Need a Heart to Heart / Advice


I am in desperate need of advice about whether or not the proceed with a post bac program. A little bit of background, I am a 27 year old female and I’m approaching four years at a top consulting firm. I come from a medical-oriented family where my father and brother are ED doctors, mother was a nurse, and sister-in-law is a PA. I entered college as a pre-med major, but after a fatal car accident that took my mother’s life, I decided to pursue her dream for me to become involved in international/government work, and pursued international business/finance and earned my MBA. (It’s important to note I graduated with a 3.9 GPA, my standardized test taking skills have not been the best).

Basically, although I’m succeeding and receiving high rating at my job, I find myself questioning my current business path, as I cannot see myself pursuing the partner track any longer, and cannot stand sitting behind a desk and developing macros. Since my start in 2008, I’ve applied to programs, and got into UVA and Penn State post bac programs. Unfortunately, I deferred and eventually declined UVA in 2010. After declining, I kept thinking about this decision and reapplied, to Penn State. Now I’m faced with the decision to leave my job in a month, or continue on.

My brother, who also, switched jobs from a pilot to a doctor, and is now in his second year residency, does not support my decision to pursue medicine because he claims I will put my whole life on hold, and your career is NOT your identity. I see this aspect especially since I’m a single 27 year old, and definitely want to have kids/family sometime in my life. My father on the other hand, whohas 25+ years experience supports this decision and claims he will help me any way possible. Basically, I realize this is my decision, but I wanted to reach out to this forum to gather a non-bias view outside my family. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again!

As someone who was in the bussiness field (accounting) for twelve years I understand feelings toward it. I decided that I couldn’t go back into accouting after losing my job three years ago and I haven’t been happier. That being said it is a hard adjustment/struggle with the idea that you are basically starting at the bottom again. I have been fortunate to have a wife and family who is puching me to do this, but I understand that it is scarry to think about choosing this path.

I will say one thing I have heard, don’t get advice about medicine from med-students and residents, most of them seem to have a little angst toward the profession.

As far as a family goes, I think that is all about how you make time for it. What does it matter if you are in a “stable” career if you are working 60 hours a week and have no social life as compared to being a full time student putting in the same amount of time. In the end you have to do what will make you happy and if your goal is to go to med school and have a family, you’ll figure out a way to make it work. There are plenty of posters who were in various stages of “family” and have gone to school.

BaileyPup – Thanks for your advice, and I’m happy to hear another person was in the same boat. It definitely is starting from the bottom, and I do have my doubts regarding the science courses and especially the MCAT since I have a trend of not doing well.

Also, I realize having a support network is important throughout this process. Your wife is a special person to be so supportive throughout this process; however, unfortunately I will not have the same support as I venture through this steep climb. For your path, how did you approach the premedical pre-reqs?

I wasn’t eligible for a post-bacc at my school since I already had a Bio Minor. So I have knid of done a DIY post-bacc. Retaking a few of the course that I felt I needed to get an A in and get a refresher in for the MCAT. I also have added upper level bio classes that I felt would help me with the MCAT and med-school.

As far as the MCAT goes the most important thing is to practice. Taking a review course may help, and most of them give you unlimited access to practice tests is good, but not necessary. The most important thing is to get as many practice questions under your belt before test time. If you have had the basic pre-reqs and wish to get a taste of the MCAT the AAMC has a free one on their website.

I’ll echo what Bailey already said. “What does it matter if you’re in a ‘stable’ career…do what will make you happy…” You’ve found yourself in this place previously (2010.) If you once again hold back and stick with your current job, who’s to say you won’t be back in this situation again in 2 or 5 years? Perhaps you feel this a tough decision to make because of strong emotions/desire to honor your mother and thus continue with your current job? If that’s the case, maybe talking it over with your family or friends will help you resolve any internal conflict. Regarding your brother’s objections - there are several on this forum with families who have succeeded, so that should not be a big deciding factor. As for your hesitation about science subjects - take one step at a time, identify weaknesses, make a plan, re-evaluate, repeat. And lots of practice whether it be homework or the MCAT. If Gonnif were online, he’d probably say you’re a victim of FUD. But it can be overcome!


I am sorry about the loss of your mother. I am basically in the exact same position as you, 25yo, and going through the same thoughts. I’ve been guarenteed a partner position within the next 5 years - which would mean pretty much being my own boss - which is something that wouldnt happen ever if I try to go to med schoo. I am considering not doing a post bacc program but taking the prereq courses while I continue working in case something doesn’t work out. This would mean having less time to concentrate on dating, etc as well. I need to do some shadowing to make sure this is what I really want.

Sorry, I know my post didn’t help, just wanted to let you know that this is a very tough call.

What is it that you’re afraid of? From what I can tell, you are on the high dive and need to jump off, jump in If you belly flop…the you do. But for some reason, you applied to post-baccs more than once. You were pre-med in college, etc.

Financially, it will be a big hit for quite a few years, and you’ll be a peon. But there is joy in starting over, in being brave, in doing the thing which seems to have been in your heart for a long time. Maybe you should listen to your dad. He loves you.

Forty more years of a career…it might as well be the right one. What is it that you are not getting out of your current career? Perhaps becoming a physician won’t fill that hole. Perhaps you’re looking for something else. But if becoming a doctor IS your thing, if you don’t try now will you keep the post-bacc application in your desk drawer and send it in again ten years from now?

As for focusing on imaginary children and a husband—it’s a moot point. Besides, maybe Prince Charming is at the post-bacc…

I really believe that, deep down, only you know what is the right answer for you. And that if you are honest with yourself, you know. Also, if you’re truly not sure what to do, is there much harm in waiting until you are?

Overthemoon - Thanks for your advice. As for your question, what are you afraid of…I’m afriad of failure, losing my past credentials, never having a family, etc. And although, I’ve only had a short span of life compared to others, I understand at the end of one’s life, it’s the people you’ve touched, and your relationships that matter most, and that will carrying on when you’re no longer present. Ideally, I know being a doctor will be an incredible career that will allow me to touch people’s lives, but I don’t want it to prevent me from developing relationships or take a toll on those I already love.

As for waiting, time is ticking in my opinion. I’m 27 and by the time I end, I’ll be 37…which is already older than I would like to be.

Long story short, I am going in circles with this decision, and if that’s the case maybe it’s not right. Afterall, if it was, couldn’t I be super excited and ready to take on that plunge?

I have only recently finalized the decision to persue medicine and take the steps towards that path myself, but would to say just one thing. The most important decisions are NEVER the easy ones to make. Fear in any big decision, especially one such as this, is comepletely natural. We are human beings. When we face uncertain circumstances we will always feel apprehension towards it, and generally second guess ourselves a thousand times. You see, in my humble opinion, it doesn’t matter which decision you make, it matters that its a decision you can both stick with and live with. In the end only you can decide whats right or wrong for you. A wise man once told me that “Indecision is the worst decision.”