Engineering student, thinking seriously about medicine


I was glad to find this message board. I am in graduate school for Aerospace engineering, and while i love space and the idea of space exploration, i really find myself wanting to help other people directly and on a personal level. I am considering med school but have a few concerns and was hoping maybe someone could address some of them.

1.) I will be 26 by the time i finish my masters in engineering, and while i know that there are older people succeeding in medical school i am still a bit nervous about “starting over” in school.

2.) I am afraid that medical school will ruin my personal relationships as my intense study habits have done in the past (although i have learned to balance study and relationships better, i fear that this won’t mean much because of the intensity of medical school).

3.)A family member of mine dropped out of a prestigious school recently because it was too intense.

4.) Will i be able to handle residency? I hear its terrible.

If any one has any thoughts on these concerns i would appreciate hearing them.

thanks so much!


Honestly, seems like you have more doubt than conviction in your intention right now. You need to make this decision completely on your own.

I would strongly advise you to try to first seek the answers to your questions yourself, for example by contacting the health sciences center at your U and getting some more information from them.

You should not look for advice to convince you that med school is the right pursuit. You should, however, look for advice to guide you how to go about pursuing med school.

Many of the older people you see here, are more than convinced that this is what they want to do - for many, it is a passion.

If it is a passion, trials and tribulations turn into minor speed bumps and you learn how to cope with them. If you try to find conviction for a pursuit, you end up throwing in the towel when the going gets tough.

As for personal relationships, well some will suffer and some will not. Depends on the relationships and how strong they are. One thing that is of incredible importance in this whole shabang is the ability to prioritize. Sometimes you will have to prioritize med school over relationships. If you have the right person at the other end of the relationship, they’ll understand and support your decision and you’ll both come out unscathed at the end of it. On the other hand it could be a deal breaker for many weaker relationships.

You’re young, and have a lot of time to make up your mind. Why don’t you find a doc to shadow for a few days and see if it’s something you can really see yourself doing.

As for helping people, there are numerous ways to do so. Medicine is just one of them. Also try volunteering at a hospice and see if you find that fulfilling. It may be fulfilling enough that you just end up a rocket scientist and help people in your free time.

Just throwing some ideas out there for you. Good luck.


Thank you for your response. You definitely have given me some insight. I think the problem is i want to be a doctor however I’m not sure if i want start right after my masters. Although i know many of you succeeded as older medical students, i feel that going to med school later as opposed to sooner would be a huge financial burden and that i would regret not doing it sooner.

Anyway i still have a year of grad school so i have time to talk to people and see what is the best course of action.

Thanks again!


Hi trytobezen – the social implications of failure are not a much as you think…with your masters you will always have some employment even if things don’t work out. I say give it a shot if only to crack the joke that it does take a rocket scientist to be a doc:-)

Best of luck!!

  • TrytobeZen Said:
Although i know many of you succeeded as older medical students, i feel that going to med school later as opposed to sooner would be a huge financial burden -B

I'm one of the older med school wanna-be's here...

My situation is the exact opposite of what you are thinking:

At 44, having had an executive career (VP internal audit publicly held company); partner track at Big 4 public accounting firms (KPMG, Deloitte); home in the 'burbs well worth more than I owe... my plan is this:

For next 3 years give up the big paying career job and "only" work contracts; still making $150k per year, AND going to pre-req bio/chem/math/physics classes

Sell my big house in the burbs, buy a smaller house, pay it down, invest the remainder of the cap gains on first house; net investment $150k

Get accepted to med school, sell smaller house to move to state in which med school is located, buy something there.

Result? At 47, I will have sold the house I live in, made a nice tidy sum, invested that to pay for med school, owe nothing while in med school except for minimal mortgage.

At 51, and graduating from med school, I will owe... nothing. Med school will be paid for because I AM older and have worked and made excellent money for past 15 years.

One of the benefits of being older (ancient according to some) is that financially I am much better off going to med school now than I would have dreamed 15 years ago.

Food for thought - it won't work that way for everyone.