Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Posted: 11/3/2009 9:42:37 AM EST
So here's the background. I'm a senior in college with the rest of this semester and then Spring left to go on a BS/Biology. The plan has been med school since I entered college, but now - after dropping $900 on primary applications (MD and DO) plus something like $300 on the MCAT and test prep - I'm not really certain it's what I want to do. Don't get me wrong, I've shadowed docs, I know a bit of how it goes with the paperwork and the non-cooperative patients and the hassle and whatnot, and I'm still pretty sure I could be reasonably happy with it as a career. I just don't feel like it's the best way I can spend my life.

I've been getting really interested in research. As far as biology goes, I'm interested in evolutionary biology and paleobiology, particularly vertebrate evolution, mammalian evolution, and the Cambrian explosion, and molecular biology, particularly protein folding, structure, and function. The problem with that is, I have no idea if I'll remain interested in those after spending three to seven years of my life working on very specific studies thereof.

I'm also finding myself fascinated by certain fields of physics. Astronomy/astrophysics and particle physics are amazing to me, but these have a problem in that I'd need to stick around in undergrad for another year or year and a half to get the background necessary. I'm also not sure I really have the mind for it; I tend to end up confused when higher-level physics and math concepts get thrown around, even with basic introductions to the topic.

I could spend next fall semester to tack on an additional chem major (already getting a minor) which would help in molecular bio, give me a little more time to decide what I want to do, and give me more of an opportunity to get letters of rec. The downsides to that are more money spent, more debt accumulated, and more time in undergrad where I'm already starting to feel burnt out. Oh, yeah, I'm starting to feel kind of burnt out on school in general, which is a downside to any graduate program, but what the hell can I do with just a BS/Bio in this job market? Hopefully it's just that this semester has been too packed.

As far as grad school goes, my stats are good enough that with good letters of recommendation, I could get in at some top grad programs, or some reasonable med programs: 3.6 GPA, 710V/790Q GRE, 31S MCAT. Unfortunately, I haven't been diligent in sucking up to my professors for letters, and since almost all my classes have been huge (200+) lectures, I don't really have many I could go up to and say "hey, remember me from last semester?"

I wish I could join the military and kick around there for a bit while I try to make up my mind, but unfortunately, I have a chronic, non-waiverable (I checked) health issue which prevents it.

Cliff's Notes:
-No idea what to do with my life.
-Getting a degree that's not really useful without grad school.
-Not sure about grad school.
-Military isn't an option.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:44:02 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 9:45:49 AM EST by K1rodeoboater]

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
So here's the background. I'm a senior in college with the rest of this semester and then Spring left to go on a BS/Biology. The plan has been med school since I entered college, but now - after dropping $900 on primary applications (MD and DO) plus something like $300 on the MCAT and test prep - I'm not really certain it's what I want to do. Don't get me wrong, I've shadowed docs, I know a bit of how it goes with the paperwork and the non-cooperative patients and the hassle and whatnot, and I'm still pretty sure I could be reasonably happy with it as a career. I just don't feel like it's the best way I can spend my life.

I've been getting really interested in research. As far as biology goes, I'm interested in evolutionary biology and paleobiology, particularly vertebrate evolution, mammalian evolution, and the Cambrian explosion, and molecular biology, particularly protein folding, structure, and function. The problem with that is, I have no idea if I'll remain interested in those after spending three to seven years of my life working on very specific studies thereof.

I'm also finding myself fascinated by certain fields of physics. Astronomy/astrophysics and particle physics are amazing to me, but these have a problem in that I'd need to stick around in undergrad for another year or year and a half to get the background necessary. I'm also not sure I really have the mind for it; I tend to end up confused when higher-level physics and math concepts get thrown around, even with basic introductions to the topic.

I could spend next fall semester to tack on an additional chem major (already getting a minor) which would help in molecular bio, give me a little more time to decide what I want to do, and give me more of an opportunity to get letters of rec. The downsides to that are more money spent, more debt accumulated, and more time in undergrad where I'm already starting to feel burnt out. Oh, yeah, I'm starting to feel kind of burnt out on school in general, which is a downside to any graduate program, but what the hell can I do with just a BS/Bio in this job market? Hopefully it's just that this semester has been too packed.

As far as grad school goes, my stats are good enough that with good letters of recommendation, I could get in at some top grad programs, or some reasonable med programs: 3.6 GPA, 710V/790Q GRE, 31S MCAT. Unfortunately, I haven't been diligent in sucking up to my professors for letters, and since almost all my classes have been huge (200+) lectures, I don't really have many I could go up to and say "hey, remember me from last semester?"

I wish I could join the military and kick around there for a bit while I try to make up my mind, but unfortunately, I have a chronic, non-waiverable (I checked) health issue which prevents it.

Cliff's Notes:
-No idea what to do with my life.
-Getting a degree that's not really useful without grad school.
-Not sure about grad school.
-Military isn't an option.

PM me what the issue is that is keeping you out of the military if you don't want to post it.

<ETA> oh and you don't have to be in the military to work for the military. I turned down a job with NCIS and enlisted..... .....probably should have taken the job
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:45:57 AM EST
Grad school is fun and the payoff can be decent in terms of future career opportunities.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:49:49 AM EST
Drop out now and start trading Carbon Credits...look what it's done for Al Gore...and he's unemployed...
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:50:18 AM EST
Go to grad school.

My son and daughter in law both graduated in May with Biology degrees.

They are both working retail part time because it was all they could find.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:51:09 AM EST
Again, this is no time for pants. That advice is practically universal it seems.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:51:25 AM EST
Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
.
-Military isn't an option.


WHY?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:51:29 AM EST
You better get a good idea quick, Junior. It's not that far a slide to this...

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:51:43 AM EST
You sound smart so do the smart thing, not the emotional thing.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:55:45 AM EST
Yo Kid, I love your choice of interests....they mirror my own.

Go to grad school, they will pay you for it via stipend. Make sure you can get a Master's if you don't want to go the distance for a doctorate.

You don't have to finish with your doctorate, but a BS in Bio is just too generic these days.

Check out the Population Biology, Evolution, and Ecology Department at Emory University. Top notch.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:57:07 AM EST
Sounds like you want to do research and you have a decent enough GPA and MCAT to go to med school so why not go for an MD/PhD program?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 9:59:53 AM EST
Take a semester off and get lots of pie.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:08:39 AM EST
Become a lawyer...

jk

There's a blog over on Volokh Conspiracy where a guy went to Harvard Law School and then enlisted in the Marines. One of his classmates did too but they lost touch with each other.

Worth a look...

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:12:12 AM EST
my opinion:
sometimes you just have to suck it up. if you don't know what you want to do, just keep going on your current path, since it seems to be a decent one (if you get accepted into med school). itd be better to have money and not knowing what you want to do, than be broke as fuck sucking off the teet of your parents or the government and not knowing what you want to do. you could always take a year break between graduation and med school to travel or do whatever you want. i know a couple folks who did this.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:14:14 AM EST
Lol, I'm going through the exact same thing, except I'm a microbiology major. I graduate in April, and had planned most of my life to go to medical school. Don't know if that's what I really want to do now. My CURRENT plan is after graduation to go work at Dugway proving grounds while I apply to Med/PA schools, and maybe grad school (maybe). That way I'm at least working in my field (in something that I'd like to do) while I figure out what to do next. I'm also considering a job with the FBI after a few years of experiance.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:19:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By Khemist:
Yo Kid, I love your choice of interests....they mirror my own.

Go to grad school, they will pay you for it via stipend. Make sure you can get a Master's if you don't want to go the distance for a doctorate.



This. Having a Bachelor's is like having a driver's license - you don't get any benefit from having two of them.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:20:03 AM EST
A BS in biology is a ticket to medical school, grad school, or being the 'smartest' checker at Walmart.

If medicine is not for you, learn a trade like plumbing or AC during the day, get your business savvy at night school.

Taking a white collar work ethic to a blue collar trade will lead places.

Or, go get your BSN. A nursing degree is one of the most useful and open ended degrees out there.

.gov care will hinge on nurses. Be on the front end of that.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:22:24 AM EST
Go to med school and become a Doctor, choose your specialty wisely. Stop being a pussy searching for your personal utopia. They don't exist, the best you can hope for is doing something that is interesting and that you don't hate. That's reality! Porn stars get up in the morning wondering what type of drug filled psycho skank they have to put their meat into today...

Dude, you don't know what being adrift is... I WISH I was in your position at your age, and positioned as well to have a lifelong career in a lucrative field. I was a complete douchebag at your age, some say I still am...

Suck it up and realize that you are VERY lucky to be in your current position!
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:23:30 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/3/2009 10:24:10 AM EST by Halfcocked]
This is what I told my daughter.

I would have went to college to major in and get a degree in, beer drinking and dirt bike riding, ... but no college I looked into had a program in that field,...so I had to pick one that would allow me to afford beer drinkin and motorcycles.

I picked engineering and it hasn't failed me.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:26:22 AM EST
TAKE YOUR TIME. It sounds like you have a lot of potential but it sucks how quickly we're expected to make life decisions these days. My fiancee has decided to bail on financial services, and two degrees deep I'm not crazy about what I do. Problem is we've already got so much crap going on that it is impossible to just fo and chase dreams now.

Doctors will always be necessary. Whether they're going to take a pay cut because of the gov soon remains to be seen, but I think you'll at least like what you do.

As for grad school, unless you know where you're headed, it could end up being a dead end and a lot of money flushed. If you have a career plan to execute, do it, but education for education's sake (or just to fill up time) has been a losing proposition for many unemployed young people today.

If mil's not an option, ever think about other service options? FBI, Marshals, even Park Service, etc? I don't know about them but they might go easier on med conditions.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:31:08 AM EST
OK, I'm a prof, but came to academia after quite a few years of working in the "real world" as a practicing engineer. So I'll tell you what I tell my students - be well rounded, a jack of all trades. Get a little bit of experience in a lot of things. Get a degree (or degrees) that are broad and have a lot of applications - civil engineering was my ticket, but biology is a good one too - a LOT of fields you can go to from bio.

I did the USMC thing, the Army thing, BS, MS, PhD (at 35), lived in several different states, worked for State gov, private industry big and small - every time I made a move I immediately started thinking about what I might want to do next - I'm almost 46, tenured, and still think about what I might do next.

You don't have to know now (or apparently at 46) - the key is giving yourself the tools (degrees) and background (experience) to allow you to make moves whenever you want. Put yourself in a position that allows you to get a wild hair and pursue it.

You really don't have to plan the rest of your life right now.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:36:50 AM EST
Originally Posted By skylane:
OK, I'm a prof, but came to academia after quite a few years of working in the "real world" as a practicing engineer. So I'll tell you what I tell my students - be well rounded, a jack of all trades. Get a little bit of experience in a lot of things. Get a degree (or degrees) that are broad and have a lot of applications - civil engineering was my ticket, but biology is a good one too - a LOT of fields you can go to from bio.

I did the USMC thing, the Army thing, BS, MS, PhD (at 35), lived in several different states, worked for State gov, private industry big and small - every time I made a move I immediately started thinking about what I might want to do next - I'm almost 46, tenured, and still think about what I might do next.

You don't have to know now (or apparently at 46) - the key is giving yourself the tools (degrees) and background (experience) to allow you to make moves whenever you want. Put yourself in a position that allows you to get a wild hair and pursue it.

You really don't have to plan the rest of your life right now.


Yes on this.

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:41:11 AM EST
what medical problem are you SURE you can't get in, people with all kinds of problems manage to get in all the time
(2007 Biology BS, current Assaultman in the the USMC)
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:47:03 AM EST
Originally Posted By Harvster:
Grad school is fun and the payoff can be decent in terms of future career opportunities.



Don't forget the women there.


Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:50:16 AM EST
Originally Posted By TheFreepster:
what medical problem are you SURE you can't get in, people with all kinds of problems manage to get in all the time
(2007 Biology BS, current Assaultman in the the USMC)


I was once in contact with a lot of the recruiters, went to the "army days" events or whatever it was called. Was recieving weekly calls from all of the services but the Navy after taking my ASVAB. Speaking to the Marine recruiter in more depth one time on the phone and as we were going through medical questions, he got to "do you have asthma?" I replied yes, he said "thanks for your time" and hung up on me. Never recieved another call from any branch again after that. Don't know if that was an absolute bar - but sure seemed that way at the time.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 10:50:54 AM EST
I would say ANYTHING to do with health care right now is a non-starter, unless you are an EMT.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 11:16:31 AM EST
Sales??? Thought about medical sales or pharm. sales? I graduated with a BS in Biomedical Sciences and that is what i am trying to get into
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 12:16:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By K1rodeoboater:

Originally Posted By MagKnightX:
...

PM me what the issue is that is keeping you out of the military if you don't want to post it.

<ETA> oh and you don't have to be in the military to work for the military. I turned down a job with NCIS and enlisted..... .....probably should have taken the job


I've got ulcerative colitis, currently under medication. Talked to a couple recruiters, a Navy PA, and read the list of disqualifying conditions, and been told by all that for serving in the military per se, it's a permanent, unwaiverable DQ. The Navy PA told me I could join as a medical officer, i.e. after getting an MD, if it were in remission for a year with no medication.

Originally Posted By nick89302:
Sounds like you want to do research and you have a decent enough GPA and MCAT to go to med school so why not go for an MD/PhD program?


First, no real research experience yet, and all MD/PhD programs I know of either require prior research experience, or are so competitive you won't really be considered without it. Second, I'm already concerned about the amount of time I'll be spending in school, and getting both MD and PhD is tacking even more time than I would taking a long time for just a PhD. Third, it's the same deal with why I'm not sure I want to go into medicine: medical care, even research, just isn't really that big in my field of interests.

Originally Posted By nightstalker:
Become a lawyer...

jk

There's a blog over on Volokh Conspiracy where a guy went to Harvard Law School and then enlisted in the Marines. One of his classmates did too but they lost touch with each other.

Worth a look...



My mother is an attorney and my brother is in law school (UVA) right now, so I've been able to experience what law is really like. I'm sure I could get into a good one, but I just feel like I'd hate law as a career.

Originally Posted By Bubbatheredneck:
A BS in biology is a ticket to medical school, grad school, or being the 'smartest' checker at Walmart.

If medicine is not for you, learn a trade like plumbing or AC during the day, get your business savvy at night school.

Taking a white collar work ethic to a blue collar trade will lead places.

Or, go get your BSN. A nursing degree is one of the most useful and open ended degrees out there.

.gov care will hinge on nurses. Be on the front end of that.



Nursing is another field I'm pretty sure I'd hate. Plenty of nurses in my family, running the gamut from OB/GYN (my aunt) to RN/NREMT-P helicopter medic (my late uncle for a little while). From what I've seen of the field, I can't see myself liking it as a job, at all.

I know that very few people like going to work in the morning, and I don't expect I'll be able to do anything where I actually look forward to getting into the office. I just don't want to get stuck in a career I absolutely hate. My father pulls down something like 120K yearly, but he hates his job, and I've seen the effect being miserable daily has had on him for 21 years. I don't want to end up like that.

Originally Posted By suprmatch:
Originally Posted By Harvster:
Grad school is fun and the payoff can be decent in terms of future career opportunities.



Don't forget the women there.

http://www.scavengeinc.com/images/legavenue/sexy-cloth-nurse-costume.jpg



In the hospitals I've had any experience with, the hot nurse is a very, very rare creature indeed.

Originally Posted By cjharpy:
Sales??? Thought about medical sales or pharm. sales? I graduated with a BS in Biomedical Sciences and that is what i am trying to get into


I'm not nearly attractive enough for pharma sales.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 12:41:09 PM EST
My wife graduated in chemistry. Got a job in pharmasuticals. By the way, that pays really well. They would hire biologists to do chemists jobs. Try getting a job in a lab or research facility for a corporation.

Either that, or you could be a high school teacher.

Those really are the options. Unless you are good at saying . . . ."would you like fries with that?"
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 1:24:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By Bflamante:
My wife graduated in chemistry. Got a job in pharmasuticals. By the way, that pays really well. They would hire biologists to do chemists jobs. Try getting a job in a lab or research facility for a corporation.[div]


Right there. I know a ton of people with a BS in biology who work for pharmaceutical companies. If you get in with a big company, you'll start at $55K or so and have a kick ass benefits package.

If I were you I'd see if I could get a research position at a local university over the summer or something. You'll get paid shit but you'll get research experience that looks great when trying to get a job at a pharma company.

RF

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 1:27:55 PM EST
Originally Posted By skylane:
You don't have to know now (or apparently at 46) - the key is giving yourself the tools (degrees) and background (experience) to allow you to make moves whenever you want. Put yourself in a position that allows you to get a wild hair and pursue it.

You really don't have to plan the rest of your life right now.


This is great advice.

You know what you need to do? Whatever you want right now. Don't worry if you'll love it as a career or not, just worry about the next 3-5 years. Get out there, learn something and then take it from there.

VERY few people pick the right career for them right out of college.

RF

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 1:30:03 PM EST
What about doing something like teaching?
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 1:33:39 PM EST
Hate to sound like a broken record, but Education is still hiring in this economy.

My dean has a helluva time finding biology majors with grad degrees that can/will teach.

TRG
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:09:07 PM EST
You could switch to chemistry and become employable?

Worked for me.

BTW - If you get into a Chemistry PhD program at a decent school, it won't cost you a dime.
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:12:52 PM EST

Cliff's Notes:
-No idea what to do with my life.


You realize this sums up 95% of adults right?

Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:15:27 PM EST
Originally Posted By PaperStreet:

Cliff's Notes:
-No idea what to do with my life.


You realize this sums up 95% of adults right?



Maybe if they asked for advice on ARFCOM, they'd have a better chance at knowing
Link Posted: 11/3/2009 2:23:48 PM EST
If you're into medicine, why not give veterinary school a shot? Totally different from working with people, but roughly in the same ball park. I've been hearing there's going to be a need for large-animal vets in rural areas in a few years, so you got potential for a comfortable life; or if you're into the research side of things, then veterinary medicine needs people to develop new meds for animals.
Top Top