Plunged back into turmoil

On Thursday afternoon I sent a $1000 bank draft to the University of Toronto medical school to secure my seat.  I turned down offers from UBC, Queen’s, and Memorial.  I sent a response to the University of Alberta saying they could take me off the wait-list.  I thought that I had made up my mind, and I was ready to run with it.  However, as soon as I got back from the post-office, I was plunged back into turmoil.  I received a call from the University of Calgary admissions office offering me a seat.  I think my exact words were “Damn.  I just sent $1000 to the University of Toronto.”  I’m sure they are used to more enthusiastic responses than that.  Once again, I am facing a tough decision.

I have already outlined the advantages of the University of Toronto in my previous post.  But the University of Calgary medical school has one huge advantage that has the potential to be a trump card: a 3 year program instead of a 4 year program.  I am an old man who is weary of school.  I have been attending university for 10 years.  The “Real World” feels like a mirage on a highway that just keeps receding.  The financial and psychological advantages of finishing a year earlier are extremely appealing to me: 1) a year less of tuition; 2) an extra year of earning power; 3) becoming and MD at the age of 31 instead of 32.

In a 4 year program, medical students typically use their summers off to conduct research in their discipline of interest.  Since I will already have a PhD in neuroscience, this may not be necessary for me at this stage, although I think I would enjoy doing summer research.  Without the stress of doing a PhD, research may be a lot more fun.  It might also be nice to have the summers off to travel.

I only have a few days to decide.  If I end up losing my $1000 deposit it would be shame, but I don’t want to let it influence my decision.  Tuition is $17,500 at the U of T, so I would still be thousands of dollars ahead.

I am amazed that I received 5 offers of admission to med school on my first attempt.  Although deciding between medical schools has been somewhat stressful, I recognize how fortunate I am.  My labmate put it this way: “It’s like choosing which supermodel you want to marry – I don’t feel sorry for you.” 
 

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