I'm sure many people reading this blog have reached my most recent post and thought, yup, she's done.
MD or bust? Looks like it was BUST.
For a while I did put the dream on a back burner. At times I even forgot about it. But it was still there, slowly simmering away. And it didn't go BUST.
Because, my friends, I am NOT done. Not yet. I have a new opportunity to make this dream of medical school a reality.
Looking back over my journey, I made a lot of mistakes. My main mistake was rushing things. I had a degree and my grades were ok. I had decent life and volunteering experience. I was so close that I thought it would be ok to skimp on a few things and thats where I went wrong. Taking a distance study course, MCAT prep course, volunteering, running my home was a lot to take on in just one year before applying.
What I should have done:
1. Enrolled into a BSc program and made it my job.
2. Waited to take the MCAT. People, the MCAT is a relative exam - that means that you are being compared to everyone who is writing it - mostly people who have been studying the topics for at least a year or two - and I don't know how I thought taking a prep course (with NO science background) would enable me to get a decent score.
3. Realized that at 27 (when I started) - I was still SO YOUNG and had time. Who cares if it would have taken me a couple extra years via doing an actual BSc degree? I'm 30 today and if I had taken my time, I could have been 30 and a BSc. One day I'm going to be 40. The question is, am I'm going to be 40 and a doctor or just 40?
Anyway, back to my new opportunity. My husband is from New Zealand and he has been desperately wanting to move back there. He hasn't lived there as an adult and wanted to try to see what its like. He has been working very hard and his company love him - enough to let him move (crazy, eh?!) and keep paying him to work remotely.
At first, I was hesitant - my life (and my family and many of my friends) are HERE, in Toronto. But then he held out an irresistible tidbit - he said that by moving to NZ, maybe I could go to med school there? I had done some research on NZ medical schools in the past but was turned off because they were six year programs (1 year of Health Science then if your grades were good enough, 5 years of medical school). However, I realized its either six years of schooling and becoming a doctor or six years and....well, just six years of whatever else I'd be doing. And I still haven't found anything that I have passion for remotely like I have a passion for medicine.
So I started looking into the programs more closely and I found one which, when I read about it, I actually felt faint. Because it was like it was a program made JUST FOR ME.
Basically, one of the medical schools has an "Other" entry category. Its for people who have a degree that was received at least three years ago (CHECK!) or from an international university (CHECK!), have a 70%+ average (CHECK!), someone who is a NZ citizen or permanent resident (CHECK!) and who wants - get this - a career change (CHECK!!!!). So to apply, all I need is a greater than 70% average (mine is way higher), my CV and a personal statement on why I want to be a doctor to see if I get an interview. Then, its pretty much how well I do on the interview that counts (explanation of why I want a career change and why medical school, understanding of the NZ medical system/medical issues) and the panels impression on my academic potential (do I have what it takes to succeed in medicine).
From my preliminary research and visiting of NZ medical school forums, it seems that the most important part is my life experience and how I do on the interview and from explaining my situation and background, most students who have applied successfully through that category think that I am a text book example of an successful applicant from that category. Obviously, I am by no means considering this a slam dunk. But I do think I have a real, fighting chance (1 in 5 people who apply get an interview and 50% of the people interviewed get in - when I compare that to Canada...).
There are is a "catch" though - it is that you get ONE shot at this category. You can only apply via this category one time and that is it (personally, I think this is a great strategy). Also, if you get accepted, you may need to do the 1st year of the Health Science program and pass with a 70% average to continue on to the medical program (which I would most definitely have to do, and am ok with).
The only "issue" is that I wouldn't actually be getting an MD but an MBChB, which is the title (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) that I would get from completing medical school and training in New Zealand. So the title of this blog won't make as much sense...but...haha, of course that it doesn't matter!
So....what's next? Well, I'm currently waiting for my NZ permanent resident VISA to come in (any day now!) and then we will start planning our move (probably in June/July of this year). Then I plan to enrol in some of the 1st year health science courses at a university close to where we will be living initially to be able to hit the ground running (and show my commitment to this) and do some volunteering in NZ before applying in April 2016.