Desire for medicine is HAUNTING ME

Hello Everyone,

I’m new to this website and need advice from those who understand. I’m 32 years old, married, no kids yet but trying. I have wanted to pursue medicine for 10 over years. I have a BS in Health Science and a Master of Public Health. Undergrad science grades where horrible, but I did very well in grad school. I started taking pre-reqs post-bacc–Ochem I: C, Ochem II: D. I was heart-broken and discouraged. Years later, I thought I would try again, this time I tried Physics. That did not work out. I have a job in clinical research making over $100K, I’m very comfortable but it is not intellectually stimulating. The money and lifestyle are the only things keeping me in this job. I’m also considering the years I have left to have children but I don’t want to plan for something that may never happen–I’ve already lost one baby. I have considered PA programs but in the back of my mind I think, what if. Am I settling without trying hard enough for medicine? I want to be a mother that is “present” is that possible in medical school, residency, and in practice?

If I’m not meant to be a physician, why is my desire so strong? It haunts me everyday. Thanks for listening:)

I want the truth. No sugar-coating.

Hi and welcome.

I guess the one thing that jumps out at me from reading your post is whether you have been able to clearly pinpoint why you didn’t do that well in OCHEM 1 and 2 as well as PHYS. I think you need to really figure that out because unfortunately all the desire in the world won’t get you into med school The adcoms want to see results (from undergrad courses, especially prereqs).

Just my 2 cents worth.


Thanks! My problem is when there is something I don’t understand, it becomes a mental road block and I get really frustrated. Everything else comes pretty easy except this.

Well, just to throw this out there then, have you looked at tutoring for those chunks that cause “blockage”? How about a study group? Those can be really helpful because if you can explain something to someone else so they understand it, you will understand it. Also your study group friends can provide a different approach that will help you get around the block. Then there is the professor and TA’s. Bug them during office hours, by email etc so that you get the help you need. That’s part of what your tution pays for.

Maybe you need to take a different approach (assuming that you weren’t already doing this) and try one more course to see what happens. Since you jumped into OCHEM, I assumed you had good grades in CHEM 1 and 2. If not, perhaps go back and start there.

Anyway, chin up. I’m sure others will chime in as well.


My grades in Chem I & II were mediocre. I’ve used the TA groups, but it was always a battle finding the time (balancing work). I have considered starting ALL over again, Chem I & II, etc. There is part of me that wants to take the easier route (PA school) but personally, 30 years from now I would rather be practicing medicine, doing clinical research, and teaching–independently.


I’m 33 and can relate. I worked in pharmaceuticals for 8 years, left and spent some time figuring out what I really want. Before I committed myself to pursuing my long journey to medical school, I questioned my desire as well.

I know that I want to dedicate myself to medicine for the rest of my life. My partner and I have decided not to adopt children and one of the ways I feel like I can make a meaningful contribution to society is by practicing medicine and helping to heal others, especially marginalised populations like the GLBT. I also hope to spend some significant time working in war-torn countries with organisations like Doctors Without Borders.

I’ve also been a GLBT advocate and activist but neither satisfy as deeply as being able to reach my own community in such a powerful, intimate and immediate way as practicing medicine.

For me, my desire is to use medicine to both empower and restore others who desperately need it. I love that physicians have an extraordinary ability to positively affect people who are at their most vulnerable.

And of course, there’s the science.

I used to be really intimidated by science and then I realised it’s just rules and memorising the rules and how they interplay. After I was able to accept that perspective, science became fascinating to me, dare I say, I find a lot it enchanting. Of course, none of that will replace the work that will be required of me.

Regarding O Chem, it might be an indication that a refresher in Chem I, II might be needed.

Thanks BronxCat, you’re probably right. That is an interesting perspective and approach to science. I will try to remember this


If you really want to be a physician, and if you want to be a good physician you have to convince yourself that taking undergrad sciences and doing great in them (by this I mean getting nothing less than A after A after A) is the only way to get you into the medical school. It will cost you a lot.

I know how much it cost me! I really don’t like studying! I love learning, but I do not like studying. Unfortunately most of the things worth learning in life require hard work and… a lot of it!!! And I get sooo frustrated when I don’t get something the first time. Although I cried many times, and ‘hated’ life when things didn’t come easily to me, I somehow managed to graduate with my bachelor’s degree with GPA of 3.9.

I strongly believe that where’s the will there’s the way! You just have to ask yourself what is it that you really want to do in life! And if it’s being a physician, you have to change your attitude! And do all you can to get there! If you don’t like chemistry/ organics and physics… start liking them! If you cannot overcome your weakness now, you won’t be able to do it in med school either. And believe me - there is lots of things in med school that are as difficult as organics and physics… but with hard work and proper attitude you’ll be able to handle them all.


The “PA vs. physician” debate is sidetracking you. The truth is you are going to have to take those prereqs and do well in them regardless of which path you choose. The real key for you is to figure out if/how you can do well in the prereqs. Madkasia is right - when you decide to go back to class, it must be with the intent of settling for nothing less than As.

PA students sat next to me in many of my second-year medical school classes at GWU. I work with PAs and their understanding of chem, physics, bio, o-chem is absolutely on par with mine. I can’t stress this enough - right now you are setting up a false choice that is distracting you from what you MUST confront before you go further.

Good luck!


I read your story, what an amazing path you took! What you said makes sense. How did you handle medical school and your responsibilities as a mother and wife?

What Mary and Madkasia said X 10. You must decide to do it, and just go at it. Take it one day at a time.

Too many times I read of people saying what am I going to do if I get accepted on the East coast or something similar, when in reality those people have not even completed the pre-reqs. Their stressing out about things that are concerning, but not even close to being the time for.

  • MNMD Said:
I read your story, what an amazing path you took! What you said makes sense. How did you handle medical school and your responsibilities as a mother and wife?

Well, this thread is about your questions, not about me.... so here, I will just remind folks that my kids were OLDER by the time I went to med school. My oldest child went to college when I started my post-bacc studies and graduated from college after my first year of med school. My middle kid started college, and my youngest started high school, the year I started med school. We all graduated in 2004 and had an awesome party!

It is important to figure out how you will manage med school with a family but here again, don't let that worry stop you as long as you and your family/s.o. are on the same wavelength. In the case of the O.P., your challenge is to figure out how to nail your prereqs. The rest of it is an issue to address at a future time.