This fluffy princess right here! And for some reason I was able to declare Biochemistry as a minor online but not Biology. Ok CUNY, ok.
Clearly I spent all day thinking about this talking to a ton of people, including you guys. I'm sorry I didn't respond to everyone on my initial post, I was just really overwhelmed and panicking. I read every response and you all helped so much. Thank you :)
So I spoke to a bunch of people and looked around on my college's website at courses, minors, majors, etc. I found out what the very basic requirements would be for me as well as the recommended ones for going into research. Upon searching and discussing, I also remembered that I can declare two minors. I decided I'm going to minor in both Biochemistry and Biology, for a bunch of reasons. The combination will require me to take the majority of the classes I would need, whereas one minor wouldn't. Of course I can take anything without a declared minor or major, but the minor declaration will let any courses I take which are required be covered under financial aid as they are for my degree. So this way, I won't have to use loans or pay out of pocket for most of them. Also, this means I won't have to come back to school. Upon completing these two minors I will have all of the courses that a med school or graduate program would want. I will essentially be pre-med now and once I'm done, I'm done with undergrad. I won't need to come back as a second degree or non-degree student!
The combined minors will require 12 courses, plus 4 more than don't fall under the minor requirements (those I may have to use loans for). The courses are General Bio 1 & 2, Organismic Bio 1 - Botany (it's a pre-req), Microbiology, Molecular Bio, Medical Microbiology or Principles of Immunology (I have to pick one), General Chemistry 1 & 2, Organic Chem 1 & 2, and Biochemistry 1 & 2. The ones that aren't required for the minors but I'll still need are Pre-Calculus (as a pre-req), Calculus and Physics 1 & 2. I know this is more than I'll need as a basic requirement for graduate or med school, but I want to take as much as possible while I can.
All in all, if I stay as a full time student and do well and don't have to retake anything, I'll be done with both majors and minors in May 2016. I'll be 25.
I know I still must speak with more people in this field, which I will. I still need to speak with the Deputy Chair of the Biology department and I'm going to talk to as many doctors and researchers as I can before I say I'm definitely, 100% going into biomedical research. And I'll start off slow taking the general courses and see how it goes. If it turns out that I'm really not enjoying it at all then, well, I tried. I have to try.
I don't think I'll start with any of these classes until Fall 2014, but that's ok. I have the journalism classes to finish this spring and I'm going to try and find some research opportunities for the summer.
But guise, seriously. It's fucking starting.