How Do I Juggle Work and School?

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Session 207

This nontraditional student wants to know how to navigate being a full-time worker and student.

Ask Dr. Gray: Premed Q&A is brought to you by Blueprint MCAT. Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

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[00:22] Question of the Day

Q: I graduated in 2020, at the height of the pandemic. Everything was shutting down as I was finishing up school, so I was a little lost. 

I knew I needed to do a postbac and finish up some premed courses. I started a clinical research job at the end of 2020. I just got lucky and one of the opportunities I had continued through. Then I started working full-time, about 40 hours a week. 

Now, I’m in the process of starting my DIY Postbac. And I was wondering how navigating working full-time would go with taking classes.

A: This depends on how you handle stress and the type of postbac schedule you’re looking at. This student is looking to take Gen Chem and Physics, specifically two intensive lab-based courses. He found a school nearby that will let him do that, and it’s just an hour and a half train ride.

They alluded to a set number of spots and the only way to know how many spots are left is to show up the first day. His other concern is that a lot of the community colleges in the area just don’t offer night classes. That being said, he’s committed to making it work.

[03:43] Listing Clinical Experiences Appropriately

This student mentions that it has been some time since they have engaged in dedicated clinical work and that their research focuses on pain. They work with subjects three or four days a week for approximately four hours per subject, administering tests to assess pain levels and preparing them for MRIs. They are curious if they can list this job as clinical experience by creating a separate activity for it and pulling out a few hours when submitting their application.

​​If there are experiences that seem to fit into multiple categories, it is possible to extract hours and categorize them differently. If you believe that your experience can be considered clinical time or clinical experience, then it is appropriate to list it as such.

[05:09] How to Mark Transition of Roles

Q: Is there a spot on the AMCAS where you can mark one activity turning into another? Right now, I’m a clinical research assistant they’re moving me to a coordinator position. Would I have to make a separate activity for that transition, or should I just explain that in the Activities section?

A: Typically, when someone progresses through different positions in an organization, such as a premed club, they should list their current position in the activity section and provide the full amount of time and hours dedicated to the activity.

In the description, you can mention that you previously held another position for a certain amount of time before transitioning to your current role. There are no set rules for how to list these types of activities, so you should strive to accurately convey your experiences without embellishing or falsifying information.

'Do the best you can to convey the information that you need to convey.'Click To Tweet

[07:01] The Transition from Flight Doc to Premed Advising

Q: “What was your transition from practicing medicine to helping premeds out?”

A: I served in the military as a flight doctor for around a year before starting my active duty service in July of 2010. In February 2012, I registered

It was around this time that I had a conversation with a young airman who asked me what it was like to go to medical school. I enjoyed talking to him and realized that I wanted to share my experiences with others who were interested in medical school.

At the time, I was listening to podcasts and had built websites in the past, so I decided to start a website of my own. I wanted to provide real data to support the advice I gave, as opposed to relying solely on information from other premeds.

This conversation with the airman served as the impetus for everything that followed. I started the website as a fun side project in 2012. Eventually, due to health issues, I decided to leave the military and focus full-time on being an entrepreneur, advisor, and podcaster.


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