Long time lurker here. I think its time to post. I need advice and the only way to get it is to be vulnerable and honest. This post is long despite the truncated nature of the story. Here goes:
I’ve made many, many mistakes. Beginning in 2006, I began my undergraduate career as a student-athlete at a small liberal arts school on the east coast. Like many athletes, I wanted to pursue my sport after college. However, a tumultuous stretch of growing up as a teenager in the shadow of really smart siblings, as being an outsider in school, and feeling like I did not have an identity caused big insecurities heading into college. I found alcohol as a great way to escape, and it gave me an identity in college. During college I drank, played my sport, suffered academically (2.59 GPA), and encountered legal trouble. I got arrested twice during my 4 years at school, one of those arrests was a DUI. The arresting officer was part of the university police force and I lied to the police officer when he asked if I had anything to drink that night. I said no. The university saw this as an honor code violation and dismissed me two weeks later.
When my parents found out about what happened, my dad told me not to return home. My mom told me to move back to California where I could stay with her while I figured things out. Being so ashamed of myself and worrisome of what would happen in court, I continued to drink - a much longer story short - I got another DUI in California. I couldn’t quit drinking, I couldn’t shake the sorrow, I couldn’t stop the shame I felt. My mom eventually had enough of my crap and told me to leave. I was homeless, sleeping in my car, couch surfing through my friend group when suddenly I woke up to the fact that I have to change.
I stopped drinking. I got a job at a restaurant and saved up enough money to get an apartment with a coworker. I clawed through the restaurant business for a couple of years. I also began practicing yoga. Eventually, I became certified to teach yoga. I quit the restaurant and got a job with a medical device company. For a year I worked at the medical device company, where I eventually met my Wife, and taught yoga part-time where I found a passion for helping people. Yoga only offers a small lens through which I can offer help and in the back of my head I knew I wanted to finish school. I relayed my desire to complete school to my wife, who also was ready for a change. We packed the kids up and moved out of state to start over.
We began our own business, I continued to teach yoga and started on the premed journey in January of 2019. Since then, I’ve excelled academically, making straight A’s (One semester at a Community college, the rest at a Four year state school) in all of my classes. I am slated to take my MCAT in January of 2021, apply to medical school this upcoming semester, and finally graduate from undergrad in Fall of 2021. To combat the negative stigma surrounding my past, I reached out to the head doctor at my current job, and she got me in touch with the state medical society. We secured a spot in the physicians health program where I take 4 breathalyzers per day and submit to random drug screenings. I enrolled in this program voluntarily to provide objective data to adcoms showing my commitment to becoming a physician.
To give some perspective on where I stand currently as an applicant:
32 years old, non-trad
cGPA 3.11, sGPA 3.52
MCAT: taking in Jan 2021
Clinical Hours : 320+ (I’m a licenced EMT working at the university hospital in the Pre-Anesthesia Clinic)
Volunteer hours: 120+ mixed experiences with yoga and hospital volunteering
Research: none, but I’m working on getting a volunteer research position for Spring ‘21
This is the story in a nutshell. All of my legal trouble is 9 years old and I feel like I’ve rounded the corner in my life where I have a true purpose and drive. I also know how competitive it is getting into medical school. My situation and past behavior doesn’t lend itself to a great application. I’ve done everything I can think of to show my commitment and prove that I am not who I used to be. The uncertainty is unbearable at times. Not knowing if this hard work will have the intended result, but I am here – working on being honest and vulnerable.
Am I crazy to think I can become a physician?