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  1. #1
    The Road Warrior
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    Is it Wrong to Delay Med School to Go Back To NorCal for MS Degree and More Riding?

    So, I have a choice of doing a master's degree in a field related to medicine before medical school that will take a couple years; this would be in Nor Cal (Davis or UCSF). This might delay starting med school for 3 years, though.

    However, seeing as how I want to go through med school, my riding time will inevitably decrease, and I may have to move out of state.

    We all know that other states suck, and that NorCal is the best spot in the world, but doing all of this roundabout for a MS will cost me years and money. It might get me into a better medical school, though.

    Currently, I'm in Los Angeles at UCLA, and the riding is great, here, but it's not Nor Cal. I might also be able to do a Masters at UCSD... but that keeps me down here in So Cal.

    Being from Sacramento, originally, I miss the place, and would like to go back, even if it is only for 3 years before I'm potentially gone for 7 or more years, with med school, residency, and all the rest.

    What say you?

    1. Go to med school directly someplace that might suck and save time/money?

    2. Languish and get older but have good norcal riding for 3 years?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    just another bleepin SSer
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    Throw the riding question out and then decide which is the right step for what you want for a career - straight to med school or 3 years for a masters?

    If you can't throw the riding out to make this decision, then maybe you need to question your med school decision.
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    自転車が好きだよ

  3. #3
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    depends on the masters. the MPH program at berkeley is decently ranked (i had friends in medical school take a year off to complete the MPH, then return to their medical program). not sure why any master's program would take 3 years...

    i also know folks who did a masters in anatomy + physiology to help bolster their application.
    94 Specialized Rockhopper

  4. #4
    The Road Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by dth656 View Post
    depends on the masters. the MPH program at berkeley is decently ranked (i had friends in medical school take a year off to complete the MPH, then return to their medical program). not sure why any master's program would take 3 years...

    i also know folks who did a masters in anatomy + physiology to help bolster their application.
    I'd be doing the translational medicine at Berkeley. It's a joint program with UCSF. Pretty prestigious. It's only 1 year. However, that takes 2 years in the long run because I'd be applying after finishing the masters, since there is a glide year involved, and I want to show med schools my grades in the masters program. The same logic applies to 2 year masters programs, albeit that the second year of a traditional masters usually is where you do your research, and where your strongest letters of rec will come from (especially from MDs that I'd be doing research under).

    I have an ulterior motive, too, and I'd be lying if I said that free tuition due to veteran's benefits only at public california medical schools isn't a HUGE incentive to stay here; that's where the dual benefit of these masters programs come in, since they may help me get into a California med school, and California med schools are among the hardest schools to get into.

    But that's long winded, enough. Seriously, I'm going to be a slave for the rest of my life, why not enjoy free tuition of a masters program and some good riding before becoming a doctor? There are lots of risks vs rewards, here. I would have said the above before now, to help justify the advice I'm asking for, but it's complicated.

  5. #5
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    As a graduate student in biology at UC-Berkeley I taught bio to some of the most talented pre-meds in the state. There were more would-be MDs than were ever going to get into the programs they wanted to have the careers they intended. So your decision should be based in large part on info you left out of original post.

    Are you a shoe-in for med school? Some people are. Most people aren't. Will taking time off be good, neutral, bad, or unknown for your eventual application? Because you portray option 2 as study in Norcal and slay trails for three years, but then there's med school, ta-da. If that's true, then there are other things former med students would probably weigh in on, like what age they wish they were during residency, or what research they wish they had done for increasing future options, or ??? But if it's not true, then take the best thing you can get? Apply now and go if you get in and use Norcal and riding as a backup?

    Edit: I didn't mean for this to come across negatively, and re-reading it, it looks like downer crap some anonymous dude on the Internet might write. I meant the question honestly: if you can write your own ticket, then do whatever makes you happy. If it's a roll of the dice, you might want to roll early and often.
    Last edited by Snfoilhat; 12-09-2012 at 11:31 PM. Reason: Just in case this sounded too negative

  6. #6
    The Road Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snfoilhat View Post
    As a graduate student in biology at UC-Berkeley I taught bio to some of the most talented pre-meds in the state. There were more would-be MDs than were ever going to get into the programs they wanted to have the careers they intended. So your decision should be based in large part on info you left out of original post.

    Are you a shoe-in for med school? Some people are. Most people aren't. Will taking time off be good, neutral, bad, or unknown for your eventual application? Because you portray option 2 as study in Norcal and slay trails for three years, but then there's med school, ta-da. If that's true, then there are other things former med students would probably weigh in on, like what age they wish they were during residency, or what research they wish they had done for increasing future options, or ??? But if it's not true, then take the best thing you can get? Apply now and go if you get in and use Norcal and riding as a backup?
    Thanks for the info. Let me mull this over for a bit...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snfoilhat View Post
    As a graduate student in biology at UC-Berkeley I taught bio to some of the most talented pre-meds in the state. There were more would-be MDs than were ever going to get into the programs they wanted to have the careers they intended. So your decision should be based in large part on info you left out of original post.

    Are you a shoe-in for med school? Some people are. Most people aren't. Will taking time off be good, neutral, bad, or unknown for your eventual application? Because you portray option 2 as study in Norcal and slay trails for three years, but then there's med school, ta-da. If that's true, then there are other things former med students would probably weigh in on, like what age they wish they were during residency, or what research they wish they had done for increasing future options, or ??? But if it's not true, then take the best thing you can get? Apply now and go if you get in and use Norcal and riding as a backup?
    I agree with the advice.
    I'm a physician and can understand what you are feeling. I think you have to really examine your priorities. What is your main goal in life? What do you ultimately do?
    For me, I wanted to become a physician and that was my driving force when I was in college. I never let anything come between me and med school. So if I had to sacrifice parties, hanging with friends, racing cars, riding bikes, I made those sacrifices without hesitation.
    If I had the opportunity to go to med school next year, I'd jump at the chance right away. Med school is very competitive and you might not get the opportunity in 3 years. Things might change. It might get super competitive later.
    You might be a super strait A student now and you might have no problems getting into med school now or later. But then my question would be, why do you want to do research now and why do you want the master's degree? Are you going to do academic medicine later? Are you going to be in a teaching institution during your working career? If so, then it might be very helpful to do the master's program now. But you will you will have plenty of time to do research during med school and residency too.
    Ultimately, It might not mater where you go to medical school; which residency program you graduate from is probably more important. If you get great grades in medical school you'll probably match to a great residency program. I have colleagues in medicine that got master's degrees before med school. But in their every day clinical practice, they don't feel that it's helped them to be better doctors.
    Finally, my philosophy and advice is to work very hard now so that you can play hard later.

  8. #8
    Cheesiest
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    [QUOTE=dochou;9955540
    Finally, my philosophy and advice is to work very hard now so that you can play hard later. [/QUOTE]

    Contrary to this advice, I decided to get a PhD in a place where I could play hard and work hard at the same time. Then, I did a postdoc in a really good program.

    That being said, medicine is a much different beast than grad school (as I'm sure you have heard). Based on my conversations with many different physicians and med students, the applicant pools vary widely year to year.

    In adding to the message put forth by previous posts, take some time to figure out what YOU want to do, then assess what you need to do to get there (and have a backup plan).

    Disclaimer-YMMV
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  9. #9
    The Road Warrior
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    I talked to quite a few schools of medicine, today, and told them that I suspect that they'll question my commitment to medicine if I pursue an MS during my glide year(s) or be lumped into the academic repair category with special masters a.k.a. post-baccalaureate students.

    They said that as long as the masters is heavy in sciences, with some research, that I shouldn't worry. Unfortunately, this x's off UCSF from my list, since they offer an MS in Biomedical Imaging that isn't strict/core science. But, this does leave UC Davis, and UC San Diego.

    So, what I'll do is apply to med schools in the spring/early summer before starting the MS, and if I get in, defer admission if needed and start after the MS is completed.

    In case I don't get in the first time, I'll have another year to do research and get stronger letters of rec, and still be in prime areas for riding.

    Thanks for the advice, guys. I am committed to medicine, but all things being equal, I do value the time I have now before I'm older and perhaps tied down with kids, job, and what have you.

  10. #10
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    I'm so glad I grew up back east. Never woulda' amounted to anything if it'd been out here! Redhawk, MD

  11. #11
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    Hopefully you are prepared to make little in the way of big bucks when you graduate. If money is not your primary goal, but just helping people get healthy I say start now so you can help the needy now.

    If you are more money orientated I would say get your double E and design new medical equipment like an artificial heart.

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