new member; first post

Hello everyone,

First of all, I am 47 years old, so the rest of you seem like youngsters to me!

I’m sitting on the sunporch at beautiful Lake Crescent Lodge in western Washington, looking out at the sparkling lake and rugged mountains, thinking that I’d better enjoy this now because if I actually put my plan into action, these vacations may become a thing of the past.

I live in the Seattle area (Bainbridge Island) with my airline pilot husband, two kids, 13 and 8, and various animals.

I have told almost no one about this dream because I suspect they’ll think to themselves, “Oh, sure, and I’m going to become an astronaut!”

I got a B.S. in Aeronautics in the mid-eighties and worked my way up from being a flight instructor to becoming a Delta Air Lines pilot. It was a tough road for a young women in the eighties (I was hired in '86), so I have experienced adversity in many forms. My GPA from college was about 3.85, and I graduated with honors and distinction.

After a few years with the airline, my husband and I decided to start a family (an interesting experience in itself, because no Delta pilot had ever been pregnant!). After researching and ultimately writing a maternity policy for pilots, and flying only during the safe middle trimester (high altitude radiation), I finally went home to enjoy my pregnancy. Two days later, after a routine ultrasound, we discovered that our son was single-ventricle. Extremely long story later, our son died at two months of age.

I didn’t go back to work at that point because flying for the airline took more strength than I had. In trying to have a family, I had five miscarriages and two successful pregnancies over an eight year period. By the time I felt ready to go back to work, it was too late, my having been off the seniority list for too long.

So, that part of my life is over. I have devoted myself to my kids for the past several years, but last year I homeschooled my son (he’s a serious cellist and homeschooling is efficient) and we studied Algebra together. I loved it and was reminded about my great interest in medicine before aviation hooked me.

I took a standardized test (with no studying)at a local college to see where I stood in Language Arts and Math, and scored quite well.

After talking to the UW Medical School among other resources, I have decided to create a program for myself to fulfill premed. requirements. I’m going to self-study Pre-Calculus and Trig., then retake Calculus (after 20 years). I’m also planning to take three quarters of Composition and Literature, then all of the Chemistry, Biology, and Physics required.

The admission person at the UW Med. School recommended my taking as many courses at a community college as I could. This surprised me. I figured that med schools would frown on CC classes. (Of course my degree is from a U, so I maybe that helps?)

Anyway, I plan to start this September. It’ll probably take me three years to complete all of the requirements.

Sorry to be so long-winded. Does anyone have any advice? You all seem so knowledgeable, I’m impressed!

Thanks, Sarah


It really sounds as if you’ve done your homework. Your plan seems sound. You’ve laid out a course of study and you’re not rushing, the common mistake most of us make as we get going.

If you’re tied down to the Seattle area, then take the advice of the schools you’re likely to apply to as far as the CC/University question. A lot depends on the quality of the local CCs and the biases or other opinions of the adcoms in the schools that interest you. If local CCs have good instruction and smaller classes and lower tuition, and if the schools that interest you don’t turn up their noses, go for it!

You can also compromise and take some of the more challenging classes at a university, such as our good friend o-chem, just to show you’re not afraid of a university classroom in case anybody thinks you are. But at this point your plan sounds good to me. Welcome!