When Do You Quit Your Current Program And Pursue Premed?

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Session 168

When you know you want to pursue medicine, but are currently in another program or job, what should you do? Quit or keep going?

Questions here are pulled from the Nontrad Premed Forum. If you haven’t yet, please sign up for an account. It’s free. Then ask away!

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[02:40] OldPreMeds Question of the Week:

“I started listening to the old pre-meds podcast about a week ago, and have gotten to episode 105. I’m addicted. This podcast has given me the confidence to go after my dream of becoming a physician.

My desire to become a physician came gradually through life experiences starting when I was a very young child spending a lot of time at the University of Michigan’s Children’s Hospital with my older brother. Various experiences and classes throughout high school further sparked my interest in becoming a physician. However, at that age, I did not have a realistic view of how my life was going to go. I thought I would be married and having kids by 25 years old. I am now 26 with no husband or kids (but I do have a serious boyfriend at least). In high school and throughout university, I thought it would be impossible to have children and be a doctor with medical school debt. Due to encouragement from family members, I defaulted on the idea of becoming a speech language pathologist, but my heart was never in it (hence the 3.4 GPA). I graduated with my BS in 2014, but did not continue onto my master’s degree (the minimum for SLP practice) until the fall of 2018. I knew I did not want to do SLP, so after I graduated, I taught English in South Korea through the EPIK program at 2 public middle schools. After a year, I came back and became a production mechanic for a jet engine manufacturer and advanced to being a digital radiography inspector after 3 months. From 2014 to 2018, my desire to go to medical school became stronger. I have many friends who are in medical school and residency, and watching their victories and struggles made it easier for me to picture myself in their position.

This past year I told my boyfriend (who is currently a DO internal medicine resident) that going to medical school was my dream. His reaction was very discouraging. He encouraged me to enroll in an SLP master’s program instead. So I applied to an MS SLP program last winter and was accepted. I enrolled in the program hoping that my desire to become a physician would melt away. However, through my SLP classes and interprofessional education experiences, my dream to go to medical school is stronger than ever. I do not want to waste more time and money on SLP when I know that I want to practice medicine. However, my boyfriend and family think it’s best for me to finish the program (graduating in December 2019 after 3 more semesters) before starting to work on prerequisite courses and extracurriculars. I would really like to start my journey now. I think that a formal post-bacc would be best for me, although I am open to doing a DIY post-bacc. My next semester is starting up in January, and it is so excruciating to keep doing this program when I know what I really want to do.


Undergraduate BS in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education (Pre-Speech language pathology) 3.4 GPA

One Semester of MS in Speech Language Pathology 3.6 GPA

Clinical experience:

A semester (4 months) of clinical practicum in a skilled nursing facility, which included evaluating and treating cognitive communication disorders (dementia/stroke/TBI) and dysphagia (Swallowing problems) through individual and group therapy.

During this semester I also evaluated and treated children in a Head Start pre-school program for language and articulation disorders and provided therapy over telepractice for a patient with multiple strokes and dementia, a client with fluency problems, and a teenager with an articulation disorder.

Here is my question:

Should I quit my master’s program in speech language pathology after one semester and start a post bacc?”

[06:50] Quit!

Be a quitter. Embrace the act of you quitting. If you do not want to be a speech language pathologist, why the heck would you finish your degree to be a speech language pathologist? Why would you waste your money on a master’s program to get a degree so that you can work as a speech language pathologist?

It’s interesting though how both your boyfriend and family are not supporting you. Maybe he doesn’t want a physician wife or he knows the amount of work you’re going to have to put into. Or it could be that he doesn’t want you to sacrifice time with him or raising a child or taking care of the household. Whatever that may be, this could be a red flag.

So number one, you don’t have the support of your boyfriend and you don’t have the support of your family. So either you’re not telling me something, and you typically don’t finish the things you start, and so now they’re questioning your actions. Or number two, they don’t believe in you, which is baloney, and you just have to drown out their concerns and go down the path that you feel drawn to.

Get out of your master’s program now. Don’t waste your money on any more classes, go invest that money in your postbac program, and finish it. Get into medical school and do what you think you were meant to do. It’s as simple as that.

You may get pushback from your significant other and your family. It’s very easy to break up with a significant other. If he is not going to support you now, then what happens in the future if you have bigger aspirations, bigger dreams, or other thoughts?

He’s likely not going to support you then. This is a huge red flag. So you might to potentially have a very serious talk with him to figure out where his hesitations are for you. It’s harder to break up with family, but you can ignore them and say, ‘I know you love me, guys, but I need to do what’s right for me.’

[09:58] Stop Your Master’s Program

If this is what you’re meant to do, then do it. Quit your master’s program. It’s one of the few times I recommend quitting things.

Quit your program and get on with the rest of your premed path so that you can get into medical school and become a physician. At your age – wanting kids – it’s all doable.

I recommend you listen to some encouragement and go listen to Dr. Natalie Crawford’s podcast called As a Woman. She’ll give you a lot of motivation and encouragement on your journey. You can follow her on Instagram, too. She’s @NatalieCrawfordMD.


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