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Paging: PaulCL, netso, other MD's(11 posts)

Paging: PaulCL, netso, other MD'sRGR
Jun 11, 2002 12:17 PM
I wondered if any medical school veterans out there could help me with a career decision. I just graduated in exercise science, and am now considering the medical profession. Throughout school, I always expected and anticipated that I'd land in physical therapy. However, it wasn't until the very end that I realized the classes I was best at and enjoyed the most were more medicine related (o-chem, physio, molec. bio, etc). I graduated with a 3.7, and always felt like I could hang with the brighter ones in my classes. However, the aspect that REALLY scares me is the volume of material required in med programs, per semester. Towards the end, I felt like any more than two or three of the previously mentioned classes TOGETHER would creem me (unless the days were 36 instead of 24 hrs). Any information you could give me on your experiences, the type of mind/personality it requires, or the nature of the work itself would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Feel free to email me if you want at:

re: Paging: PaulCL, netso, other MD'sPaulCL
Jun 11, 2002 5:17 PM
Whoa...big question. First off, I am not an MD. I went to medical school for 2 1/2 years, took a leave of abscence in the middle of the third year and stayed absent. I was a classic case of med-school-burnout. I did meet and marry a doctor. My brother followed me to med school and is now an ER doc in Northern Ohio. I took the logical route out of med school into the investment business. (??) I am currently a VP with a regional investment firm.

Now to your question...doing well in chemistry, etc is just practice for med school. Take your toughest semester by credit hours and add 50%. Then you come home and study for 4-5 hours a day. Let's not talk about exam time..the horror, oh, the horror. It's tough.

My point is not to scare you but to point out that you really have to want to be in medicine. I saw the desire in my classmates (and current mate) to learn and absorb the material. While to me, it all was just another hard set of college classes. When entering the third year -- the beginning of the change from mostly classroom/lab to all patient contact, I realized that this career was not for me.

If you can maintain a 3.7 gpa in college, you'll handle the course load. Medical school leaves little time for anything but medical school. It's a 100% commitment. Talk to some MDs, talk to med students, confer with a med school prof. Give it a try. Or rather, try to get in. Take the MCATs, apply, interview, accept, study, try it.

good luck. Paul the ex-med student

PS. I never told the med school that I wasn't coming back from the you think they're still holding a spot for me after 15 years???? I still have the occasional nightmare about being back in school. Seriously.
re: Paging: PaulCL, netso, other MD'snetso
Jun 12, 2002 6:50 AM
My first year of Med School was a shock. The actual work was hard, but fun and learnable with a little study. I found the hardest thing was the pressure applied. My first big course was Biochemistry. The work in lecture and lab was not difficult, however they went so fast and applied so much pressure that I spent ALL my time studying. We had what was termed a Journal club that just took down notes and transcribed them for us. This was a great help. Once you get past the first two years, your in like flint. Most people quit, they do not flunk out. It is worth the trouble. You do have to learn that is a pressure position, one which you have to learn to handle. I taught in a Med School, therefore I avoided private practice. However, that is what I enjoyed. Physical therapy is a dead end!
Question for netso...Silverback
Jun 12, 2002 8:03 AM
Just out of curiosity, why do you say pt is a dead end? My daughter (16, so she may change her mind 30 or 40 times) is interested in it, beginning to take some relevant classes and working with the trainers at a local college. I haven't given it much thought (what with that mind-changing thing hanging out there), but when I have, I've sort of assumed that the aging and longer-lived population is going to provide work for therapists. What am I overlooking?
Question for netso...netso
Jun 12, 2002 10:10 AM
From my understanding there are fewer jobs in this area, and they are lower paid than they used to be. Back in my day (late 60's to 80's), this was a burgeoning field. However, with insurance (HMO's) controlling many hospitals and Doctors this area is deemed a luxury. Another area is Exercise Physiology, where do you find a job? and if you find one, what does it pay? If I had it to do over, I would think about Chiropractic from a preventive perspective/body composition area. How many places do you know where you can have a Body Composition profile done? I am talking about Body Fat level, VO, Lactate Threshold etc.
Very Few I would think!
It all depends on what you want to do, and your angle...peloton
Jun 13, 2002 2:07 AM
I do agree with what netso says about PT and exercise physiology. It can be tough to find a job that is as high paying as deserved for the level of comittment and education needed to pursue such a career. I'm in the latter, and my sister is in the former categories. I would add though that there are avenues that you can take in both fields that will make you a good living and can be quite rewarding if you have a plan. I can't speak firsthand for PT, but I can for exercise physiology. The average collegiate strength trainer makes a good living with excellent benefits. There are opportunities in other strength training applications if you know where to look. If you have a background in a sport as a coach and or athlete, you can also use this angle to continue making your living off the sport that you love. I've done this, and I have the opportunity to make my living off the sport I've played all my life. How many people can say that? I have also never felt like I had a 'job', because I like what I do. That is something that should always be considered when starting a career. I was a business major when I first started college. I probably would make more money with an MBA, but I probably would have jumped out a window by now too. There are also good opportunities for someone in ex. phys. in the field of cardiac rehab as well. That said, there are more opportunities in other medical fields.

PT is also a field I have a lot of respect for. I personally won't listen to many GP's when it comes to injuries. I will always request an orthopedic or PT, even though it is true most insurance companies cringe at this. I view the PT as not a luxury, but a must if an athletic person is hurt. It should be that way for all the population too. I've had GP's tell me one thing is wrong with me or one of my athletes when I suspected something else, and then had my thoughts confirmed later by PT's or ortho's. I had a GP ask me where the iliotibial band originated once when I went in with knee pain. I was shocked that he was asking me, and was the one responsible to give me a referal to PT as I was requesting. It's not like the IT band is an obscure tendon- it's huge! I don't think many GP's are all that up to date with physiology, and PT is a very viable option for many when they have injuries. Ice and advil advice from a doc isn't always the best way to cure pain. I with more HMO's and insurance companies knew this, or at least acknoledged it.

For body composition profile- go to the local university kinesiology department. I'm sure that there are students there that would love to have the practice for lots of tests- VO2 max, body comp, threshold, etc. Might even be able to get it done for nothing if you ask the right person. FWIW
BTW- good luckpeloton
Jun 13, 2002 2:17 AM
I thought about doing the same thing myself the a couple of years ago, going back to school for osteopathic medicine. The whole workload issue is scary. Good luck if you choose to tackle it. I'm doing kinesiology post grad right now (the thought of how far I am from phd makes me want to cry), and I can barely work, go to school, study, get some exercise, occasionally see friends, and remain a functional human being. Anyone who takes on med school has my respect. The whole workload issue, and the amount of financial aid I would have taken on made me cringe. Good luck!
Jun 12, 2002 9:07 AM
Thanks PaulCl and netso for the insight on the program. I think maybe I'll do some volunteer/work/help w/ research at a hospital and see if it's my cup of tea.

P.S. One other question if I may: How long are you in lecture/class/lab per day? I've heard something like 8-5pm. But if that's true, and you're taking 6-7 classes, even if you studied until 4-5am every night you could only average 2hrs per subject (and 3hrs sleep). I remember studying w/ groups and taking the whole day just on NMR/IR. I guess you learn some SERIOUS TIME MANAGEMENT skills!?

Thanks again for all the help

Jun 12, 2002 10:14 AM
My first semester, I took Biochem lecture, Biochem Lab and Gross Anatomy. A day would be 8am to 4pm. Then study at night. You have to be really dedicated. Girls or Boys tend to be out! I managed to go to the gym 1 hr/day for my self.
Jun 13, 2002 6:32 AM
As Netso said: On lab days, it was 8 to 4 then study at night. On non-lab days, we often got out at noon to 2pm. Then study. On non-lab days, we often had afternoon classes on nutrition or on time management, etc. Since they were non-graded class, most blew them off. Like Netso said, we had a note taking service for classes. Someone would take notes, type them out, have the prof review them, then copy and deliver to all of the students. It was a great help.

My sanity was preserved by running. I lived across the street from a park. Every day and I mean every day, I ran four miles through the park. I went to med school in Toledo, Ohio and I still ran in the winter. If I didn't run, I would have gone nuts. I was in the best shape of my life. Funny, today, I ride to keep my sanity. And I'm not in the best shape of my life.

In med school, we studied and worked very hard, but we partied very hard too. When exams were over, my roommates and I always had the big party. We lived in a house. Our neighbors hated us. 150 drunk med students. We had a blast. Med school was not all drudgery. That's for your residency internship year.

Jun 13, 2002 7:06 AM
We did have fun. Very tight knit group. We had football games with the Profs, which of course we always lost. We had many drunken parties. Those were fun day's!