I’m really glad to find this forum. Been reading the posts for the past couple of days and they have already been very helpful.
A little bit of intro on myself. I’m 33, father of two young kids, finished my B.S. in computer science in Korea and M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science at a state university in the States. I worked as a researcher at a national lab and am now a software engineer, living in SF bay area.
I’ve been mulling the idea of becoming a medical doctor for the past 10 years(!) but I kept discouraging myself for various reasons. But this time I got really serious and am having this “do it now or I will never be able to pursue it” mentality. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between different thoughts for the past two weeks and man, this has been painful.
My wife is quite used to my regular bouts and has been putting up with it since we got married. This time, however, I had guts to discuss this matter with her very seriously and of course she is not happy at all.
She had to work while I was a grad student for extra income and green card. Now I’m making good money and it is indeed time for stability. She’s happy with being a full-time mom raising kids and intends not to work till the kids are grown up. We’ve been talking about buying a house soon when prices go down a bit further and my older daughter is ready for kindergarten. And now, I’m trying to turn everything upside down.
I have doubts about myself as well. I’ve been greatly interested in this profession and constantly amazed by how human body works. Whenever my kids are sick, I found myself getting all nosy about the stuff and doing a great deal of research for their symptoms. I am compassionate and like helping people. But is this really enough motivation to pursue this tough career for which I have to ask my family to sacrifice so much? Is this just an extensive interest instead of a real passion? I really gotta figure it out.
It is true that I’ve been not too happy with what I’ve been studying/doing for the past 10+ years. I was stuck and didn’t have courage to change the career although I’ve been constantly thinking about it. I also thought about other possibilities like getting an MBA or working in financial area. But the idea of being a medical doctor simply doesn’t leave my head. I know this is not because I think this job is “fancy”. I actually view it as an opposite. Money is not an issue either. My salary is quite okay and I’m probably better off staying at what I’m doing now. I have a PhD and it’s certainly not becuase I want to advance in terms of my education and professionalism.
I now have homeworks to do. First, figuring out if I really really have passion for this job which will get me through uber-rough processes. Second, persuading my wife and family (this will drive our parents nuts). Third, making the final decision. For the first part, I plan to start volunteer work at a local hospital soon and hope that will give me some sort of confirmation.
For the second part, I have to present my wife a detailed execution plan. Hence a list of questions below.
- First of all, would it matter the fact that I finished my undergrad at a non-us institution?
- I took math, physics and chemistry while I was in college 10+ years ago. But I heard that US medical schools don’t acknowledge coursework taken abroad. Is it true? I plan to retake physics and chemistry but if it is possible, I’d like to avoid retaking all the math courses and labs. How about other humanities courses that I took like sociology, psychology, etc? Are the pretty useless as well?
- I plan to take science courses at a local state university but the other requirements (English and math if I have to) at a CC (money and time issues). Will this be acceptable? Looks like there’s quite a debate going on regarding taking courses at CC.
- I have to work full-time while doing pre-med and I think I can only take up to two classes each semester. If I start from this summer or fall, I think I can make 2012 admission assuming that I take MCAT while taking organic chemistry II. Is this doable? Or I might not be able to answer some of the questions if I haven’t finished org chem? I heard this course is everyone’s nightmare, so am wondering if it is better to separate the exam and the course for the sake of both.
- Am I supposed to finish all the pre-requisite courses before applying? I guess I can take non-science courses after applying, but what about the advanced science courses that some schools require?
- While in med school, will I be able to spare some time with my kids/wife? Or is it pretty much like courses from 8-5 and then straight to the library or lab just to survive? I know it is all about time management, but in general what is life as a med student like?
- Now, the monetary issues. We only have marginal savings so far. My parents are almost broke with no health insurance (they are working, though). My in-laws are relatively well off, but I don’t want/expect their support (I’ll just feel sorry for them for making their precious daughter a wife of a student again) I have kids who will be in grade schools by then. Assuming that my wife won’t or can’t work, will I be able to get loans to support a family of four in addition to tuitions? Or is there a limit on student loan amounts? How about during residency? Are loans still available after graduation?
Thanks for reading this long babbling and I hope I didn’t take too much of your time. But any help would be greatly appreciated. I plan to have about one month before making the final decision and go from there.
Thank you very much in advance.