Considering Career U-turn from Tech into it worth it?

Hi there - I am 28 years old this year and have begun considering a career (u-turn) to go back to medical school to become a physician. I would love some objective advice on weighing the pros and cons on this decision.

I have always been passionate about healthcare and majored in public health in undergrad with the hopes that I could have an impact on a grander scale. I took my pre-med prerequisites alongside my other coursework and did…okay. I had mostly B’s but got C’s in Orgo II and Gen Chem II. My science GPA is about a 2.97 and overall is 3.26 - not great. Like many of you, my premed advisor in college discouraged me my Junior year from pursuing medical school, so I heeded that advice and sought opportunities elsewhere.

My first job out of college was at a nonprofit. I enjoyed the work but felt frustrated at the lack of resources, support, and training we had to succeed in our mission of health behavior change. I began to find training on my own around marketing and advertising strategies with the hopes that I can incorporate them into a health setting. This eventually took me away from healthcare to digital marketing and tech consulting.

I have done fairly well for myself. I am in a stable job with a 6-figure salary. However I feel unfulfilled in my job and feel this calling to go back into healthcare. Through testing out different job roles and a lot of internal reflection, I have found that I need to be in a setting that allows me to exercise my creativity, care for people, heal/facilitate, and analyze and make judgement calls on decisions. Coupled with my interest in healthcare - becoming a physician met those requirements. I recently started to map out what I need to do and realized that I will need to take a few classes to be eligible to apply to a postbacc program, complete the posbacc program, take the MCAT, and MAYBE get into med school, which will then be faced by the challenges of med school itself.

I recently bought a home with my fiance and we are getting ready to start a family. He is very reluctant about my decision to pursue medical school as this means losing a source of income for potentially a decade, incurring more debt, and possibly forgoing a family in the near term until either I am in or have completed medical school.

Should I pursue this long path and risk my savings, my quality of life? What other alternatives would you recommend to someone who still wants to play an active role in healthcare?

Hi @nicole2023,

I want to first let you know that you are not alone! I am 27 and looking to transition from a pharma/biotech setting into healthcare. It’s not too late! Regarding your interest in healthcare, my first question would be do you have any recent clinical volunteer or shadowing experience? I only say this because these experiences can help to confirm your decision to go down this path. My professional experience could also be tied to aspects of healthcare but didn’t involve direct patient interaction. If you are in a similar situation I would definitely recommend trying to find a clinical volunteer opportunity (I highly recommend hospice). If you love it and feel that you will regret giving up on this dream for the rest of your life (as I did) then go for it!

As for alternatives, there are so many ways to contribute! PA, nursing, or simply volunteering to name a few. What I have learned so far is that nobody will tell you whether this is the right decision or not. It’s up to you to get out there and prove it to yourself. I’ve had many family members, friends, and even physicians discourage me from pursuing medicine but each time I’m volunteering or shadowing my resolve is strengthened.

As for your finances, take a hard look and see if your partner can support the two of you while you’re in school. I would hope that your partner would be emotionally supportive should you decide this is right for you. It certainly beats being unhappy and wondering what could have been! Not to minimize the financial aspect because it is certainly something to consider. Is it worth it? Seek out experiences which help you answer this question.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you can get some advice from some people who have been through all of this before. If you happen to be in the SF Bay Area I’m happy to discuss and recommend potential volunteer experiences with you.