Advice from those in or finished with med school

I’m looking for some perspectives from those of us who have actually made it to medical school and who have families. No offense to the rest of us who aren’t there yet. I am seeking feedback from those who have actually walked the walk. Not those who hope to. It’s one thing to say “Yeah, this is what the experience is/was like” vs “You can do it if you only put your mind to it and think happy thoughts!”

I’m four years into my postbacc process. About two years behind where I (unrealistically) thought I would be or one year where I (realistically) thought I’d be as far as my coursework goes. All of the core work is done that would allow me to take the MCAT next spring and start the application process.

Since this has taken a bit longer than I expected, my children are a little older and our financial situation has not improved as quickly as I had hoped. Nothing insurmountable. Just different.

My oldest has just started high school and my youngest, middle school.

If all goes well and the MCAT and admissions fairies wave their magic wands at me, I could start an MD/DO program as early as fall 2013. At that point, my oldest will be starting her junior year in high school and my youngest 8th grade.

I have found the idea of leaving my family behind to go to medical school to be untenable. As I get closer to the time when the children will be leaving home for their own college programs and careers, I am finding more value in being there. Being home. You know, being a father.

That limits my local option to a private medical school with the standard loan debt of $325,000-$350,000. Plus, four years of no income and four years of no contributions to my kids’ already anemic college funds.

My other options are to drop the MD/DO route and go with DPT or PA. The DPT is a three-year program at a public university and the tuition costs are about $35K for the full program. The PA program is at the same private med school and is two years. I have no information yet on cost.

It appears as if DPT and PA will have close to the same income levels.

I will think about these some more over the remainder of the semester and try to learn more about the DPT and PA fields, job forecasts and lifestyles.

I’m curious to hear from those who made it through the MD/DO pathways who are facing the realities of high debt later in life while adequately providing for your family. Would you do anything different?

In my mid-40s, I am finding I am more willing to sacrifice career ambitions rather than family and quality of life.

I would read Gabes diary on the diary board. That Is the one I read when looking into Medschool family life