Weekend Inquiry: When in Doubt & Caribbean Medical Schools

weekend inquiry

Thank you in advance for reading and analyzing this long diatribe. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and best of luck in the upcoming year.
I will try to keep my intro as short as possible to get in to the specifics, in the interest of saving time and yawns. Please be as honest as possible, I may need the reality check.


1998-2000
I started college at the age of 19 in 1998 in St John’s of New York for all the wrong reasons. I saw college more as a party and ultimately was kicked out because of my grades.
In my 4 semesters there, I managed to amass roughly 20k in private loans, as well as 22 credits and 1.69 GPA. There was also four F’s and 6 withdrawals.


County College
1999-2010
Yes, those are the right years, not a typo. (Some years I didn’t attend, others were only partial semesters, and some were semesters where I dropped all my classes.)
During these years, I managed to hold two long term jobs, while taking classes here and there. At the end of this illustrious college career, I graduated with an associate degree in Business and a 2.81 GPA, along with 19 withdrawals, and 5 F’s. Now I am in a 4 year college, only a summer and fall semester away from a Bachelor’s in Special Education/Spanish. However this semester, I had a hiccup with college Algebra and I failed, I should have withdrawn but didn’t. I am more than confident that I will ace it once I take it again, and whatever my final grade is, will be combined with that F to give me a new final grade.
So to re-cap, I am about 35k in debt for my schooling, a cumulative GPA of 3.138 and a return feeling to practice medicine. There are also 25 withdrawals, and 11 F’s now.


I once was very interested in medicine when I was 23(now I am 32) to go to Dominican Republic for med school, and I guess that’s still an option, but such a tough road to hoe once I get back to states, and that was part of the reason of not pursuing it back then.
At this point, my college tuition isn’t too expensive, so I could afford the extra science classes and math classes. However, would a post- bacc be a better option? I was hoping I could just stay at my four year college, because post bacc is expensive. I know core classes should be at a 4 year school, and that’s where the majority of them would be.
I could theoretically still graduate a science major here still, although that would take about another year. Should I just take the basic science and math courses here and give MCAT’s a shot? Also the science courses (basics) are chem. and org chem., bio and organic bio, pre-calc and physics, correct? Please advise if I missed any. Finally, why do I feel I can make this change? How could I possible finish med school, if it has taken me this long for my bachelor’s?


Medication
I was diagnosed with adult ADHD, and ever since I have been diagnosed, I am making positive strides in school. I had three a’s in Spanish, a “c” in education, and “b+” in geography! Thoughts and advice please? It would be severely appreciated, and thank you for your time!

Hi Jeff,

It sounds like you’ve been through a lot. I’m sure you’ve learned a lot from all of that. Debt is never a good motivator, although a strong influence on any decisions that involve finances, including schooling.

It’s hard to say what you “should” or “should not” do. Generally speaking, I would do what you find the most joy in doing. If that’s medical school, you would really need to step up your game. Even in Caribbean medical schools, F’s are not commonly accepted upon entry. Even just one F would need to be explained at medical school interviews. Multiple F’s would be a major deterrent, and it sounds like you may have other career ideas up your sleeve. Also, residency spots are becoming more and more scarce in proportion to the amount of graduating medical students; it’s much, much harder for Caribbean med students to get physician residency spots in the US.

I would pursue a medically-related job for a number of years to decide if you want to further your education in medicine. You would need a lot of real-life medical experience to balance out those bad grades. Maybe you could go to tech school to be a phlebotomist or EMT. After or instead of that, a post-bacc program might be a good option, but you would have to perform very well. You may find out you like being a tech after all.

If I may make a suggestion, don’t pressure yourself with expectations higher than you’re comfortable with. If you spend a lot of money for schooling just to end up in a field you have no previous experience in and decide you don’t really get fulfillment from, it’d be awful. I know a first year med student who was pressured by his parents to go to medical school, did horribly the first trimester of school, and dropped out with a lot of debt and an empty heart. He could have saved himself a lot of stress and money if he followed his own dreams instead of his parents.

Lastly, I want to add that anyone who reads my advice should take it with a grain of salt. If what I write makes sense to you where you are in life, and it helps you to either get ahead or clarify something, then I am fully satisfied. I try to only make judgment calls in my area of expertise: getting into medical school.

Best of luck,
Naomi