I am new to the old premeds podcast (been listening for a month now) but felt like I have hit a goldmine when I stumbled upon this site. I have a PhD and postdoc in immunology and now working in a pharma company as a scientist in immuno-oncology. I have always been interested in pursuing research related to understanding human diseases leading to intervention. Even though I thoroughly enjoy doing immunology/immuno-oncology research I have always wanted to be closer to patients and serve them. Being a physician scientist in oncology would be my dream. I am an international and recently acquired my green card. I wanted to wait for my GC, felt very lost even embarrassed to talk about med school dreams to others. I decided to work in order to support myself. I am 31 and married living in Cambridge, MA. I recently started talking openly to doctors and medical students about my desire to pursue medical school in order to get some guidance. I would like to know if it is feasible to continue working and meet the most common requirements for medical school i.e., MCAT, shadowing, clinical experience and volunteering and be able to apply in a year or so? With PhD in immunology (graduated 2013) will I still have to take courses to meet the requirements? Thank you!
Greetings! I won’t give you advice about what pace and path will be right for you, because it is different for all of us, but I will tell you what my experience has been. When I decided to pursue med school, I had never taken a science course in my life so I had to take robust course load during my post bacc (ie full time undergrad course load of all sciences with labs). I really wanted to do everything to prepare for medical school in 2 years while I continued to work full time. I was very upfront with my employer about my plans and at the time was fortunate to have a job where I could work flexible hours as long as my work got done. It was still really difficult to shadow, volunteer, work full time, and go to class. While I was able to do it for awhile, the pace became impossible and my performance started to suffer. More importantly, as a career changer two years was just not enough time to demonstrate that I was truly committed to medicine. Traditional students get 4-5 years to showcase their commitment through shadowing and volunteering and it did not matter how many hours of each I tried to cram into a week I could not make up for the long term consistent commitment shown over 4 years. I slowed down and decided that I was going to get older regardless of when I apply. I ended up applying three years after starting my postbacc (1 year after finishing) and I still felt rushed. Good luck!