decided on biology my junior year and then had to double/ triple on sciences with lab. That didn’t do my gpa any good but I was worried at the time because my high school did not have very rigorous science prep available. I graduated with an overall GPA of 2.99 and science GPA of 2.75 (excluding math courses). When I took chemistry, I got a B-, now, my grade is an A. I don’t know how it will look to admissions for retaking it though? Should I be doubling up with an upper level biology course along with my full time job? I took a few classes in the past but had gotten B and B+ in them because I had prioritized my work.
I have not had time with the clinical research jobs to do volunteering the past years. The jobs have generally required a 50-60 he work week because I was an exempt employee. This year, I am in industry and now have regular hours. But I have had a family issue to deal with early in the year and now, I am back to taking classes. Will it be hard to explain why I haven’t been volunteering since I started the clinical research jobs?
Thank you, and Happy Holidays.