Starting the Journey and I Need Help!


I’m 24, and I am taking the first steps towards my goal of a becoming a physician. I just graduated from undergrad with only two science courses, and I am already hungry to go back and start this journey. I had the privilege of having some wonderful mentors that have helped me gain clarity about the decision to go into medicine. Unfortunately, I didn’t find those mentors until my senior year of college. I will be taking a year off from school to serve in an Americorps program (which I am super excited about), and then I will be taking the plunge into pre med courses. Along the way I plan to shadow doctors and volunteer. For me, it’s always helpful to see a blueprint of a plan before I create my own. There seem to be some wonderful and inspirational people on this site. I was hoping someone could give me advice and a sort of sample plan of how to go about this journey. Also, I’ll be living in chicago. If anyone knows of inexpensive post bacc programs, please let me know. I’m seriously considering UIC as an option. Well, that was a lot, but any advice would be helpful. Thanks!!

Welcome - sounds like you have a good plan taking shape already. You’re already getting into Americorps, so look for ways you can weave your interest in medicine into that. No matter what you’re doing, you can probably find a way to get a community health aspect into something. Be a leader and use that experience to test your interest.

Stick close with your mentors, keep them updated on what you’re doing. Look for ways you can get some clinical experience (with all of the free time? I know that’s easier said than done.)

Since you already know you’ll need to get the pre-reqs done, it’s not like you need all of your volunteering/shadowing experience right away. Collect those experiences as you can during Americorps, but above all, be prepared to apply for post-bacs with a story in mind about why medicine, why now. It sounds like the next year or two will give you plenty of material to work with.

And just enjoy yourself. You’ll be in for some crazy busy years after Americorps, so embrace the different kind of crazy busy Americorps will bring.

Welcome, and congratulations my friend on deciding to begin this amazing-yet-formidable journey. Reading through your short introduction, I heard a lot of my story in your words. I too was fortunate enough to come into contact with a handful of wonderful mentors, including professors and a Polish physician who urged me to change my career plan from law to medicine. Just about everyone I have come across who are in positions of accomplishment have emphatically applauded my decision, which is in-and-of-itself immensely motivating.

And you will certainly NEED as much motivation as you can find for this journey!

As far as the “route” I chose to take, I had considered doing a postbacc, however, it was more feasible (and affordable) for me to do a do-it-yourself (DIY). Having spoken with several science faculty, this option is just as good (if not better in some respects) than a postbacc program. I have two required courses left, Org Chem II (which I’m currently taking) Phys II and I will also be taking Biochem I.

The best advice I could give you would be this: Communicate, communicate, communicate! With your mentors as well as with people on this board. The pool of non-traditional pre-med and med students is growing rapidly as many folks, for a myriad of different reasons, are concluding that their real calling in life is in medicine. This expansion has naturally led to a wealth of information and resources coming available for people like you and I. Take advantage of anything that you can get your hands on. It’ll help you navigate through this journey successfully.