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  1. Hello all, I'm brand new to this forum. I graduated with a degree in biology and a gpa of 3.52, and was planning to go to medical school the whole way through, while also thinking a lot about PA school. I was ready to apply to med school while I was finishing college, but decided to take some time away from the academic environment to make sure I really wanted to do med school. After almost a year of soul-searching, researching and deliberation (in addition to the last 4 years), I have finally decided that PA is a more appropriate career path for me. I had a great mcat score (93%) and I had all of the volunteer and leadership experience to make me a competitive applicant for med school. Now that I'm looking at PA schools, I need to get my direct patient care hours, take anatomy and physiology (I didn't do the whole series since medical schools don't require it), possibly take statistics, and possibly take the GRE. I have 400 hours of MA experience (not certified). I know the doctor personally and worked there for 4 months, I learned a lot but it was a very disorganized clinic. I have about 200 hours working as an EMT-B. I'm wondering if I should keep working as an EMT for a year and apply for the 2021 cycle once I take anatomy and physiology at my community college. I've looked at a lot of threads on the internet and from what I've found, paramedic is the best prep for being a PA; things like, "they were a head and shoulders above the rest of their class," and "they were very experienced with patient assessments and had great clinical presence." I've also heard that it's unnecessary and a distraction if your end goal is PA. I want to be a paramedic and get real experience doing more advanced patient assessments, but it would push PA school at least 2 years back since I'd want to work for at least a year to make it worth it. Being an EMT entails a lot of driving and sitting around the station, and when I do get patient contacts, I'm not in charge unless it's a stable (BLS) patient. Should I take the time to become a paramedic and get really good experience or should I get as many EMT hours as possible in a year and then apply? Also, do schools look at how many hours I've worked or do they need to know how much time I spent doing patient care, versus driving and sitting around the station, and how do I record that? My other main question is whether I should take the GRE or just rely on my MCAT score and not apply to "GRE required" schools. I live in CA and would like to stay in California, or at least in the west (CA, OR, WA, CO, AZ, NV, NM). This might be a question for a separate thread. I know this is a lot, but it's pretty much everything on my mind right now, please feel free to only answer a portion of it if you want. Thanks so much for the help!
  2. Hello, everyone. I know it may seem like this would be a bit of a biased place to ask for an opinion on this, but this forum seems really open-minded and overall really respectful with people asking these sort of questions compared to *cough* SDN *cough* other websites. I'm in a bit of a dilemma and I know ultimately this is only a choice I can make myself, but I'd like to get some opinions from others who are ahead of me on their medical journies as a little guidance. I'm 29 years old and a graduate of Arizona State University, where I majored in Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology. I always wanted to go the PA route, but the closer I am to finishing my undergrad, the more I'm concerned about possibly regretting the decision to not go ahead and commit to becoming a doctor. One of my biggest concerns with med schools is that I completed my degree online, although I did all my science labs in-person by flying out to the ASU campus. Long story short, I still think I have a good chance at med schools that accept online credits, but I'm unsure if it's what I should do. A quick rundown of my stats: - Non-traditional, white male, 29 years old - 3.91 GPA, 3.85 sGPA - 510 MCAT - 650+ hours volunteering for a suicidal hotline company. 200+ volunteer hours as a phlebotomist (mostly school blood donating events), and donated $2,000+ in crowd-funded scholarships to students throughout the state with a small company I started in 2015. - 3,000+ hours as a Certified Surgical Technician at an orthopedic surgery center - Strong LOR's from 2 orthopedic surgeons, a CRNA, a very well-respected professor, and 2 more from my volunteer coaches - 40 hours shadowing an Anesthesiologist and CRNA I feel as if I'm a strong candidate for med school and PA programs, but I'm older. I'm 29 now. I used to work in construction, then aviation, and even ended up leaving a Fortune 500 company (that paid extremely well) to pursue a career in medicine. I made a lot of sacrifices, but it was all worth it. I love my patients and couldn't imagine myself doing anything else in life. I also want to marry my long-time girlfriend. She's 25, so by the time I'm actually a doctor, she would be around 33. I graduated high school with a 2.3 GPA, suffered from depression for years, considered suicide many times, etc. I went through a lot (as I'm sure a lot of people have) and another one of my main goals is to write books about my experiences and to help motivate others. If I can graduate high school with a 2.3 and go on to become a doctor, I think it would be an awesome story in terms of my writings and would help a lot of people, outside from my patients. With all this being said, I think the career of being a PA will still satisfy my wants to help people in medicine. My biggest concern so far is that I'd regret not going to med school, but I hear a lot of horror stories about divorces, not being able to see your kids as much when they're younger, residency stories, and etc. The debt is also a big concern, because I would be 37-ish before I could really start paying my loans off. I don't know if it's worth it for me and my age, although I'm not that old. I just want to ask openly - if you were in my shoes, what would you do personally? I know everyone is different, but I'm just looking for some insights from different perspectives. Thanks for the read and sorry to type out so much.
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