New to the forum

I’m a total newbie to much of this and figured I’d introduce myself. I’m almost too new at this to have questions but I wanted to start somewhere. I’m hoping that someone else reading this might alert me to what I need to be thinking about as I get underway in this exciting process.
I’m 44 years old and have spent most of my career in product marketing of technology products, primarily electronic design automation software. I’m divorced and am the father of three children – my daughter will be a college sophomore, my older son is starting college this fall and a younger son will be a high school junior who’s bound for college as well. My daughter professes to be pre-med and my older son is absolutely determined to go to med school.
My BS and MS degrees are in mechanical engineering and I was content in my career till my late thirties, but then I started to feel rather unfulfilled – I began to realize that there’s more to life than developing software that helps someone design a better cell phone or radar station. I liked the technical aspects of my job and the problem solving in particular, but I began to feel like I could be doing something more for the betterment of society.
About 4-5 years ago things changed for me … two of my children were diagnosed with serious though treatable chronic illnesses. This threw me into experiencing the medical field in a way that I hadn’t before. At the same time I was dating a pediatrician so I got to see the field of medicine from her standpoint as well. I began to see that the medical field was one that I could identify with personally and began to see it as one that aligned much better with my personal desires for my career. But with the financial demands of my children’s college education looming, I dismissed the idea of going into medicine out of hand. It wasn’t till earlier this year that I began to see the possibilities of going back to school and began to research what’s involved.
I will need to take a lot of prereq courses – at minimum gen chem, organic chem and biochem, I think, as well as biology. I think that I’ll need to remain working full-time as long as possible to meet my financial obligations. So one problem I have is whether I can compress my prereqs so it’s not three years before I can go back to school. Also to be honest with you all, I’m still working through whether I’m prepared to make the sacrifices that I see people here making … the physicians I know tell me they have every confidence I have it in me to do med school, but I need to work through this.
So my current plan is to begin taking chemistry this fall at a nearby college through it’s post-bacc program. They offer pre-med advising and I have an appointment to see their advisor next week. I also may get some advising via the university where I earned my BS and MS (well-known engineering school a stone’s throw from Boston) though I haven’t started down that route. It has been years since I’ve been in an academic setting so this should help me determine whether I still have it in me.
Anyway, that’s a start … just wanted to add that I think this site is absolutely amazing! I feel so much better seeing others going through a similar process.

You have obviously done your homework! The first hurdle is the hardest as someone with a previous life going to med school, making the decision to actually do it!
My advice to you is to get in touch with a good pre med advisor. You have the pre reqs correct. O chem I & II, gen Chem I & II, Bio I & II, Physics I & II and some schools req. english comp I & II.
Some options you have to get done faster on a working persons schedule are theses:
1) Write the Clep or AP exams to get out of anything you are comfortable with. I did that for English Comp.
2) Do your pre reqs online. I have done Chem I & II online with home labs. I am also doing Bio I & II as well as Physics I & II online with home labs. I have called many schools and only a few care about where you do your pre reqs. Most only care that you havea good GPA.
The online classes i take are at Colorado Community Colleges online. The upside is that i can still work, which is non-negotiable for me finiancially. I contacted the 10 schools i planned to apply to and none of them cared. Moreover, the pre reqs dont actually show on my transcript as online just as a CC.
In anycase, I thought i would let you know about this option and how accepted it has become. Online courses used to be taboo, now you can do practically anything online and its accepted. It also provides the ability for us as non-trads to get in! WooHoo
Good luck

Welcome, Eric!
You certainly have given this new endeavor a lot of thought and seem to have a handle on just how to go about getting started. I agree that beginning this fall with just one course to “see if you still have it in you” is a great idea! That way, you can adjust to being back in school and still continue to work full-time. Another thing I would like to remind you (and something you will hear all the time from many other OPMers) is that this pursuit is not a sprint, it is a marathon. If you absolutely need to continue working full-time, you may have to sacrifice the time it will take to complete your pre-reqs. Be willing to take fewer classes and do well in them while you are working, rather than try to cram it all in with the responsibilities of your job and do less than your best.
I started out working full-time and taking 1-2 classes a semester. Then, I was able to cut my working down to part-time and increase my class load. Eventually, this past year, I completed my pre-reqs with a heavy course load while having the luxury of not having to work at all.
You have to do whatever your finances, time allotment for classes and studying, etc. allow. Continue to take things one step at a time–reevaluating each semester to see if the course load you have chosen is right for you. Eric, you will achieve your dream if you desire it strongly enough! Just as your kids faced the challenges that their chronic illnesses brought into their lives, you will do the same!
Best of luck in your journey,

Hi Eric …
Seems that you have a good handle on what you need to do to start - and I’ll bet you get lots more info from your pre-med advisor. I’m having some trouble with determining exactly what to take and when because I don’t have such an advisor I too am a mechanical engineer - but working in a different capacity - that as an engineer on the space shuttle. But still not using much of what I learned in school - common complaint for most engineers I guess. Anyway - I met the head crew physician (crew - aka astronaut) a few weeks ago and discussed my hopes of entering med school in a couple years. He was very encouraging and said “ohhhh, med schools love engineers”. Humpf - that was an interesting comment. Just thought I’d pass that along …


I’m curious…How are you able to complete your required labs at home?

Thanks to all of you for posting! It’s very encouraging to get this kind of support.
I met with the advisor here at the college I’d attend (Portland State)… it was really sobering starting to talk in terms of specific dates for when I’d take MCAT, etc. She was pretty helpful especially when I consider how many students she must have to advise (>1000).
Sounds like I could theoretically do both chem and bio this upcoming term but that sounds tough – that would be 4 evenings/week of classes, plus I’d have to fit in labs as well. So instead I’m thinking of taking one class and getting going on doing volunteer work.
I also checked on the MIT website to see what pre-med counseling they offer for alums … sounds like they do some but they encourage alum outside of New England to contact local alums via their networking organization. I found an MD/PhD guy here and have started email correspondence with him to get his advice on various topics.

Hi, I’m 41 and in Medschool in England. I have 3 children one with me and two back in the states . School is demanding but I wouldn’t change the decision to go. I’m aan RN for the past 17 years so I had an idea of med school but theres so much to this being one of the oldest in my class. I have bought new clothes to “fit in better”. I have more jeans and and t shirts now. lol. It’s been a good experience so far.