I visited this forum a few years back, when I was in my early 30s. I was dead set on getting into medical school, started preparing for the MCAT, set up a shadowing opportunity at a cancer center surgical oncology (the surgeon is a friend, and I absolutely loved it), but I can’t even begin to tell you how discouraged I was by everyone I encountered. And that is not really the bad part. The bad part is that I allowed myself to be influenced by this discouragement.
So, I decided to give the whole idea up, convincing myself that it was just a phase and that I should just focus on my current career.
Well, a few years, a marriage and one child later, I realized it was definitely not a phase!!! And the best thing is that my husband is extremely supportive. I broke down one day telling him how much I want this and even though I would be in my late 40s by the time I would actually be able to practice medicine, that would still give me 20 years of enjoying my work. On the other hand, 20 years is a very long time to spend doing something you are just not into…
I am planning on taking MCAT early next year and take it from there. The rest of the pre-requisites were completed a long time ago. I did get a PhD in Biochemistry and worked in basic science research for additional 5 years. Now I am doing more public health type of research.
Anyway, I am trying to get some sense of the age of other non-trad students on this forum. Those that are are in medical school now:How is your family life impacted? What about your kids? Any sense of guilt? Those that are in the process of preparing/applying, please share your experience!
Welcome back! I can relate to what you’re talking about, at least in part. Truthfully, my family was what I was most worried about. I’ve been telling myself that my desire to pursue medicine would just go away if I ignored it–but, as it turns out, it’s not like a rash or a bad cold. It’s not going away, and I can either live with that for the rest of my life or do something about it. So here I am–right here in the same boat with all these other fantastic people!
I’m juggling a full time career and school right now, all while trying to be a parent to a 4 year old daughter, a wife, and a touring singer/speaker, if you can believe it. I didn’t think that my life could withstand any additional pressure, but we’ve managed it beautifully! I even finished my first two classes with almost perfect scores and the highest grade in both…
If you’re like me, when I first had my daughter, you probably wondered how you were going to adjust and have time to EVER do anything for yourself again… but then, as the days and weeks of parenthood go by, you find yourself reaching a new level of homeostasis. A new rhythm in your house… and things jut kind of slide into place, right?
This feels VERY much the same to me. If you want something badly enough (and by you, I mean you and your family–because everyone has to be involved), then you just kind of make room for it.
I have a few posts on this, because it’s really a huge deal to me. If you do a search, you can probably find them.
Suffice it to say that while I’m not in med school yet, I am working and ‘schooling’ about 60-80 hours a week, and my family is actually stronger now than we were when I started. We are LOVING this journey.
I also know what you mean about being discouraged by unhappy or disgruntled physicians. The thing is, you can find people who are unhappy with their chosen profession in ANY line of work. If you know that you’re called to this, you acknowledge what you heard, think about what you can do to avoid going down that path, and just keep walking. A dear friend of mine is an oncologist, and I asked him once how he handled doctors around him who are miserable. “Oh, I dont. I don’t have time for that. I love my job, and if you don’t? I’m very sorry…but neither I nor my patients can afford the time to surround myself with that kind of toxicity.”
I just turned 34… I’ll be 36 when I start med school (August, 2013), 40 when I start residency, and 43-48 when I am back out in the “real world” as a physician. But I’m taking it one semester at a time… and when you have children, that time FLIES by! Like so many others around here will say, I’m going to be 45 someday anyway. I might as well be doing work I’m passionate about!
Best of luck, and keep us posted!
Congrats on your decision!
just as a side note- many schools have a cap on how ‘old’ your pre-requisites can be. I think it is either 5 or 7 years. You mentioned that you took them long ago, so I would double check if you need to retake them before you take your MCATS.
Thanks for letting me know about the “expiration date” for the courses, as I was not even thinking about that.