Teacher to Doctor


Well said!! If we’re going to be 45 someday anyway, why not live life to the fullest and be a doctor?

And, yes, I do think it’s sick to enjoy standardized tests.

I’ve got a little time to figure out the best way for my MCAT planning. I want to do well, but (unfortunately) I am on something of a time table. I have a wife (whom I love and adore dearly) and two beautiful children (8 and 5) who depend on me. They never dreamed I would spring this on them, so I want to make the journey for them as painless as possible. The more I’m working and the less I’m in school, the better for them.

Here’s the bottom line, folks. Do I do what I want or do I do that which is safe for my family? (answer if you like, but it’s a question that I’ve asked for 13 months now) I have a job that makes a difference in kid’s lives. Yet I yearn for something more.

Any existential thinking out there? I have confidence in my ability to pursue medicine. (And you all have been ultra-supportive). Anyone else dealing with this uncertainty?

Mike “The confused Bandguy”

Hi Bandguy:

I’d like to say first of all, that band was my best class in high school!!! Especially since I was in the band room most of the school day! I learned to play several instruments as a result. I looovved band!!

Back to the topic at hand: I have also struggled with the “when” issue and the “how” the decision would affect my family. Thus my delay for the past several years. I have slowly, but surely, gotten to the point of feeling comfortable about stepping out to pursue the dream of becoming a doctor.

I am a single mom and my children have been aware of my desire to do this for years. We (the kids and I) had an interesting conversation a couple of days ago and I expressed why I put off my decision for so many years (you know, worried about uprooting the kids, leaving the area away from family, not paying attention to them while I studied, etc). My 20 year old son proceeded to tell me (as only he can…) that I shouldn’t have done that because they (he was also speaking for his sister, 17) would have adjusted just fine! He continued to lecture me on how children can handle change, blah, blah, blah… He doesn’t understand “Mommy Guilt” so I took his comments with a grain of “mommy” salt.

I said all that to say, as long as you have help the children should be just fine. Your family will be able to handle it only if all of you understand the changes that will take place for the next several years. Good luck to you and yours!

  • lpressley130 Said:

I have also struggled with the "when" issue and the "how" the decision would affect my family...

Your family will be able to handle it only if all of you understand the changes that will take place for the next several years. Good luck to you and yours!

This was probably one of the biggest issues preventing me from pursuing a medical career. I had a tolerable career before I met my wife. We married, she finished her Ph.D., and we moved to another city when she found a nice job at a respectable University. As I tried to find employment in my previous career area, I learned a couple of interesting things. Jobs in that career are scarce & I wasn't so in love with my previous career that I was willing to jump very many hurdles to get a similar job. I started on classes to regain my EMT certification (because that was a job I had enjoyed that is also in high demand where I am now). Then my wife and I had a long conversation about my goals. She knows that I had been interested in pursuing medical training back in the early '90s, and was curious why I wasn't doing it now. I explained how hard it is to get into medical school, and that even if I did, it is very expensive. How long would I be able to practice after finishing several years in school? We have no children, but we've been trying. How would a child change everything? In spite of all of my concerns, she has been very supportive. Maybe she feels like she owes me something in return for helping her through her Ph.D., but if nothing else, she does understand how difficult the road to an advanced education can be.

Having the support of an understanding spouse, and an extended family is making quite a difference. I was worried that a wife and kids would complicate the path to a career in medicine. I'm now beginning to wonder how anyone manages to do achieve a medical degree without a spouse or some other sort of psychosocial support. These are good, but often hard, questions to ask. I can't imagine making it though this insane process without addressing them.

Good luck!


Thank you for these stimulating thoughts. I have been addressing the questions of supportive wife and children. They are telling me that they will support me in whatever I do. However, when the going gets rough, I know this will be harder for them to do.

If I can settle the question in my mind that I can fulfill my family commitments while in medical school, I think the decision will be to move forward. I love my family very much and I want to do better for them than my parents did for me (and each other).

Thanks again for the input. Please keep posting! I enjoy hearing about your experiences and wisdom.


Hi bandguy,

I, too, understand your position. I am 37 and a dentist. Before dental school I thought long and hard about DDS vs. MD. Even though I thought I would enjoy being an MD more, I did not apply to med school because I was afraid of all the years in residency and what it would do to my home life. (I was also a nontrad dental student and entered at age 29.)

After 4 years of dental school, one year of working on an Indian Reservation, and now in my own solo practice, I still wish I had applied to med school. I am driving my husband crazy with my desire to do this again, and go to med school.

So, what I learned is that you have to follow your heart. Things will be difficult, but if you are truly doing what you love then it will all work out and your family will be more happy having a fulfulled husband and father, than a bitter person .

Good luck!

A&P will not help you much on the MCAT. Depending on how rigorous your freshman bio class is, genetics might help on the MCAT. But with your time so short, I’d say ditch the A&P and spend that time on general MCAT prep, or else add a year to your plan. Your schedule is ambitious. You already know that.

But I don’t think A&P will give you enough MCAT benefit to be worth even half the trouble. Wait and take it in glide year (while applying) if you want to.

Thank you. This is an angle I hadn’t even considered. I just assumed that A&P would be the best bet for med school, and therefore the MCAT.

Thanks again.


  • bandguy Said:
Thank you. This is an angle I hadn't even considered. I just assumed that A&P would be the best bet for med school, and therefore the MCAT.

Thanks again.


You're welcome. What you want for the MCAT is a solid grounding in the BASIC sciences. Because genetics takes you on another walk through replication, translation, etc., it's a review on part of those basic sciences. A&P is new material, so not tested on the MCAT (unless they give you a question with the A&P info already in the passage).