UNCG Postbacc Experience

Okay folks, been lurking a while, finally asking for some input. Like many of you, I’m a 30 year old crazy person who thinks that medical school is a viable option. I live 30 minutes from Greensboro and their post-bacc program would be perfect for me. I’ve looked into it and have a meeting with Dr. Cannon next friday.

What I need from you;

Are there any posters here who have actually gone through the program? Give me any tips or tricks or things you think I might need to know please.

Any insightful questions you think I should ask Dr. Cannon next week? The main ones I have are mainly administrative, asking if I can take a lab in a semester after a lecture course, etc.

Finally, my wife is expecting our first child in February. Is this a non-starter for taking class in the Spring? I know, with my luck, that the baby would decide to come when I’m stuck in lecture thirty minutes away. Has anyone dealt with this situation?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Welcome!! Best of luck as you jump into your post-bacc journey!

I can’t speak to the specific program you are talking about, but I CAN speak to the baby issue. Congratulations, first of all. I am due in February with our 3rd girl…being a parent is the best thing I’ve ever done! I hope you guys enjoy every second.

The first time around, you can’t envision doing much else besides parenting, because you’ve never done it before. But very, very quickly (as with anything new), you find a new rhythm and establish a new homeostasis of sorts. It becomes your new normal, and you wonder what in the world you did with all your time before you had kids?

I wouldn’t let your first little one stop you from getting started in this program. If it’s what you want to do, and you have the support of your wife? Don’t let baby stop you. Just think of it as another variable to factor in–not a road block.

I found a million and one reasons not to do this…and that went on for a long time. In my opinion, starting classes in the spring vs starting classes in the fall? No huge difference, other than the newness of baby in the spring. I actually think spring would be a little better, because for much of that first semester, your wife will be on maternity leave from her work (assuming she is working), and that will free her up more to assume baby duty when you have to be in class.

As for your worries about Baby coming while you are in lecture? I promise you’d have time to get there. You’ll know when your wife goes into labor, and unless you’re walking? You’d have time to make the 30 minute trip.

Starting a post-bacc program: Big. Having a first baby: BIG. Both together? Totally possible… It just takes planning and lots of grace/understanding on the part of both you and your wife.

Again, congratulations…nothing better than seeing that little one for the first time!!

I am also unable to speak to the specifics of the Greensboro program. However, I began a formal post-bacc program this year and my first child was born 1.5 weeks before the end of the second summer session.

While I agree with Carrieliz that you will adapt quickly to family life, the initial transition can be pretty chaotic. I naively envisioned an effortless delivery (hopefully over a weekend), brief hospital stay and a rapid resumption of academic work. The reality is that the baby came midweek, labor lasted overnight and wife and child were in the hospital for 3 days. When we got home, my wife was exhausted and I was in full-on “dad” mode for another week while she recovered. Opportunities to study and complete lab work during this period were few and far between.

Post-bacc work is time-consuming and rigorous. Even with great family support (which we had), being a new parent simply isn’t compatible with academic success. I would strongly advise you wait until the summer or fall session to begin your program. The work is absolutely manageable once you’ve settled into a routine. But do yourself a favor and enjoy those first days and weeks without the added stress of classes.

Congratulations and best of luck!

Just goes to show you… everyone’s experience is different. I had to laugh about Verbal’s description of what he envisioned vs what actually happened… SO true! Whatever you plan? Throw it out the door! =) We ended up doing an unexpected emergency C-Section, and I never had a single contraction… NOT the way I saw that going down! LOL

To be clear, new baby + school isn’t easy. (But new baby + anything isn’t easy.) What I’m saying is that if it’s the goal and the timeline that you and your spouse really want? Then baby shouldn’t stop you. It’s all about what you want as a family, and what you’re comfortable with.

You never know what you’re capable of until you have to do it. You’ve never done a post-bacc before, and you’ve never done new baby before. So post bacc + new baby would be a new reality, and you’d more than likely figure out how to navigate it. It’s like people with twins… I often ask my friends how in the world they survive? “Carrie, you have to remember…two babies is all we know! We’ve never known any different!”

If you’d told me six months ago that I could survive two MCATs, med school admissions, Physics/Orgo Finals, being violently ill every day with 1st trimester sickness, caring for a 5 year old, and maintaining a full time job all by myself while my husband deploys to Afghanistan? I’d have thought you were smoking an illegal substance. No way. Not possible. Yet here I am. That became my necessary reality, so I figured out how to make it work. Was it ideal? Nope. But we made the choice to press on, and we did.

My opinion certainly isn’t, “oh, sure–go for it! You can do school, your wife can do baby…piece of cake.” Rather, it’s more that you and your wife just need to figure out what you really want, and what you’re both willing to do during the next year…and where you want to be at the end of it. Figure out what you’re comfortable with, how much sleep you need, what kind of student you are, where your threshold is… and if starting school now just seems like a good idea? Then you figure out how to do school and baby. If the thought of putting it off another semester gives you zero heartburn? Then go for that.

Ultimately, you guys are the only ones who know that for sure. I just don’t want you to automatically think “Baby” and associate it with “Road Block.” Doesn’t have to be that way…

Congratulations on your precious miracle!!! Becoming a parent made me realize exactly how strong I am, and it pulled me outside myself and taught me how to care for others in whole new ways… it’s the single greatest thing I’ll ever do, and I’m so excited for your journey!

Thanks so much for the congratulations! I am very excited about the baby and he is one of the reasons that I have finally decided to get my butt in gear and do something that matters (in my opinion).

I totally understand… I was just asked, in an admissions interview, what the smartest thing I’ve ever done is. Without hesitation, I answered, “I became a mom.” I went on to explain that without my children, I don’t think I’d have had the motivation nor the understanding of what I was capable of to actually get out there, push myself, and make this dream happen.

They will stretch and grow you in amazing ways… some are painful, some are wonderful–but everything I’ve been through as a mother has honestly made me better. Stronger. Less selfish.

I loved answering that question!

Enjoy every second!

How’d your meeting go with Dr. Cannon?

I, too, am considering applying to the UNCG post-bac program. I live in Chicago, but have been in contact with Dr. Cannon via email only at this point.

What was your impression of the program?

I liked him very much. He’s a straight shooter and he pulls no punches. I told him that I couldn’t quit work yet because my son is due in February and my wife doesn’t make enough right now. I would like to be further along in my pre-reqs before I fully commit. My wife still thinks this a phase that might pass. To her credit, I have gone through about four different phases in my search for a new career in the past four years.

Dr. Cannon knows his stuff and he appears to have a real grip on what adcom’s are looking for in general. (Some on here have said he’s married to a member of the UNC-CH adcom but I didn’t address that) One of the more interesting things he mentioned is that volunteering and shadowing are good enough EC’s but where you separate yourself is when you get actual clinical experience. He showed me a few CNA classes for a full day, which piqued my interest. I think I’m going to start slow with just Chem I this Spring.

I’m also thinking of taking Physics I and II at a local community college over the summer with no labs (don’t know if that’s possible). I have AP credit for Physics I and II and labs but I would like a refresher course without having to re-do the labs. Does anyone have opinions on this?

If you do end up coming down here from Chicago, send me a message, I’d be happy to show you around. Good luck!