New here, have a few questions (of course.)

Hello, I’m 35 and have 2 daughters. My eldest leaves for college in the fall and the youngest begins HS. I have always wanted to be a physician…for as long as I can remember. Will I really be able to do this? Pre med beginnig this fall and med school while my youngest begins pre med??(she wants to be a neonatologist…) Am I disillusioned that I can do this alone? At 35?? I am a Paramedic now so working will be no issue as my schedule is very flexible. I know I am rambling but I am really excited about this. I know the coursework will be demanding (physics!!!aaahhh!) But honestly ladies and gentlemen, is this possible or just a fantasy? I was in the middle of my first semester premed when my eldest daughter was a baby- she got sick and I quit…so this is no overnight decision…I welcome all comments- negative as well as positive.

Good Luck to you all!!

Hello Jonnie and welcome!! I will start off by saying that there are quite a few people on this site who believe firmly that if you can dream it, you can do it. You are very fortunate in having a job like you do, so that your schedule is flexible, and you are gaining much needed experience being a paramedic. You already have some benefits because of those things, that others on this site I am sure wish for. The question of “IF” it can be done can be answered by saying “absofrickin’lutely”. I think if you read through a lot of the threads on this site, you’ll find that there are quite a few of us that are “doing it” everyday and succeeding. Believe in yourself and you can’t give up nomatter what and you’ll get there. There’s not much room for self-doubt. Also, try and tune out the negative stuff which I am sure you might run into in other places. This site and it’s members are all fantastically supportive. If you can make it to the conference in Chicago in June, you will probably gain a lot of motivation and useful information that way. We are here when you need us. Good luck, and don’t give up. One last thing, this isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon, so just know going in it’s going to be a long haul, but very very worth it.

When I was contemplating this, I freaked out as well. Fortunately I got very wise counsel from a physician who’d been a non-trad and whose wife had gone to med school in her 40s. He pointed out that regardless of what you decide, in the beginning you’re actually just committing to taking one course. Try it, see what you think. It’s not like you’re signing up for the Army and they won’t let you out for five years, or being locked away in prison, or for that matter, signing a 30-year mortgage. You can try this idea on, dabble in coursework (but DO WELL IN EVERY SINGLE COURSE), and continue to mentally explore this idea. You’re not committed to actually GOING to med school until you show up

This calmed me right down. I still knew that what I really wanted to do was become a physician, but the concept of “just one course” helped me understand that it’s not one irrevocable commitment at the beginning, but rather a series of commitments at each step along the way. Some would argue that you should BE committed but I won’t go there.

I took my first pre-med class when my oldest went off to college. When I started med school my middle child started college and my “baby” started high school. All three of us graduated the same year and we had a great party!

It will take significant life skills (you know, the fun stuff like time management) and you will need to line up your support. I get the sense that you’re a single parent… ? though you don’t say that explicitly. If so, you’ll definitely need to build alliances with other parents for those times when your kids need you and you’re not immediately available. (Looking waaaaaay ahead, you’ll be away overnight during third year of med school and your high schooler shouldn’t be left home alone, for example.)

Right now, though, all you have to do is sign up for a course, work hard in it, see if you like it, and decide if you want to take the next step.

And definitely consider coming to our conference in north Chicago in June. The support and camaraderie, the “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” aspect of the experience is truly priceless.

Good luck!


I will be 39 this September with one daughter college age and the other starting college in September. Can you do this? You’re darn right you can!! You’ve already proven you can handle stress and crazy schedules just by being a parent AND a paramedic. I myself won’t have my bachelor’s degree for another year or two.


You bet your bippie…what ever a “bippie” is…that it can be done. BUT, you MUST be willing to do the work & make the sacrifices that will be asked of you. Like Mary says, take one step at a time - you can’t eat an elephant in one big bite, but you sure as hell can taking one small bite at a time…providing, of course, he/she stays still long enough.

one of the things I did not expect was the financial effect on kids college education of me going back to school. Two of three kids started college while I was in school, and surprisingly, with an additional student to list on the financial aid forms (they never ask how old a student) plus my lack of income we looked poorer than dirt. As a consequence both of my daughters recieved excellent financial aid packages. Of course it didn’t hurt that they were both top students either. So parents AND kids in school together is not as financially untenable as you might think.