Working in medicine was always in the back of Mike Nocek’s mind.
An avid skier, Nocek attended Stratton Mountain School in southern Vermont, studied economics at Boston College, and raced on the college ski team. After working in finance in Boston, followed by a year-long stint to launch a start-up sports medicine app, Nocek decided to switch gears and return to school.
He enrolled in UVM’s Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program, a 12 to 24- month customized program to help students prepare for acceptance into medical school and other health professional programs.
“I wanted to go into clinical practice rather than be at a start-up. I liked the day-to-day of my work, and my job was OK, but I didn’t necessarily like the path I was on,” he says. “I’m 30 now, and I’ll be 40 by the time I’m really starting my career. But as I get older, I realize that this is what I want to do.”
Nocek is interested in sports medicine and orthopedics. He’s getting ready to take his MCATs and start applying to medical school to become a physician. He’s also planning to take a remote research position at Columbia University this spring.
Going Back to School
Going back to school seemed daunting to Nocek at first, but he found his footing quickly. He also learned in the UVM postbaccalaureate premed program just how much he enjoys lab work.
“It had been a while since I had taken classes, but you do acclimate quickly. I found that you get more efficient, you can take on more material, take more classes, and then at the same time you have more free time,” he says. “I was used to working hard, but working in a lab setting at first was different because I didn’t do that in high school or college. That was one thing I really enjoyed. I like working with my hands and using critical thinking skills.”
He chose UVM’s postbaccalaureate premed program because of its linkage agreement with the UVM Larner College of Medicine—and because he loves Vermont. He also enjoyed working alongside students of all different ages and backgrounds.
“Location is a big thing for me. The mountains are here, and Vermont is an awesome place to be,” he says. “One of the things I’ve learned in this program is that there’s such a wide age range of students. There are people just out of school, or out of school a few years like me, or even older. You realize you’re not alone.”
Unique features of the UVM Post Baccalaureate Premedical Program
- Various tracks for healthcare specializations
- Access to UVM Medical Center, a Level 1 Trauma Center
- Integration with the UVM Larner College of Medicine
- Outside the classroom learning opportunities for students, including informal discussions hosted by physicians and other health professionals
- Linkage agreements (affiliations) with various medical schools
- Personalized academic support and a strong advising component