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Graham Lubinsky's Journey as a First-Year Medical Student

I currently hold a bachelor degree from the University of California, San Diego and a master degree from Boston University. In addition, I am currently an MD candidate at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.

Throughout my life, I have always been interested in the sciences. While most kids would read comic books, I would be playing with a chemistry set. To further direct my interests, my father, a physician, would always have interesting science related stories to tell me. A career in science always seemed to be the right fit.  Later in life, I had some personal medical experiences that helped me truly grasp the concept of medicine as a profession. From then on, I knew I wanted to be a doctor; however, the path to where I am today was far from straight.

My Journey Through Degree Programs

At UCSD, I earned a BS in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience, which is the main Pre-Health & Medical Sciences major. Some of my favorite classes included: Environmental Science, Physics, Comparative Physiology, and my Biology Laboratory (Mammalian Signal Transduction Lab).  At Boston University, I earned a master degree in Medical Sciences. My favorite classes were Histology, Physiology, and Endocrinology. In addition, I was able to take part in a program in which we used the latest medical technology as a teaching tool.

Applying to Medical School

During my senior year at UCSD, I applied to medical schools across the country and was not admitted due to my poor undergraduate academic performance. During my second, third, and fourth years at UCSD, I struggled through complications related to the brain tumor I had removed in high school. After I did not get admitted to medical school, I decided that I needed to gain more experience in the field, so I held a variety of jobs to expand my skill set.  After another unsuccessful round of applications, I decided it was necessary to go back to school. I was able to face my learning problems head on and I succeeded in my classes, earning exceptional grades and graduating with an honors thesis.  When I finished the program, I reapplied to medical school and was admitted.

A Day in the Life of a Medical Student

On a normal day, I am awake at 6:00 am to get to my 8:00 am lectures. From 8:00 am to noon, I am in lectures, which vary each day, but cover the following topics: physiology, anatomy, histology, biochemistry, genetics, and patient care. In the afternoon, I have labs and discussion groups.  The thing I enjoy most about being back in school is that I am surrounded by like-minded individuals, who share a comment interest with me. The difficult part about medical school is the sheer volume of information. It was once equated to trying to drink water from a fire hose. 

Though I have yet to enroll in an online course, I know several people who have taken online courses and they all had great things to say about them. Several of my undergraduate friends found that it was tough to decide between entering the job market and returning to school.  By enrolling in online degree programs that focus on Public Health, Health Care Administration, and Business Administration, they could gain work experience and further their education at the same time.  Another route my friends have taken is entering an online degree program while looking for work.  Many online degree programs offer the flexibility to take your courses over an extended period of time.  Therefore, they could enroll and begin taking a full course load and still be able to dictate their own schedule for job interviews.

In addition to my peers, some of the physicians I have worked with over the years have discovered the convenience of taking online courses.  Medicine is a dynamic industry that will continue to develop.  Doctors trained twenty or thirty years ago could not foresee the emphasis on business that is present in medicine.  Taking an online course for a Masters in Business Administration is the only viable option for these physicians to further their education, without interrupting their careers. 

The Effect of the Recession on the Medical Industry

The medical industry has been greatly affected by the recession. When the states are trying to rectify their budgets, health care is often the first thing to get trimmed. In addition, families are unable to afford insurance. On a positive note,  no matter how bad the economy gets, doctors and other health care professionals, will always be in demand.

Advice for Potential Medical Students

If you're considering a career in medicine, keep your head up. Medical school is one of the most difficult graduate programs to get into; however, it is always a very rewarding field. If you do not get in when you apply, reassess your application. Also, if grades are an issue, strongly consider going back to school to improve your application credentials.