Am I crazy?

Hi there,

So, here I am thinking about beginning course work toward a medical degree. I am also contemplating if I am off my proverbial rocker!

I have an earned PhD in education…yeah, really! However, I have had to take the last two years off to care for a child born with some major issues; he has had 5 surgeries in his short life. During that time, I have come to know an incredible number of people who have dedicated their life to helping kids like mine get well and have successful, fulfilling lives. They, along with my child, are my inspiration. Although I have significant education already, I do not feel that, I cannot purposefully help people with my current degree.

That said, I recently turned 37 and have 3 children and a husband (who is 110% supportive of this idea). I also have a significant amount of student debt from my three degrees. If I start on this path, I would need to return to school as an undergrad to complete the required science classes, do the MCAT, etc. My biggest fears, of course, are the toll this path may take on three kids (who are all under 4) and the additional student debt I would have to incur.

Am I crazy to even consider this path? I would love input from others!

You have your husband’s support and that’s all that matters.

Debt is real but you can make enough to pay it off if you live below your means, now, during, and after school.

I’m no help with the kids except to work hard in med school and pick a specialty that’ll give you the time to spend with your family and give you job satisfaction…at least that’s the dream.

You’re not crazy. The inspiration for becoming a physician is genuine; Keep it burning in your heart! Your husband’s support is genuine, too. However, as a man myself, I wouldn’t trust a man’s skill and patience in taking care of the young kids like that. I don’t mean to discourage you, but 10 years down the road your success in medical could become the whole family’s suffering. Of course, you must be strong, both mentally and physically, to balance between your family/debt with studying.

I would suggest to wait for another 20 years when the kids grow up. At that time you would be debt free, too while you are still young at 57. As long as you feel happy and young at heart, you still can fulfill your dream FRESH with your husband’s and your children’s support.

Am I crazy when I suggest that course? I’m ready for pre-med education next year when I celebrate my 66th birthday!

Ahh, luckily for me, my husband and I live in the 21st century. He is currently the primary caregiver for our children three days of the week while I work 40 hours in a contract position (first position since my son was born). I have absolutely no qualms about him helping to raise our children. They are half his just as they are half mine; in my eyes it’s a responsibility of us both, not just me and not just him. And he is a wonderful caregiver. We also have family that are local and will be around to help at a moments notice. I am struggling with returning to school at 37; I am not sure I would have the same resolve (or energy!) at 57.

Thank you for the encouragement. I know there are programs to help repay school debt and I am most interested in community and global health so that may help in that department.

  • Em Hadong Said:
I would suggest to wait for another 20 years when the kids grow up.

This is a bit extreme if not mysogynist since I NEVER see premed men being given this advice.

That said, I DID decide to wait to pursue med school in earnest until my kid was about the graduate high school (in 2014) and I'm EXTREMELY glad I did.

My advice to mothers is to wait until all of your children are in school all day, around 1st grade or so. And look at med school like a 9-5 "job" that occasionally requires weekends (for study, applicable to years 1 and 2 only).

I couldn’t agree more that child care should be both parents’. I would say go for your dream if your husband is supportive of the decision. Your children will be proud of you for pursuing your goal. Good luck!

So I wouldn’t wait 20 years (!) - but I wouldn’t necessarily jump completely in either. Why don’t you consider taking the pre-reqs you need for med school?

You can do it slowly, a class or two at a time. That would take several years, it would stretch out your tuition, it would be more conducive to family time and it would get you prepped for the year when you decide it’s time and jump into med school.

You don’t have to go back to school full-time for that. A lot of people here do a DIY post-bac to get the courses they need. I’ve already listed some of the upsides. Some downsides are it taking awhile (not necessarily a bad thing here), possibly no formal advising/MCAT prep and if you’re a non-degree seeking student you might have to register last for classes.

If you take this path, considering your debts, I would encourage you to take a look at the health professions scholarships for the underserved and rural practice, commissioned corps, or look into HPSP (health professions scholarship program) and FAP (financial assistance program).

Hear, hear!!

I didn’t “wait” till my kids were graduated from college to start…I just didn’t realize I wanted to do it till they were about finished

I agree - go earlier if you can. Energy is precious. I realize that I probably will NOT be moonlighting in residency as many (younger) docs do to supplement their income. Need to focus on doing the work and completing the training.

By the way, one of my classmates had 2 kids (middleschool and highschool) when she married prior to year 1, a man with 3 daughters all in elementary school to kindergarten. He kept the 3 daughters while she moved with the boys to start school - they traveled a lot on weekends to be together and skyped. He moved during the summer between year 1 and 2 of med school. She had a baby with him January of 2nd year (yup, 6 children now!). So far she, and they, are doing it!


You hit it right on the head… yes, it takes TWO to make babies and BOTH parents can take care of their children. (I had to comment on that…grr) I have a similar situation, with debt and taking the plunge on deciding to follow my true dream (I am 39) and I am scared to all heck as I move forward on this journey, But, I have never been more empowered and content with the direction my life has taken since I made this jump. I run a business, I have 2 children (14 and 11) and work full time and will be going to school full time in the fall (already started with summer classes)My husband is also very supportive and we will work together to make sure our kids are always taken care of, but he has NO problem taking on the mom and dad role and never has since they were born when I started my own company. (He works with me full time as well) WE Work as a family unit, support each other in all things, No ONE person is responsible for the kitchen duties WE ALL ARE! in this day and age, who has time for any stereotype sexist Bs? Prioritizing your time is key…but where there is a will there is ALWAYS a way to manage everything put in front of you. Good for you and I wish you luck and much success in your pursuit of all your dreams! make it happen!