Can you relate?


Is there anyone who can relate?

I am:

  • 32 years old (33 in Feb)

  • Never married, no children

  • Consumer debt < 12K

  • Graduated from high school in 1992

  • Earned ~120 hours at a four year state school

  • Didn’t do so well – GPA ~ 2.x – academic suspension

  • None of those hours add up to a degree because I kept changing my major

  • The credits are all more than ten years old – more than likely I will need to start from scratch

  • Still owe 30K in student loans from that hiatus

  • Was quickly lured away from college by a salary / career

  • Worked many varied jobs since my college days – some better than others

  • No career / position has lasted more than three years – this could be good or bad

    While I have listed many challenges, there are many positive achievements and skills that I have not listed.

    Overall, I have lived completely for the “experience” of life with no regard for planning for my future. While it’s true, I have done very well for someone with no college degree, I have not demonstrated a consistent devotion to one focused career goal. Each position I have held between the disastrous days of college and today has been less than three years in length.

    I have been fortunate enough to experience aspects of life that many people never get the chance to experience. I will spare the details but suffice to say they range from shrimping to trucking to IT project management in India and Bulgaria. For those experiences I am grateful. I have experienced an amazingly colorful life. Now I am in the midst of serious self-evaluation. It’s time to consider my purpose and true source of fulfillment.

    When I look back over the last ten years of my life I discover one common denominator that links every success I have attained - People feel comfortable discussing their issues with me. I seem to have a natural ability to listen and share with people about their concerns. I am at my best when I’m listening and helping others to analyze their concerns. I have good critical thinking skills and good analytical skills.

    I have decided to leave a career in IT and return to school, full time, to study psychology. The goal is to become a psychologist or a psychiatrist. There are, and will be, many opportunities to overcome amazing challenges.

    Has anyone ever begun his or her journey from a starting point similar to mine?

    Wishing everyone the best,


Welcome. Spend some time looking around. There are quite a few who started farther back than where you’re at. Go for it and don’t look back.

Hi Scott :

As Crooz put it, take a look around. We are literally all over the place! I’m a tad bit older than you are, degreed and taking my pre-reqs over again. I’ve garnered great inspiration and encouragement from this site and you will too! Welcome and go for it!

Hi, Scott!

Well, I can certainly relate to the consumer debt – the credit cards and the student loans. My husband and I now have our life back in order and we’re on a strict “debt diet” to pay that off before I rack up even worse med school debt. I’m certainly willing to help you figure it out if you need it! I really like this site – all the people on here are wonderful.

Thanks for the encouragement!

I have really enjoyed the postings on this site!

Best of luck,


I love your tagline

“All great achievements require time.”- Maya Angelou

Thanks for the kind word.

Hi Scott,

I would counsel you to think seriously about whether psychiatry offers any additional benefit to you versus psychology or doing therapy as a licensed clinical social worker or marriage and family counselor. The path of med school is extremely difficult and should only be undertaken if you really can’t think of anything else you’d be equally happy doing. Focus on what you’d be happy doing in a day-to-day way, and make sure you’re not embarking on a new path to get a degree that will redeem your previous less-directed wanderings. There’s nothing you have to redeem: you’ve had an interesting life so far, so make sure it stays rewarding even if you want the kinds of rewards to be different in the future.

For people interested in psychiatry above other fields of medicine, I think this is an especially important set of things to think about for several reasons. Other types of therapists often do substantially more listening than psychiatrists do; most psychiatrists play the role of psychopharmacologist in multidisciplinary teams, unless they are caring for quite wealthy patients. As a result, they rarely have visits longer than 15-20 minutes with patients in any follow-up appointment beyond the initial longer assessment–they really don’t have substantially longer interactions than primary care docs do, it’s just that the interactions don’t include the physical exam.

Finally, the majority of your training for the four years of medical school and the first year of residency (which will be a mostly medicine-oriented internship) will have little to do with psychiatry, psychology, or even listening to people more broadly. Psychological and psychiatric issues are important in a good medical training program, but in most programs you spend more actual time thinking and working on issues like heart and lung function, for better or for worse. Unless psychopharmacology in particular is your interest, I would think twice about psychiatry as your ultimate destination. Definitely find ways to talk to and/or observe psychiatrists, psychologists and other therapists at work in order to get a sense of what is the right fit for you. There are some folks who go to med school to become psychiatrists, but my observation is that a lot of them either switch interests, or find a good deal of the med school experience to be tough going.

I’d also encourage you, if you have not already, to undergo some therapy yourself. This will help you begin to recognize what you value about the process from the patient side and to discuss what you value in your work–and therefore help you clarify your goals in several different ways.

Good luck, and welcome to OPM.


Thanks so much for posting Joe! I appreciate your insight and will give it much thought.

BTW - I am also looking forward to exploring your webpage.

Scott, Please pay careful attention to what Joe has said. I think he’s hit the nail on the head with his suggestions and wisdom of experience.