So you’ve decided to go to medical school but you don’t have all the required classes or the grades. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Every year, the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) distributes a survey to matriculating first year medical students and ask about everything from demographics to premedical experiences. Here are some interesting findings from the 2020 surveyas it relates to students who do not enter medical school directly from undergrad:
16.2% of first year students were over the age of 26
7.9% reported deciding to study medicine after completion of a bachelor’s degree and 1.7% after an advanced degree
7.4% of students participated in a non-degree post bacc program to strengthen academic skills
7.7% of students participated in a non-degree post bacc program to complete the premedical required courses
8.3% were five or more years out from undergrad
I check 4 of those 5 boxes: I started medical school at 29, decided to pursue medical school while I was completing my Master of Public Health, went to a post bacc program to complete my pre-reqs, and graduated from undergrad 7 years before my first year of medical school.
If you’re ready to start “the journey” to medical school, the next step is figuring out how to complete all of the requirements or boost that science GPA. There are different types of post bacc programs and each fulfill a different need for applicants. The AAMC actually has a database of all the programs that you can sort and filter for various needs. In this post, I’ll go into detail on three of the most common routes to medical school after college: career changer programs, academic record enhancer programs, and a DIY option. Keep reading for some good questions to ask post bacc programs to figure out which one(s) are right for you!
But then again, we’ve never lived through a global pandemic for months on end while trying to still live our lives, so I hope you’ll forgive me.
Since I was last here, a lot has happened. I moved back to Miami to start my third year of medical school and after months sitting at home studying for Step 1 (so long, farewell forever!), I was finally able to be in the hospital seeing patients! I started with 10 weeks of internal medicine and hopped between two general inpatient rotations, outpatient primary care, hepatology (liver) clinic, and the cardiology inpatient service. I learned the bread and butter of medicine during those 10 weeks — heart failure, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, infectious disease, liver failure…you name it, I probably saw at least one patient with it. The shift from learning for a multiple choice test to applying it to real patients was a struggle. One minute you have to pick the correct anti-hypertensive for your fake vignette patient, the next it’s a real patient with financial concerns, comorbidities, and a history of medication side effects. All in all, I am happy I started my year off with internal medicine. It offered such a breadth of experiences caring for patients admitted to the hospital, patients needing clinic follow-up for chronic conditions, or specialty care. It set me up perfectly for my next rotation, family medicine.
How much does your doctor know about health policy and how it impacts you as a patient?
Unfortunately, not enough. Medical students are given little to no knowledge on how policy and politics influence the system we will train and ultimately practice in.
I’ve already written about this a few times, so check out this post on engaging in advocacy as a medical student, this one about integrating health policy in medical school, and this post on how medical schools are failing students on health policy.
I spent this rainy morning shadowing a pediatric nephrologist, the specialists for kidney function in kids. The number of conditions they see is vast, but each has a unique course and some can progress to renal failure, even with medical intervention.
Chronic renal failure is the result of slowly progressive kidney diseases (and it not often reversible). 1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease — the two main causes of CKD in the adult population are diabetes and high blood pressure. In kids, CKD is often associated with inherited disorders, malformations present at birth, and autoimmune diseases, to name just a few.
Over the summer, I was interviewed by Accepted for their “What is Medical School Really Like?” series. I talked about my journey from legislative affairs to medicine and gave some insight into how medical school is going so far! If you’ve never heard of Accepted before, you can check them out here. They offer consulting services for students applying to college and graduate school in addition to a podcast and blog that break down the world of admissions and school life.
In my interview, I shared about being a career changer, applying smart, valuing your story, and why medical students should care and be involved in health advocacy. Yep, I definitely got on my soap box a bit! You can read the whole interview here!
Here are some other great interviews to check out:
Well, it’s been much longer than I anticipated since my last post! I’m still here, just decided to take some time off to enjoy my summer and then once school started again I felt like I’ve barely had a moment to breathe. And truth be told, I should be thinking about starting to study right now but here I am, about to give you a huge life update instead – and tons of pictures that will probably convince you to take a trip out West. Keep reading to see what I’ve been up to since May!
I still cannot believe that my first year of medical school is over already! It really is true what they say – the days are long but the years are short. And that’s true thus far into second year as well. Once I finished up with my last neurology exam in May, I had to do my clinical competency assessment to ensure that I’ve learned how to take a full history and physical this year. It was a lot – you never realize how much doctors think about until you’re the one trying to think like a doctor!
Hello hello! Wow, it’s been just a bit since I posted. I hope you all had a lovely Mother’s Day! I had the most relaxing weekend at home my mama and minimal studying. I read an entire book cover to cover for the first time in months and it was glorious. I love Alyssa Mastramonaco and the little glimpses she gives of behind the scenes life in the Obama White House! My mom and I did a little shopping, tried out a new restaurant in our downtown area, watched Wine Country on Netflix (it was meh – some bits were really funny but I wanted more), and had brunch with a family friend. All in all, a pretty perfect weekend and another reminder of why I love living so close to home again!
I took my neuro midterm last Monday and I’m actually caught up on lectures from last week somehow. Honestly, there’s not too much to report aside from the realization that I’m way overextended in my extracurricular involvements, which lets be honest, is par for the course for me. I thought I’d take you through why it’s so hard for me to say “no” and what I’m trying to do about it now!
Happy Sunday! I woke up early, per usual even for the weekend, and enjoyed my Sunday morning ritual of classical music, coffee, and the New York Times. Anyone else have a weekend ritual? Today is all about meal prep, laundry, and studying. Only one week until our neuro midterm and there’s so much to know – the brain is amazing and incredibly complex!
Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a brunch hosted by my school’s American Medical Women’s Association chapter. Every person in medicine has their own unique challenges, but there are certainly some that women feel more acutely. It was wonderful to meet so many female physicians and learn from their experiences. I’m excited for more events like it in the future!
After brunch, I stopped at Trader Joes for the first time in months and stocked up on my favorite peanut butter pretzels! I picked up all the ingredients to make this black bean, quinoa, and citrus salad. This morning I also made some shrimp to throw on the salad, far too much salsa, and the best carrot salad ever! I put the carrots on a salad with marinated goat cheese for lunch and it might be my new go-to — so many flavors!
We’re at the beginning of another medical school application cycle so today’s post is all about deciding where to apply! It’s a personal, stressful, and expensive process but I hope my thoughts can help guide you if you’re struggling to start or just don’t know how to narrow down your list! And a quick caveat to start — everyone has their own priorities when deciding where to apply to school. These were mine and it’s ok if yours are different.
Hello hello! I’m currently procrastinating watching neuro lectures by writing this post and finishing up a patient write-up assignment. In addition to learning how to take a history from a patient (what your doctor is doing when they ask you all the questions) and how to perform the physical exam, we have to perfect the art of putting it all down on paper. It’s all the stuff that ends up in your medical record. Do yourself a favor and watch this hysterical cartoon of a new medical student taking a patient history!