Where do I begin?

Hi all! I’m so happy to have found this forum.

My name is Samantha. I’m 34, finally finished my BA in Theatre in 2007 after a bit of a life break. I’ve been working in IT but after a back injury that took me out of work for an extended amount of time, I’ve realized how unhappy I was in my current career and that I needed to make a big life change. Despite struggling to make it as a playwright/screenwriter, it just isn’t happening. After some soul searching, I decided that a second career in medicine is what I want.

While I studied a lot of math and science in high school (2 years of bio, 2 years of chem, anatomy and physiology, plus math up to calculus) I studied only a little science (Intro Bio, Human Diseases and Forensic Anthropology, did well in all) and no math in college. I finished with a GPA over 3.9 and graduated summa cum laude.

All that aside, I’m extremely nervous about going back to school. I’m so rusty with math I’m not even sure where to start…but I know I need to brush up before taking any classes that count. I also have zero clinical experience. I plan on applying to post bacc pre-med programs, but I know I can’t get in on grades alone.

Any suggestions on where to start? Should I take classes before I take classes? Try to brush up with free materials online?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Hey, Welcome to OPM. You’re asking a lot of questions people have when they start out, so don’t feel overwhelmed.

If you’re going the post-bacc route, a career changer program won’t expect you to have a science background, so don’t worry about pre-classes. I started a post-bacc in September and it had been 15 years since my last science course. I’m doing fine.

You should ask the schools themselves about math. It might make you feel better to take a refresher. Just remember you grades count toward your GPA and you’ll have to track those transcripts down when you’re ready to apply to med school. It had also been 15 years since my last math class and I didn’t take a refresher. It’s been mostly fine.

What you can and should start on is volunteering. Get yourself into a clinical situation (hospital, community clinic, hospice, something like that) and start to build up hours. It’ll only help for your med school apps, plus you can show the post-bacc that you’re pursuing this.

You’ll also need non-clinical volunteerism for med school admissions. They want to see you’re willing to work with people who are different than you, people who need help, things like that. I’d start that too because you don’t want everything starting just a year before you apply to medical school, for example. Tutoring, coaching, soup kitchens and the like are all easy places to start, but it can be anything.

For both volunteering gigs, find something that really interests you. You’ll want to be able to talk about it, not just check it off as a box on your med school apps in the future.

Above all, both med schools and the post-bacc will ask “why medicine? why now?” Have experiences and a story to back up your plans.

Thanks so much, both for the reply and the welcome. I’ll definitely get into some volunteer roles ASAP.

I’ve seen that many people mention shadowing prior to even taking pre-med classes. Any strategies for getting doctors to agree to that? Especially specialists - I’m particularly interested in pathology.

Thanks again!