Archive for November 4th, 2009|Daily archive page

Premed advisors: You already know…

In applying to med school, Rants on November 4, 2009 at 3:12 pm



What most of us feel like when dealing with advisors

As I look around and see where I am, I can’t help but begin to question who has been instrumental in my development as a human and on my trek on the road to the M.D.  While I can think of numerous people that in one way or another positively contributed to this journey, the one group of people that have done the least good (and possibly the most harm) have been pre-med advisors.  Who else is not surprised by this discovery? Lol

Ah, my experiences with pre-med advisors – where do I even begin?  Let’s start back in my freshman year.  I’m a bit of an oldhead now, so we’re talking Fall 2003…thank God women in my family age so well 😉  I had just came back from my grandfather’s funeral (an emotional event in and of itself) and was meeting with an advisor about missing classes.  He was the man freshman and sophomore pre-meds from specific dorms had to go to for academic advising.  This man also had an infamous reputation for being a mix of a douchebag and a pedophile.  Needless to say, I was apprehensive about even making the appointment, but knew I needed to have the excused absences duely noted.  So, he pulls out my file, starts asking me about missing classes and asks for the obituary while reading through my file.  Our conversation goes something like this:

Advisor: So I see on your first gen chem exam you got a B+. Why is that?

Me: Well, my grandfather was getting really sick. I was running back and forth between here and there trying to help him, blah blah blah (mind you, its a B+ on my first college exam, not an F…)

Advisor: And you want to be a doctor? Why do you want to be a doctor? You’ll never get into med school with B+s… (He then proceeds to tear me apart)

I proceed to ball out crying while my advisor exhibits no sympathy.  Remember, I was only  there to get excused absences, not career advice!  Ha. I was so young and naive about the usefulness of advisors. Once upon a time, I thought their word was gold. I quickly learned otherwise, thank God!  Some of them turned my friends off from medicine completely, but I guess you could argue that those individuals did not possess the drive and dedication and/or maturity necessary for a career in medicine.

Fast forward a few years to Story #2: Required advising meeting to plan my schedule

Me: I’m having trouble finalizing my schedule. Which three classes would be most beneficial for me to take? Immuno, Biochem, Cancer Cell, Developmental, or [insert a few others]?

Advisor: [on his computer, clearly not really paying attention] After a loooong delay, “Use your best judgment.” Followed by silence (I think he was playing a computer game?)

Me:  “Why are you here?!? What is your purpose???”  and proceeded to storm out his office, silently cursing my last attempt at actually using an advisor.

Note the difference in reaction only a few years made 😉  Yeah…they are quite the bunch.  Telling people not to do research or that applying in November is late…are you trying to set us up for failure?!?  Don’t schools want to boost the percentage of students that get accepted on their first try?!?   Those were only two of a few stories I had.  I’m sure I could’ve had some more, but I learned early on the unimportance of the pre-med advisor and the frustration that ensues every time you try interacting with them!.  They were good for two things: wasting my precious time and making me feel down about myself and my future.  Thanks a bunch, guys!

I will say, that I had one, lone beacon of light in this whole advising process, and that came in April 2009, roughly six years after starting down this journey towards the M.D.   A little late, but better late than never, right?  Sadly, the wonderful lady who gave me useful and advise and direction technically wasn’t even our pre-med advisor! Smh.  She was kind of “on loan” to us as an assistant advisor.  I tell you what – she put all our real advisors to shame! 

Here’s one of my favorite threads on pre-med advisors. Feel free to share your advising nightmares!  I know some of you need or want to vent…lol