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What to do with my life...(Medics/ChemEngers please help!)

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    Sorry for the sort of dramatic title, but its getting close to application time (relatively) and I am stuck between 2 courses - Medicine and Chemical Engineering.
    In terms of a career, I never really knew what I wanted to do exactly but what I do know is that I want money. (Let me save you the sob story... poor background... never had much blah blah no one cares) Money makes the world go round whether we like it or not, so why shouldn't I want to make the best income I can? And I know what you are going to say, Chemical Engineering is clearly the course I should pick, and I've heard many people say that if you want money, stay away from Medicine. Seems simple enough, right?
    The thing is, it just feels natural for me to want to do Medicine. The content genuinely seems interesting to me - it just kinda feels right for me, and it feels like I would be cheating myself if I didn't do it. I mean, I want to push myself to my educational boundary at university, I mean, why stop intensity and prevent your full potential? I was a fairly average underachieving student at GCSE, I got 1 A*,6A'S, 2B'S and a distinction, when I knew I was capable of more, and this and over the last few months of AS I decided I wanted to push myself. And Medicine is a pretty intense degree as I have heard. (I am not saying Chemical Engineering is easy, I realise this is a hard degree too, but Medicine quite longer and personally more interesting. and I feel that I would be cheating myself if I didn't do it, [don't ask me why, I'm strange :P ]).
    However, I'm not sure of what sort of Doctor I would be. I'm not socially inept, but my communication skills aren't amazing, and I feel that on a Doctor - Patient level, I'd be quite "mechanical", and I hate to say it, but I think I would be goal driven (Dare I use the M word?) And I'm not really anything special in terms of wanting to "care" for people - you see on personal statements how people have devoted their life to medicine because they have an inner passion to care and empathize for others. I don't really have this passion, and I am far more fascinated with the mechanics of the body, and what happens when things go wrong, as well as treatments. (Again, I'm not seeing it from the perspective of the caring Doctor who wants to help out the suffering patient, [although I'm not a heartless bastard, honest!] I'm seeing it through almost the science of it. What can be done to solve a life threatening problem, although thats a very simple example I guess...)
    I also have another goal in my life - I'd love to make it big in the USA - that is my dream. I am attracted to the idea of working in a big skyscraper ridden city, as I see that there is a wealth of opportunity, and .. well wealth, and I just love the culture, and I'd love to study/work there, which is why Chem Eng is a good option as well, due the fact that some ChemEngcourses have a year abroad in a USA (amongst others) university to study, which I think would be tremendous for my CV, as well as maybe getting contacts, and of course personal development.


    As you can see, I have quite a dilemma facing me, could anyone give me help/insight on what they think would be more suited to me, perhaps some advice or personal experience/views? I literally change my mind on either course every few days. I have applied for NHS Work Experience, and have gone to an open day, and plan to go to more in the future which I guess will help me.
    I'd also like to ask about job prospects, what job can a Doctor apply for outside of Medicine? And what about for ChemEng, or is the sky the limit for either?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I am very unsure of which course, career, and life to pursue. I hope I haven't sounded like a delusional idiot in this post haha.

    (Sorry if this is the wrong forum)
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    So I take it you're at the end of year 12? In which case if you decide you want to medicine and currently have no work experience or relevant ECs then you'll find that you won't be one of the stronger applicants.

    So first of all, you talk about money. Which I think is great, because you'll find countless applicants on here crucifying anyone who admits money is one of the reasons they want to go into medicine. However, the money in medicine is rather good, especially after the first few years and by the time you're fully trained you could easily be earning over £70k.

    As for finding a career in the USA, with medicine that will prove difficult. I'm no expert but I understand there are many entrance exams you need to pass and it's almost impossible to practise medicine there unless you qualified there.

    A point you seem to have overlooked is one which I think is very important in your situation. I'm not entirely sure how competitive ChemEng is, but medicine is very competitive. I think around 60% of applicants recieve no offers. So if you applly for medicine you have to be prepared for four rejections, especially as your GCSE grades aren't the strongest (but by no means are they bad). But, I think your chances of getting an offer will be a lot better with ChemEng.
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    (Original post by Elwyn)
    So I take it you're at the end of year 12? In which case if you decide you want to medicine and currently have no work experience or relevant ECs then you'll find that you won't be one of the stronger applicants.

    So first of all, you talk about money. Which I think is great, because you'll find countless applicants on here crucifying anyone who admits money is one of the reasons they want to go into medicine. However, the money in medicine is rather good, especially after the first few years and by the time you're fully trained you could easily be earning over £70k.

    As for finding a career in the USA, with medicine that will prove difficult. I'm no expert but I understand there are many entrance exams you need to pass and it's almost impossible to practise medicine there unless you qualified there.

    A point you seem to have overlooked is one which I think is very important in your situation. I'm not entirely sure how competitive ChemEng is, but medicine is very competitive. I think around 60% of applicants recieve no offers. So if you applly for medicine you have to be prepared for four rejections, especially as your GCSE grades aren't the strongest (but by no means are they bad). But, I think your chances of getting an offer will be a lot better with ChemEng.
    Don't get me wrong, I realize I am not going to Oxford or Cambridge with Medicine. I have applied for Work Experience and intend to volunteer in summer when I finally make my mind up. And yes I know I haven't made it clear that I am aware of the very competitive nature of Medicine. But I believe I am capable, and that I can really get cracking with the A level year to make up for the disappointing GCSE's. I do know that I have to be open minded and ready for failure, but thats part of why I want to do it. I know that it seems like I'm blindly wondering into dangerous territory, but I am fully aware of competitiveness, and I believe I could get in. (I am not trying to sound arrogant, I just believe I could get an offer, if I choose Med)
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    (Original post by lollage123)
    Don't get me wrong, I realize I am not going to Oxford or Cambridge with Medicine.

    hmmmmmm

    there are universities that will not accept you into medicine with your GCSEs ... non-Oxbridge universities

    What AS grades are you expecting ... I assume AAAA and that would demonstrate that you have moved a lot since GCSE so some universities will take a look

    You say that you know the competitive nature of Medicine and that you will sort out some work exp for the summer when you have made your mind up ... tbh this level of experience will still leave you at the lower end of applications (unless you have been doing volunteering etc that you have not mentioned)
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    (Original post by lollage123)
    However, I'm not sure of what sort of Doctor I would be. I'm not socially inept, but my communication skills aren't amazing, and I feel that on a Doctor - Patient level, I'd be quite "mechanical", and I hate to say it, but I think I would be goal driven (Dare I use the M word?) And I'm not really anything special in terms of wanting to "care" for people - you see on personal statements how people have devoted their life to medicine because they have an inner passion to care and empathize for others. I don't really have this passion, and I am far more fascinated with the mechanics of the body, and what happens when things go wrong, as well as treatments. (Again, I'm not seeing it from the perspective of the caring Doctor who wants to help out the suffering patient, [although I'm not a heartless bastard, honest!] I'm seeing it through almost the science of it. What can be done to solve a life threatening problem, although thats a very simple example I guess...)
    Then this ^^^^

    Not really the stuff of Med PS imo
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    (Original post by lollage123)
    Don't get me wrong, I realize I am not going to Oxford or Cambridge with Medicine. I have applied for Work Experience and intend to volunteer in summer when I finally make my mind up. And yes I know I haven't made it clear that I am aware of the very competitive nature of Medicine. But I believe I am capable, and that I can really get cracking with the A level year to make up for the disappointing GCSE's. I do know that I have to be open minded and ready for failure, but thats part of why I want to do it. I know that it seems like I'm blindly wondering into dangerous territory, but I am fully aware of competitiveness, and I believe I could get in. (I am not trying to sound arrogant, I just believe I could get an offer, if I choose Med)
    Unfortunately Oxbridge isn't that much harder to get into than other medical schools. They're all very competitive and to be totally honest academic grades are in a way the less important aspect of the application. Everyone who applies will have the top grades and pass the academic selection process. Where the competition lies is in the non-academic stuff, so it depends how well you think you stack up against these other candidates. Consider this along with the fact that most places will have a 10:1 competition ratio.

    I'm not saying you aren't good enough, just saying you should be prepared for the worst. Maybe if you took a gap year your application could be much stronger.
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    (Original post by Elwyn)
    Unfortunately Oxbridge isn't that much harder to get into than other medical schools. They're all very competitive and to be totally honest academic grades are in a way the less important aspect of the application. Everyone who applies will have the top grades and pass the academic selection process. Where the competition lies is in the non-academic stuff, so it depends how well you think you stack up against these other candidates. Consider this along with the fact that most places will have a 10:1 competition ratio.

    I'm not saying you aren't good enough, just saying you should be prepared for the worst. Maybe if you took a gap year your application could be much stronger.
    I appreciate this, but I'd really like to get my head around what is suited to me first. It is rather pointless debating something for a course that I don't know is 100% suited to me. The aim of this thread was to understand what course I should apply for - need be I will take a year out, but I was preferably looking for assistance with the either degree, and which is more for me, rather than being slated with facts on how hard medicine is to get into- With all due respect, I know what I am getting into if i choose medicine, and I know how much of a struggle it is - I have been researching medicine long before I have displayed a proper interest now. But I hope I displayed I am willing to work a lot to get what I want in the end. Please can we stick to the aim of the thread - Ineed to get past the first hurdle, and I already know I am late!

    And to the other poster, yes I am expecting A's., and I have already sent off the application for Experience. I hearyou can still put that you hope to do WE at so and so and hope to get this and that out of it, and they will then ask you at the interview, after it has taken place? Either way it should be done pre september.
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    bump lol

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Updated: June 29, 2012
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