Is this a symptom of needing to into Medicine?

A little play on words as this being a ‘symptom’ but nonetheless appropriate.

I am about to turn 32 year old man with two kids. I am going through a divorce that will be finalized in 2-3 months with no hope of reconcile.

I work as an X-ray tech and have been in my field of 9 years.

I think about going into medicine almost everyday…especially when my career allows me to more direct patient contact and working with doctors to help patients.

I’ve dreamed this dream before…but now that my divorce is definitely proceeding I feel such despair at how to proceed.

I will be divorcing her with a good job and at the height of my income. If I make it into medical school it will be by aggressively retaking prerequisites and at best entering a D.O. program as I was originally pre-pharmacy in my early twenties and had no passion for learning like I do now and no grade forgiveness concerns me.

How on earth will I afford the child support while I am in medical school?

Does being a doctor mean I will not have time for my children? Does that make me a bad father for wanting to do something like this? I love my children…they are my world…but yet this dream persists.

I have become more of a humanist these past few years…with a considerable desire to service others.

I’ve read much on finance and business and know with great confidence that if I was to focus on being wealthy I would be a very wealthy man and could use philanthropy to benefit society.

Yet I remain ever fond more than before of being a physician…not because of the money…as the medical profession is more than ever less stable and more work for less pay.

Yet if I was a millionaire tommorow I would stop working immediatly and go to school to be a physician.

It is like a knot that sits heavy inside my stomach…trying to decide how to proceed. I have tried to rationalize this dream away time and time again…

‘‘It’s too expensive’’

‘‘Student loan debt is the most toxic’’

‘‘You will be in debt forever’’

‘‘How will you ever meet or be with another human being in a relationship if you are in medical school’’

‘‘You will not have as much time with your children and that makes you a bad father’’

I do not want to be wealthy…only to be secure and comfortable and know my family is taken care of and to be a good role model and to somehow serve others but at the same time still have enough time in life for myself too.

Apologies for the strange post…but I just wanted to bear my soul for a moment and maybe someone here will see something in this that they feel is worth commenting on.

I am still dreaming about medicine…I have a good safe job as an X-ray tech…9 years in…I would have to find another job doing nights or weekends somewhere else (hard to do) to go to school as my schedule is a mid day shift (11am-7:30pm).

I fear changing jobs…I fear going to school…I fear less time with my kids…I fear failure…

I fear not going for it!

Thanks for reading.

  • Jorsen Said:
Apologies for the strange post...but I just wanted to bear my soul for a moment and maybe someone here will see something in this that they feel is worth commenting on.

Jorsen -- There is nothing to apologize for. I don't know about others reading here on OPM, but I always feel honored when someone does exactly what you have done and decided to bear your soul like this to talk about your dreams.

There are definitely things in your post worth commenting on, and I will share what I can from my situation and perspective.

I am about your age (33 this week), divorced, and will start medical school fall of 2015. This thrills me beyond words. But it has been a long (and expensive) journey already, one I officially began in 2010. Lots of bumps in the road and unforeseen delays. I keep a "diary" here on OPM; if you want to read more about my particular story it's all there. Here is the link: Lorien's OPM diary. Even with all the bumps and delays, I couldn't see myself doing anything else. I think that is the quesion: Can you see yourself doing anything else? If so, do it. If not, then consider the plunge.

I can't comment on having children, as I don't have any. But one of my dear friends on this site is in her second year of medical school. She has three daughters (two biological and one step) and she does find a way to make time for them and her husband. It requires great intentionality and planning, but it happens.

As far as debt goes, there are less expensive and more expensive ways to do this. I did a formal post-baccalaureate program for two years, which was full-time private university tuition (very pricey). Some people take courses at community colleges or state universities, and things are less expensive. It all depends on your situation, where you live, your time frame, and so on.

I would encourage you to read the posts here on OPM, and also the diaries. See what other OPMers have to say, what does or does not resonate with you.

Only you can decide whether to pursue medicine. What I will tell you, though, is that the desire doesn't just away on its own. It's important to make a decision yay or nay rather than brush the dream under the rug.


When my aunt retired from Mayo, I was given her surgical kit sans the sharpies… and a love of fixing things was born. It never ended, despite life being thrown in the way A 4th grade teacher told me I was not bad, but bored; then he was diagnosed with leukemia and my passion for cancer riddles was set on fire.

But that life thing. And of course, when I hit college that drinking, death of a child, and more partying thing came to pass and my grades showed it.

Five years after that son died, my 2nd one was born.

Refusing to raise my son on welfare (I’m a single mom, no child support, no ex to help with the care, just me) by 32, in 1996, I was making about $75k, by the mid 2000’s I was up and over $235k per year + bonus.

I’d always volunteered for disaster services, always at homeless shelters, and always teaching my son to give back as well.

When I hit 44, my life changed drastically. A little bit naive, I told my public company to restate their financials.

Now what? Do I scratch that “itch” that never went away? The Dean of the Med school had spoken to my Rotary club and said, “We’d never even speak to you about a seat…”

So, I pursued other things until one day, someone said something to me and the spark lit the fire.

At 50 I am sitting for the MCAT in January, having completed all my pre-reqs, with a 3.98 (got a “B” in medicinal biochem)… and only focused on MD.

I tell you this because:

If you have the itch now, all those questions will haunt you when you’re 50. The children will grow, your ex might be mad (she’ll get over it), and you’ll be there wealthy and fine and … probably haunted.

Take one class. Just one, not two not three not 10. Just one. See if you like it.

Get an “A” and then decide… one more? or stop.

I know I could not scratch the itch any other way and TBH, I was not going to take the MCAT either until my cousin kicked my sorry ass and said, “GET ON IT!”

So it goes